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Ernst Junger - Essay Example

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Summary
Ernest Junger, German verteran and one of German’s controversial writer, is one person whose life and literature has influenced German literature and the modern studies of WWI. Junger was born in 1895 in Heildeburg, Germany to a wealthy chemist…
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Ernst Junger
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Ernst Junger

Download file to see previous pages... At the age of 17 years, Junger ran away from home to become part of a foreign legion. Later on, Junger was brought back by his father but he returned to military service at the outbreak of the World War I where he joined the German Army. While serving at the western front of the German Army, Junger served with distinction and in 1917, he was honored with the Iron Cross First Class. In 1918, he was awarded with Blue Max, the highest military decoration that can be awarded by Prussia. Junger’s experiences during the World War I (WWI) are recorded in his book, Storm of Steel, which was published in 1920. Apart from this book, Junger also wrote other books, novels, essays and articles in many right-winged nationalist journals. From the analysis of his works, various authors have come to view Junger from different perspectives. Some say he is militarist, others a nationalist and others antidemocratic. Still, others argue that he was a fascist while others say he was one of the greatest modern writers of Germany and a celebrity of the conservative revolutionary movement. One author, Nevin describes Junger as one of Europe’s leading and controversial 21st century writers whose remarkable writing career has spanned five periods of the history of modern Germany1. His career as a soldier became the main backbone of his writing career because he wrote out of his experiences in the WWI. Through his book, Ernest Junger and Germany, Nevin brings out the extra ordinary person in Junger, and an important insight into the nature of the history of German and that of the modern world. Those who view Junger has militarist base their arguments on some of his works like the Storm of Steel and the essay entitled On Pain. In his book Storm of Steel, Junger glorified war and this made him so famous. In this book, Junger exalted war as an internal event. He describes it as something that elevates the life of a soldier into a mystical experience. According to him, the life of a soldier is a life that is separated from normal humanity. He also claims that modern military techniques on their extremities have tested the capacity of senses of man2.. The Storm of Steel gives a sharp contrast to some of the famous novels that speak about world war. A good example of this is All Quiet on the Western Front, a book written by the German veteran Maria Remarque. In this book, Remarque gives descriptions of physical injuries and psychological trauma that soldiers go through in war. In effect, it generates in the minds of the readers the sense of horror of war. Although Junger also brings out such for example the terrible killing or wounding of his friends, they are brief and nonchalant3. Eventually, such scenes accumulate and lead to the normalisation of this horror and generate a depression instead of a shocking effect. This has made the book to be criticised as glorifying nationalism and war. From this view, one will not be mistaken to state that Junger as the ability to acknowledge even the most things in human condition and would always get an evidence to contradict the view point of human optimism4. Nationalism and militarism is also evidenced in Junger’s life through his work The Adventurous Heart, a book that was published in 1929 and The Worker published in 1932. In work The Adventurous Heart, he describes the Jews as a threat to unity among the Germans and in the worker, he called for the creation of a society that was totally mobilised and is run by warrior-worker-soldiers. Authors who claim that Junger was a fascist argue that he never showed sympathy to the political style of the native germans that was popular among the Nazis. One of the authors who has described Junger has fascist is Walter Benjamin. Out of a collection of essays ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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