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Realistic or Not?

  • Date Submitted: 01/21/2013 06:53 AM
  • Flesch-Kincaid Score: 66.8 
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The Battle of the Somme was one of the most devastating battles in history. Over 1.5 million people were killed during the battle, which spanned for two years. In order for countries to promote the struggles, they create propaganda. Propaganda is a form of communication or mass media, which contains information, used to influence a certain community, or gain their favour. A famous example of war propaganda is the British film "The Battle of the Somme" (released in 1916). It was made by two cameramen in the Somme. It portrays the first few months of the battle, and what life was like in the trenches. Many people believe the film to be a very useful historical source, however some others aren't so sure. But is it really reliable? This essay will study whether the film is reliable or not.

Because the film was a British propaganda, it shows footage of the British soldiers. All of the events are shown in chronological order. The beginning of the film contains videos of several regiments leaving England and arriving in the Somme. Then, the first few hours of the battle are shown. Numerous shots of shelling, explosions, and soldiers going over-top. As the film progresses, footage of wounded soldiers is shown. It also shows the food and supplies that the soldiers had. A notable change shown in the film is the changing emotions of soldiers in the film. Towards the beginning, soldiers are very cheerful, and happy. However from the middle till the end they are all very different. No one is shown happy - they all wait there, extremely terrified. The end shots are of soldiers in the reserved trenches waiting to be called back.

Films were very rare in the early 20th century, so there are many other sources. Pictures, letters, autobiographies, poems and diaries from the trenches have been found. Many of which agree with the film. For example a letter from Bert Bailey, in the 11th Rifle Brigade, states: "Please stop sending me tea, sugar and salt for a bit as we already...


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