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Letters From a German Soldier in WWI to his Mother

Dear Mother,
War is Hell. That is a summary of my life right now, but I’m sure you and the children would not be satisfied with a one sentence letter. So here is what I’ve been up to.
We have been spending the past few months in the trenches. I highly doubt that these trenches are any safer than normal warfare. There is constant disease and death. The smells are putrid. If you really need an idea, imagine dead bodies, human waste, and men who haven’t showered in months. There are many times where we are ankle deep in mud for weeks on end. Many of us have trench foot (a horrible condition where our feet become waterlogged and frozen).
Under all these conditions, sometimes I wonder if it’s really worth it to serve our country. Many fellows decided it wasn’t. They shot themselves “accidentally” so that they may go home instead of serving.
I must go now. Take care of yourselves and pray for me and my comrades.

Your loving son,
Karl
P.S. If it isn’t any trouble, could you please send me some socks? All of mine are in horrid condition.


Dear Mother,
First off, thank you for all your prayers and letters. They mean a lot to me, and to anyone else that reads them (it seems as if nothing is private anymore). I wish I had the time to write more often, but I have been on night guard duty often and haven’t been getting any sleep, so I have not been up to writing letters.
Nothing has changed since I wrote last. There only has been more death. So many people have died that we don’t even bother to bury them properly anymore. We just dig shallow mass graves and that’s where the bodies go. More people have been dying than we can keep up with, however, and sometimes the bodies are left out in the open for weeks before we can even think of burying them. It is very gruesome, and I pray to God that no one ever has to go through this again.
I am being called, so that is all I can write for now. Take care of yourselves. Hopefully next time I write I will have better news to tell.

Your loving son,
Karl
P.S. I’ll keep an eye out for a care package. Maybe someone got to it before I could.


Dear Mother,
Some of us have gone on a secret mission. We have tried to sneak into enemy territory. Sadly, we have failed and some lives were lost.
As we were sneaking into no man’s land (as I was on this mission), we came across a group of enemy soldiers that were probably on the same mission as we were. We stopped and fought them. Not with our guns and weapons, mind you, but with our hands. It was similar to a bar fight, but instead of being drunk on liquor we were drunk on fear and adrenaline. If we had even made the tiniest sound, machine guns from both sides would have been shooting at us. After we lost half of our group when someone from the other side pulled out a knife, we quickly retreated to our own side and back into the trenches.
Mother, It was terrifying! My only thought through the whole thing was “I’m going to die, I’m going to die.” Thank heavens I didn’t, but I’m still shaken up. One thing’s for sure, I’m never volunteering to do that again.
Please continue to keep me and your troops in your prayers, and take care of yourself.

Your loving son,
Karl


Dear Mother,
Rumor has it that the war is almost over. Honestly, I doubt that can ever happen. We have been sitting in these trenches awaiting our deaths for two years now. It seems as if the only things that are real are death, war, and what we have in the trenches.
Most of us have forgotten there is an outside world. When we try to cheer ourselves up with stories of before the war, we can scarcely believe that these are, in fact, true stories.
Mother, I hope that next time I write the war would really be over, and I would have good news. But I’m sure that won’t happen. I love you, Good night.

Your loving son,
Karl

P.S. Thank you very much for sending care packages. I have to ask you not to anymore though. I have yet to receive even your first one, so I don’t think they will ever come. It would be better for you to keep your rations for the children, rather than wasting them on care packages that will probably never be received.


Dear Mother,
Glory Hallelujah! The war is over! All of us have feelings of immense happiness right now.
I am definitely a different man from when I left for the war. I am not the wild and reckless son you remember. War has changed every man, woman, and child. Soldiers have changed from young, reckless boys into serious men. Teenage girls have taken on the role of “mother” while the women of the house are taking on the role of their husbands and sons by working outside of the home in factories and the like. No child really knows what it is like to be young and free, all they know is war and rations.
I am excited to return home and see the children again. I have missed so much of their growing up. I have missed sitting with all five of them in the common room telling stories and playing games. I have missed their many misadventures and noisy playing.
I should probably say that it bothers me that we lost the war, but right now I am completely overjoyed that I may come home and not have to worry about someone trying to shoot me in my sleep. Maybe in time I will be bothered that we lost, but until then I will celebrate.

Your loving son,
Karl

P.S. I finally received your care packages. When I received them all I could do is laugh, and the delivery man joined in. Unfortunately, someone got to them before I could. All that was left was the packing paper!



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krzzy said...
Feb. 21 at 11:50 am
Hi! I love this, and I was wondering if I could use it for a school prpject? I'll credit you, I just had to find a piece of writing about ww1 and 'respond creatively' to it. I'm hoping to make a video and I'llsee if there's any way I could show you it when I'm done. I might put it on YouTube if I'm allowed. :) Thanks
 
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