Topical Content: D Day Decision Making Exercise - Interactive Timeline of the First World War


Reliability of War poems

Wilfred Owen's Dulce et Decorum est

 Consider the following passage from W. Owen's, Dulce et Decorum est.

"Gas! GAS! Quick, boys!--An ecstasy of fumbling
Fitting the clumsy helmets just in time,
But someone still was yelling out and stumbling
And flound'ring like a man in fire or lime.--
Dim through the misty panes and thick green light,
As under a green sea, I saw him drowning."

Is this a reliable account of life on the Western Front?

Things to consider

  • Owen fought on the Western front, so it's Primary Source material.
  • Gas attacks were used on the Western Front.
  • soldiers were issued with Gas masks.
  • Poetry is often filled with metaphors and similies, making it more difficult to appraise.
  • Owen's personal experiences may not be representative of all experiences of life on the Western Front.
  • The purpose of the poem: What is Owen trying to say?

An excellent appraisal of the full poem is available from the Wilfred Owen association's website.


The First World War section

Causes of the First World War

Life in a Trench
Technological advances First World War Links
Statistics related to the First World War War Poems: Using Primary evidence  













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