Social Classes and Experience of the First World War

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History of civilisation demonstrates that any natural calamity war affects the people in a different way depending on their class character. Social Classes are determined by the level of socioeconomic status. The First World War was a catastrophic holocaust in human history and it was an instance of mass slaughter emerged by nation-states. This war has been continued for five years which started in 1914 and ended in 1918, 23 years prior to the starting of the Holocaust. More or less nine million people were killed in the First World War. There was colossal damage to resources in the First World War. The casualties of lives stood at thirty-seven million1.

The First World War is a dark chapter of Modern History. Hitler volunteered in World War-I with the 16th Bavarian Reserve Infantry Regiment of Germany in 1913 and fought bravely. He was promoted as regimental captain performing corporal First Class. He was seriously touched off by the killing by a Serb. Hitler took the temporary loss of sight rooted in a gas attack in Salient battle. Germany attacked the eastern border of Russia and at the same time on the western border of France.

Hitler’s force also jumped over Great Britain and the United States simultaneously. In November 1918 about 11 million soldiers of Germany were mobilized during the closing stages of the war. It has been surmised that about two million Germans left their values, almost four million Germans were offended. The number of missing during the invasion was more than one million. Undoubtedly it was a catastrophe brings to Germany in the First World War2. This paper would go to analyse the evidential experiences of social classes in the light of modern history.

Experience Civil Society

History teaches that civil society is always a sensitive part of a nation upholding the sense of justice, equality and common rights of social classes. They always react against any injustice and loss of life. In First World War the civil society’s experience was very bitter. The traumatic experience of the First World War by the social classes is unforgettable. The magnitude of distress was coordinated by the terrible experience of war. 3 A retired German army officer has written concerning the decomposing bodies of humans so as to have been killed. The victim’s hair was cut down in clusters from heads akin to rotting plants.

Fleshy tissue is chopped down away from bones similar to reddish-brown gelatin. In awful nights, the corpse awoke to ghastly life as gas, sputtering, escaped from wounds. Hitler portrayed the horrible things that had experienced and witnessed during the First World War. Koenigsberg, R. (2006) demonstrated the civil society’s experience of war as a secure interpretation that tells how Hitler act in response to his wartime practice an extraordinary psychological shift occurred.

The experience of men and women had been a regimented similar to none in any war history. In 1914 there are 20,000,000 European males had positioned on their consistent to get on trains and then headed off to the moved fighting location. There was an indescribable stumble upon just like the combat of Verdun that continued for about ten months and acquired 850,000 lives of French and German. The civil society realised that encounters were fearful.

In Somme on an opening day, the British force has undergone 60,000 fatalities as well as 20,000 dead. During that 10,000,000 people had occasioned “the war to end wars” ceased as well as half a million killed in the United States4. Hitler battled in the war for long four years relentlessly in the First World War and was consequently wounded in an attack of poison gas and turned blind.

War Experience of Working Class

The working class is the determinant force of history. They keep their pioneer role in any struggle for social change. The First World War had experienced them with sorrow, sadness and distressing existence. The working class suffered from hunger, unemployed and insecure time. Some of them deviated from the mainstream. But none can rescue themself without being untouched. Fifty million people died before it ended; nearly half of them were civilians.

The worker’s cultural narratives in the First World War produce offspring more than in the preceding decade. The working class has analysed the study flanked by their lived understanding of the First World War. Throughout the war, Janet S. K. W., (2005) argued that the social pose had a thoughtful collision on how persons would understand their responsibility in the inconsistency5. The gender norms social classes assisted structural and individual experience of the war without considering where the person served either in London, France or Belgium.

Janet S. K. W., (2005) unearthed her thesis by emphasising the model of service to the nation for a lot of middle and high-class males and females while for the majority among the working class understood largely the war and the way of work Janet S. K. W., (2005) also added that it could identify with Britain’s war-time understanding entirety the view of war participation.

War Experience of Middle Class

Daniel, U. (20904) addressed the issue that comes out is how the First World War served to develop the welfare state, from the Family assistance scheme to the rising unemployment advantages. The middle-class war’s experiences among the family life particularly diminishing birth rates as well as more unfastened extramarital sex turned to be politicised. The winner soldiers were supplied with prostitutes as well as prophylactics.

The system assembled sexual activities on the home faced specifically that were ‘war wives’ by reconstructing troop’s morals. It was really an outstanding preface of the history of working women for the period of the First World War. Later on, this practice turned into the culture breaking all previous social values6. It is depicting a comparative study of women’s wartime experiences.

Janet S. K. W, (2004) studied conflicting English points of view on the occurrence of the First World War. Special attention was paid to families in the war effort, she evaluated the way gender functioned as a cultural category in the way people experienced the war. Finally, it was reviewed the dissimilarity among the structure of experience and the moving parts of memory in the background of the description of disappointment that took place in the years following the war. But these are not to be originating in contemporary stories of First World War experience7.

War Experience of Elite Class

Janet S. K. W, (2004) also addressed the most accepted thought of Elite class in World War-1and traced it as the tales of disillusionment by separating out period of war from showing accounts to contrast war as subsist experience with war as memory. It was also argued that the war and memory use available as well as unpublished British wartime writings.8 The differing attitude to this war among men and women, across different social classes, concludes with the intention of approach to British war work could keep hold of concepts of work.

Otto, A., (2007) raised the question of who was proficient in military history has tried to gather evidence and information of human psychological reactions in the battleground from antiquity to the First World War in the Middle East. He draws a conclusion, that eventually every soldier suffers a mental breakdown in spite of modern technological development of weapons as well as human resources have restricted what would be capable to withstand.9 This question indicates rationality of conflict on the point of the psychological fundamentals of human civilisation.

Now the two important questions need to discuss and these are –

  • Why can’t people abandon war? and
  • Why did Hitler’s experiences not guide him to analyse the organisation of warfare?10

Koenigsberg. R., (2004) gives the answer to this question considering Hitler’s view. The obstacle is that the goal of war is bound to the philosophy of nationalism. People can be influenced to battle and devoted their life since they are profoundly attached to their own state interest. Hitler declared that any man who loves his citizens proves it exclusively by the sacrifices which he is ready to make it. He also asserted that giving his own life for the national interest is the crown of all sacrifice. Hitler provides the structure of the radical view of patriotism which includes the ideology of devotion own life for community interest.

Soldier’s Experience World War-I

Daniel. U., (2004) described the experience of the soldiers. In this World War, the British soldiers were the passive victim and the situation was beyond their control. This scenario depicted a diverse vision of the soldier’s skills of war. During the wartime lots of ordinary people were capable to retain their civilian outlook and if they wished they could implement their training in the War. However, not all soldiers were civil battalion; rather most of them were general people who took little training and join the team. He also scrutinised that they had contributed not only for military framework but in terms of his social & cultural perspective. From his research, it can conclude the British soldiers thought and performed during the Wartime.11

One of the most crucial elements of a First World War soldier’s experience was the huge amount of new technology at their own disposal. The gruesome experience of the First World War is the futility and barbarity that led to a worldwide determination to make such conflict impossible. The second vital experience on opinion was the great flowering of creative art which depicting the horror and futility of war.

To gather their experience historian evaluated the issue from various perspectives. In order to do this, they considered different versions of the modern and the people’s experience and knowledge. They had to face the entire situation which other soldiers faced. The step is reviewing the experience of every single person to using that practice as a distinctive. In this war, every citizen has engaged the war with their own experience. One of the most general experiences of soldiers of the war is of the disgraceful conduct that German troops acknowledged at the time they repatriated as defeated. 12

Though the majority of the soldiers had bad experiences concerning this war they could recover themselves to find a job, establish their family’s life and overcome the whole situation. Several historians centre on the civilian experience of the War to scrutinize the shapes and consequences of its reminiscence.

During the First World War, the new importance of confidence has come together with the schooling of foreign soldiers. Historians traditionally represented the migrant experience in this War as one of forced integration, ruthless racial intolerance. What made the training of migrant soldiers difficult was the military’s aspiration to both increases the confidence of the foreign soldiers and instil patriotism and nationalism.

Processes of detection identity

Otto, A., (2007), described Benua’s burning experience regarding the war and still, he can remember the situation, though 50 years have been passed since the war when he shared his experience. When he repatriate his country, enshrining his reminiscences mainly into the social and cultural perspective as he was anxious about these issues. All the persons who were affected can remember their terrific experience of the war.

But some could not remember their memory as they were old or the unconscious processes of memory recall. He said that they had lost their memory recalling process due to the effect of the holocaust. Affected persons were suffering various diseases including psychological problems and lose the memory recalling the process. Soldiers who were seriously injured by the explosions or enemy’s fire and got no chance to protect themselves suffer this problem13.

He said that it is really difficult for him to express or share the experience of the traumatic event, that he observed that his military battalion was killed. And he was too shocked because he was the eyewitness of that event. He mentioned that he was helpless at that moment. He became so emotional when he described the issues of property damage and at the time when he had to observe the dead bodies. These dead bodies created a horrible scenario.

In historian perspective, these experience are too important because from this information of that event help to find out that traumatic event and calculate the maximum time to recall his memory. Though it was difficult to discover the entire scenario the historian is capable to comprehend them and take a look that their findings will not be a conflict with the actual history.

Overall Traumatic Experience Society

Koenigsberg, R., (2004) argued that historians cannot portray the endless carnage that characterized the First World War. It was a traumatic experience for social classes. The British launched the battle of the Somme on July 1, 1916, with a view to dismantling through the German lines. Unfortunately, they failed despondently. The British casualties were accounted for 61,000 just on the first day along with more than 21,500 soldiers destroyed within an hour’s battle. Koenigsberg, R., (2004) also mentioned that the 14

A bloody battle occurred when soldiers got out of their trench and moved forward to launch an attack on the opposing troops. The offensive troops look forward to staying alive on artillery shelling as well as machinegun fires those they encountered.

Hitler & the German Experience World War-I

Janet S. K. W, (2004) addressed the Hitler observed the bereavement and dismemberment of numerous of his comrades and practised the putrid of their dead bodies. Furthermore, four thousand males in his contingent were killed. Though, Hitler had survived unexpectedly. About two million soldiers were killed and a supplementary five million wounded. The community at home was ravenous. Females had experienced losing their husbands, babies or fathers.


This is a useful and thought-provoking essay. The history and literature should be encouraged to depict the British experience of the First World War and the dimensions of this paper demonstrate the dissimilarity among strictly up to date evidence as well as most important resources modelled by the perception after the fact of the First World War. This analysis is highlighting how perceptions of the war came to be dominated by stories of disillusionment and futility.

The social class experience of the memory of the First World War has become an especially fertile domain of inquiry. This impetus has resulted from the perception that the topic of memory offers an insight into the complex relationship between the War and the modern age. Different classes belonging to social classes empirically portrayed the awful experience of the First World War and at the same time, it has tried to find connecting ideas.


Daniel. U., (2004), The War from Within: German Working-Class Women in the First World War, ISBN: 9781859731475, pp-339.

George, H. N., (1992), Slouching Toward Catasrophe: 1914-1939. Web.

H-Net, (2008), German Working-Class Women in the First World War. Web.

Janet S. K. W, (2004), Fighting Different Wars: Experience, Memory, and the First World War in Britain, Cambridge University Press, ISBN: 9780521831536.

Janet S. K. W, (2004), Fighting Different Wars: Experience, Memory, and the First World War in Britain. Web.

Janet S. K. W., (2005), Fighting Different Wars: Experience, Memory and the First World War in Britain. Web.

Koenigsberg, R., (2006), The logic of mass-murder: Hitler, the Holocaust and War. Web.

Koenigsberg, R., (2004), Dying for One’s Country: The Logic of War & Genocide. Web.

Otto, A., (2007), Justifying the war: The wartime experience of a Russian officer in World War I. Web.

Richard Wall and Jay Winter, (1988), The Upheaval of War: Family, Work, and Welfare in Europe, 1914–1918, Cambridge University Press, ISBN 9780521525152.

US Government Printing Office, (2008), Appendix A- Secrecy: A Brief Account of the American Experience. Web.

Williams, (2008), Writing about the memory of war: a Historiographical survey of recent works. Web.


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  2. Koenigsberg, R., (2006).
  3. Koenigsberg, R., (2006).
  4. George H. N., (1992).
  5. Janet S. K. W., (2005).
  6. Denial, U., (2001).
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  8. Janet S. K. W, (2004).
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  10. Koenigsberg. R., (2004), Dying for One’s Country.
  11. Daniel, U. (2001).
  12. Williams, (2008).
  13. Otto, A., (2007).
  14. Koenigsberg, R., (2006).

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