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Oh What a Lovely War

In: Historical Events

Submitted By kotecha90
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Are the songs of ‘Oh! What a lovely war’ a complete and accurate summary of the experience of soldiers on the western front?
The musical ‘Oh! What a lovely war’ directed by Joan Littlewood in 1963 portrays the experiences and reality of the war in the four songs, sung by the soldiers, to some level of accuracy. However extracts from Banham, Luff and Vyvyen Brandon suggest otherwise.
In some ways, the songs directed by Joan Littlewood do portray the reality of life on the western front and the dangers on the front line and in the reserve trenches. Joan accurately describes the soldiers who want to be ‘Far far from Wipers […] where German snipers can’t get at [them]’. The lyrics give the impression that the soldiers were faced with danger and they wanted to end the war to avoid being shot by ‘German snipers’. This evidence is supported by the Brandon extracts which look at the key issues of how the troops managed to endure the horrors of fighting in the trenches. The extracts describe how ‘at any moment’ soldiers could have been ‘shot by a sniper, gassed or blown to pieces by a shell, mine or bomb.’ This therefore consolidates the idea of the front line being hazardous and proves Joan Littlewoods’ portrayed impression of the war as accurate.
Additionally, it can be argued that Joan Littlewood to some extent accurately describes the conditions of the trenches and what the soldiers had to endure. In the song ‘Far Far From Wipers’ it refers to bad conditions such as ‘damp’ dugouts and ‘cold’ feet. The portrayed impression is that the trenches resulted in filthy conditions and exposure to harsh weather, which agrees with the Brandon extracts. Brandon underlines the frequent ‘wet, muddy conditions’ and how the soldiers were ‘liable to get a fungal infection known as ‘trench foot’’. This information correlates with the songs in ‘Oh! What a lovely war’ which subsequently…...

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