Peace on Earth

Wilhelm Helmut Laufenberg was an exhausted German infantry lieutenant. He had been there when the German Army had totally routed Belgium, in the first week of August, and then, two weeks later, had been at Arlon-Virton, in France, when the German Army had killed a reported one-hundred-forty-thousand French men, women and children; then had been in Prussia when the German Army had killed, or taken prisoner, over one-hundred-thirty-thousand Russians at what later became known as the battle of Tannenberg. And now, after another three arduous months of fighting, he found himself, and his men, in a trench, just outside Ypres, Belgium, where the fighting, at first dominated by the Germans, was now at a stalemate and Oberleutnant Laufenberg found himself battling his men’s morale problems, and an eerie feeling that he was going insane.



If any question why we died,

Tell them, because our fathers lied.

—Rudyard Kipling, Epitaphs of the War: Common Form.

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