Dalton Trumbo wrote Johnny Got His Gun in
1938 and published it in 1939...the novel is meant to be a pacifist statement
at the beginning of World War II. But the world goes on in its usual way, and
Trumbo reissued Johnny Got His Gun for yet another war, this one in
Numbers have dehumanized us. Over
breakfast coffee we read of 40,000 American dead in
Let us use his same arithmetic for World War I; 9,000,000 dead young men equal 1,350,000,000 pounds of bone and flesh, 27,900,000 pounds of brain matter, 11,250,000 gallons of blood, 414,000,000 years of life that will never be lived, and 22,500,000 children who will never be born. The dry if imposing figure "9,000,000 dead" seems a little less statistical when we view it from this perspective.
These 9,000,000 recorded here were military
casualities. An even great number of civilians-- 12,500,000--died as a result
of military action, massacre, starvation or disease. ( Patric Bridgwater,
"German Poetry and the First World War," European Studies, 1 
). All told, 21,000,000 people, combatants and civilians, perished in the four
years of the war.
Rusche, Harry " ...the
rest is silence. Lost Poets of the Great War" English Department,