World War II: Loss of Life Visualized

As war is one of the most overt forms of conflict we as a species can manage, it seems natural that war be a significant part of our stories. However, I feel that a great deal of fiction glorifies warfare and combat and ignores the human cost.  I can understand that tendency, as showing the true cost of wars would only ruin the fantasy of glory and heroism for the reader. I've had the honor to speak with many soldiers from many different wars. In the end, their motivation for fighting seems to come down to a common motivation: fighting for the person standing next to you, and doing what you can to survive to get back home to friends and family. Some of the most powerful war stories I've experienced (Saving Private Ryan, All's Quiet on the Western Front, The Pianist, Anne Frank's Journals, etc) seem to capture critical human element. So, as writers, should we acknowledge or ignore the very human cost of atrocity and combat? Depends on what you are writing and for whom.

Either way, I think it is important for us as writers to keep our minds and eyes open to this sort of thing. Hence, this Thursday's Thought. When I first saw this video, I was astounded by the numbers. Then I was horrified. As I watched to the end, I was riveted. Clearly, the author did a good job at telling this story, as grim as it was.


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