WORLD WAR I
Robert Graves, GOODBYE TO ALL THAT
- To what social class did Robert Graves [RG] belong?
- What does RG’s background show about connections between Britain and Germany in the nineteenth century?
- Is there any indication of a change of attitude in the decades immediately preceding the war?
- What was life like in an English public school? [Equivalent to our private school]
- What was the fate of many of RG’s schoolmates?
- What happened to Germans living in England after the outbreak of war?
- What is RG’s attitude toward the anti-German propaganda which was so prevalent in allied countries during the First World War?
- What kind of military future did RG expect when he enlisted and what fact upset his plans?
- How does RG describe the ‘training’ which he received before shipping out for the Western Front and after arriving in France?
- How did RG differ from pre-war officers?
- How were special reserve officers like RG treated in a prestigious line battalion like the Royal Welch Fusiliers, for example, in respect to the distribution of medals?
- Judging from RG’s account of his first “show” [offensive action], why were so many of the British assaults on the German line bloody foul-ups?
- What were problems involved in using gas, especially in the early days of the war?
- What was the general attitude of the British soldier toward gas?
- How did the frontline view of atrocities differ from the view held by those in the trenches?
- What did RG think of patriotism and religion as motivating forces in the trenches?
- Did RG believe that the British government lied during the war?
- In general, how did English servicemen feel about their French allies?
- How did RG feel about the lack of privacy in the army?
- How did RG escape "by a nose" (or alternatively, "by the bell") being present during the the First Day on the Somme (July 1,1916)—the most terrible day of battle in British history?
- How did RG "die" some three weeks later in the battle of the Somme?
- How did soldiers like RG and Siegfried Sassoon [SS] regard the attitude of people on the homefront?
- What is RG’s ultimate comment on how he felt about wartime England?
- How did RG’s ‘kit’ on his return to France (January, 1917) demonstrate the fact that he was not an “old soldier”?
- How had things changed with the Royal Welch when RG rejoined them in France?
- What finally got RG out of duty in the frontlines for the rest of the war (February, 1917)?
- When did RG meet some of the leading pacifists and conscientious objectors (COs like Bertrand Russell?
- How did they help give him a new perspective on the war?
- How were such men treated during the war?
- How would you sum up SS’s character and his reaction to his prolonged involvement in the war?
- How did his increasing alienation from the conduct of the war nearly land him in severe trouble?
- What did RG do to help his friend?
- What was the link between SS and the other great poet, Wilfred Owens?
- Why was it less likely that SS would survive the war than RG?
- When did men prefer to go overseas—in the quiet winter months or in the more dangerous months of spring and summer when fighting was at its peak?
- What duties did RG undertake at home in England?
- What weapon particularly terrified RG about the possibility of returning to the Western Front and why was that probably the case?
- In what theatre did he plan to return to service and what events prevented him from doing so?
- How did RG hurry his demobilization and was was his “escape” from the army like?
- What was RG’s position in the election of 1919?
- What lingering effects of the war are mentioned in Goodbye to All That?
- What movement which gained considerable momentum around the First World War did Grave’s wife, Nancy, represent?
- How did the immediate postwar students at Oxford differ from their pre-war counterparts?
- Where does the title Goodbye to All That come from?