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Imperial War Museum releases audio recording of the final minute of WW1

I have no words, just listened to this over and over. This is a recording of the final minute of war and beginning of peace. This was recorded near the River Moselle in the American front. It's really eerie to think that the guns were firing until the very last second but, what really moved me is when the guns go silent and you can hear a bird sing. This is a truly a fantastic audio clip.

You can listen to it here.

EDIT: Yes, I should look for more sources when reading stuff like this. The image that we see with the video is actually real, it is part of a technique that was used to locate enemy artillery in the battlefield (Sound ranging explained). The Imperial War Museum joined efforts with Coda to Coda sound designers to use that data and recreate what the end of the war sounded.

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level 1

On birds during heavy shelling, Ernst Junger says the following in Storm of Steel.

“The odd thing was that the little birds in the forest seemed quite untroubled by the myriad noise; they sat peaceably over the smoke in their battered boughs. In the short intervals of firing, we could hear them singing happily or ardently to one another”

level 2
735 points · 8 days ago

Same as in Flander's Fields by McCrae.

The larks, still singing, bravely fly

Scarce heard among the guns below.

level 3
262 points · 8 days ago

We are the dead short days ago.

level 4

Fuck that poem gives me so many chills

14 more replies

level 4

We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow

level 5

Loved and were loved,

level 6

But now we lie in Flanders Fields

level 6
4 points · 7 days ago

and now, we lie in Flanders Fields.

1 more reply

level 5

That poem always reminds me of Wilfred Owen’s “Futility”

Move him into the sun—
Gently its touch awoke him once,
At home, whispering of fields half-sown.
Always it woke him, even in France,
Until this morning and this snow.
If anything might rouse him now
The kind old sun will know.

Think how it wakes the seeds,—
Woke, once, the clays of a cold star.
Are limbs, so dear-achieved, are sides,
Full-nerved—still warm—too hard to stir?
Was it for this the clay grew tall?
—O what made fatuous sunbeams toil
To break earth’s sleep at all?

1 more reply

level 3

(I hope I won't be seen as "advertising" for an extremely old war movie, but people having a good time reading the poetry in this thread might appreciate the following recommendation)

I recently watched, then re-watched, Wooden Crosses (1932), a French equivalent of All Quiet on the Western Front. It makes verse like "The larks, still singing, bravely fly // Scarce heard among the guns below // We are the dead short days ago" considerably more real.

The movie itself is full of beautifully-framed (and often naturally-lighted) shots, pyrotechnic work using real howitzers that can be safely described as jarring, and as far as story goes the plot barely even has a main character— it basically favors an entire regiment, as commentary on the insignificance of a single soldier in the war. It's a surprisingly modern film, for being so old.

Of course, if you've seen any of the other major interwar movies about World War I (All Quiet... , Westfront 1918, possibly others) then it might mean a little less for you. But I hope someone might give it a try based on my text here.

level 4

On a similar note I can recommend the book No More Bullets that contains a description of and some dark poems on the prison transport through Caucasus and Siberia and a line that I sometimes confuse with British classics: "To step on a Face which still draws Breath"


level 5

I probably don't have time to get into this now, but I hope I will in the future. Your quote is intense.

1 more reply

level 3

You know, I was going to make a comment about Slaughterhouse Five. It’s interesting that birds have this reaction or lack thereof, and even more interesting that so many writers have seemingly been affected by it in one way or another.

level 4

po-too-weet, my waffle brother or sister.


level 5

Careful who you pretend to be, Waffle...

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level 3

Sang a beautiful arrangement of that poem in a choir I was in. Don’t remember the composer, but it’s still one of the most beautiful pieces I’ve performed.

level 4

Same. I can't think about the poem without hearing that haunting melody in my head.

level 2

I thought the same thing in Iraq during firefights. Could be a nice day, birds chirping, sun shining.

In movies it's always overcast and dreary and "shaky" when the shooting starts. In reality, it's just whatever you see when you walk outside, but with gunfire added.

level 3

it takes strength to share that memory /thought and I appreciate it

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