What did Paul Valery mean in saying that the mind of Europe doubted itselfprofoundly?Before 1914, people in Europe believed in progress, peace, prosperity,reason, and rights of individuals. During that time, people began to believe inthe Enlightenment, industrial developments were just starting and scientificadvances began to take place. People then really believed in progression andfurther developments.Unfortunately, World War I broke out. Nevertheless, the optimisticpeople of Europe still did not doubt the outcome and were so convinced that itwas not going to have any long term effects. They looked toward happier timesand hoped life will go back to where it was before. But little did they know,as a result of the war, total war broke out and crushed all the hopes andaccomplishments that the people had established. This shocking reality wasunbearable and uncomprehending to the people’s hopes and dreams.
And as thislasted over the years, the age of anxiety was created. People didn’t know orwhat to expect anymore. They did not know what was going to happen after thewar. They’re so devastated by the war that many who were still alive lost faithand all hopes. Many intellectuals began to doubt the Enlightenment and even thefuture of Western civilization. This state of uncertainty and unpredictabilitybrought out many modern philosophers of that time.
One of them was a Frenchpoet and critic Paul Valery. He stated that “Europe was looking at its futurewith dark foreboding.” In his writings, he said that “The storm has died away,and still we are restless, uneasy, as if the storm were about to break.” Thestorm in this case was the war. People were so terrified by it that they werestill in shock and unsure of its outcome and consequence and the possibilitythat it might cause another war to break out. Valery saw that many peoplesuffered from anxiety.
He argued that the people looked at the future withgreat unease and discomfort for what the war had done and what the war willcause. He also suggested that “Europe doubted itself profoundly” because of allthe lost of all optimistic ideas and accomplishments. People did not have tostrength or will to believe in themselves anymore. They were too devastated bythe war. They also saw no hope and thus doubted themselves for making any moreprogress.2. Why do you think many veterans felt that they were part of a lost generation?Veterans during the war were just realizing what the war is all about.They saw what the war had done to people’s lives and body parts.
They sometimescouldn’t even believe that such shattered bodies were once human beings livedhappily among them. Most of them grew up in the war knowing nothing of life butdespair, fear, death, and sorrow. These veterans felt that they were part of alast generation upon whom which the war was caused by. Now these young man mustcarry on the blood shed and fight for their fathers and country. Most of themdidn’t even know what the war was about and why they were fighting. And yet itdidn’t not stop them from innocently slay one another obediently.
I don’t thinkthey know how to stop the war and not knowing what will happen next.3. What reasons can you think of why many Germans were attracted toparamilitary organizations immediately after the war?Germans were attracted to paramilitary organizations immediately afterthe war. The war had brought violence, pleasure, and the excitement of survivalfor thousands of soldiers. During these years of excitements, soldiers began togain new ideas of life and moral judgements. After returning home from the warthey were bored just sitting around not fulfilling their thirst for more bloodshed and adventure. It was the war that held them together as a union, thatnever discharged them, that will always provide a home and excitement for them.The Germans saw a great opportunity and gain their gasp on these soldiers.
Theyknew that these soldier couldn’t resist the excitement of war and thus postedappeals on the street corners for volunteer units to defend Germany’s easternborders. In a way, the soldiers fulfilled both Germany and themselves.4.
How did Sigmund Freud describe the prevailing mood in Europe just prior tothe war. How did the war alter this mood and create a “legacy of embitterment”?Life prior to the war was full of joy