English Context Timeline - War


World War One

July 28 1914 - November 11 1918

Text list:
-The Ghost Road
-Dulce se Decorum Est
-Break of Day in the Trenches
-Six Young Men
-Conscientious Objector
-Suicide in the Tranches

Battle of the Somme

July 1 1916 - November 18 1916

57,470 British casualties, greater than the total combined British casualties in the Crimean, Boer, and Korean wars.

The Battle of the Sambre Oise Canal

4 november 1918

Wilfred Owen died.

World War two

September 1 1939 - September 2 1945

Text list:
-August 6th 1945.
-How to Kill.

Atomic bombings of Hiroshima & Nagasaki

August 6, 1945 - August 9, 1945

-The two bombings, which killed at least 129,000 people, remain the only use of nuclear weapons for warfare in history.

Military Coup in Afghanistan & Republic

1973 - 1978

Mohammad Dahoud Jhan siezes power in Afghanistan from his cousin king Zahir Shah, he then established a Republic and serves as president from 1973-1978.
On April 27, 1978, however, he was killed in a coup that brought to power a communist government.

Soviet Invasion of Afghanistan

December 1979 - February 1989

Russian Influence

1989 - 1992

Faced with mounting international pressure and numerous casualties, the Soviets withdrew in 1989 but continued to support Afghan President Mohammad Najibullah until 1992

The Gulf War

August 2 1990 - February 28 1991

In one event the tanks had buldozers and during the ground attack they were used as sweepers. They buried as far as we know, an untold number of Iraqis alive. - American Football.

Text List:
-American Football.

The Taliban take control of the South


The Taliban took control of Southern Afghanistan forcing Pashtun leaders to surrender.

Taliban Rule

1996 - 2001

The Taliban Rule Afghanistan.

Taliban Massacre of Hazaras

August 1998

The Taliban massacred Hazaras in Mazar-i-Sharif.

September 11

september 11 2001

The twin Towers are attacked. The US army soon invades Afghanistan.



1914 - 1918

-Pacifism is a belief that violence, even in self-defence, is unjustifiable under any conditions.
-In WWI pacifists became known as conscientious objectors.
-Some pacifists refused to fight but about 7,000 were willing to help the country by working in non-combat roles such as medical orderlies, stretcher-bearers, ambulance drivers and cooks.
-By the end of the war, 8,608 COs appeared before Military Tribunals. Over 4,500 went sent to do work of national importance such as farming.
-However, 528 were sentenced to severe penalties. This included 17 who were sentenced to death (afterwards commuted), 142 to life imprisonment, three to 50 years' imprisonment, four to 40 years and 57 to 25 years. Conditions were made very hard for the conscientious objectors and sixty-nine of them died in prison.

Shellshock WWI

1914 - 1918

-During the war 306 British and Commonwealth soldiers were executed on the orders of senior officers. The Germans only executed 25 of their own, the Americans none.
-The pretexts for such deaths had a common theme; many were suffering from 'shellshock, 'war neurosis' or 'combat stress', and most were deliberately picked out 'as a lesson to others'.
-Charges included desertion, cowadice, or insubordination.
-Most of those shot were young and vulnerable teenagers who had volunteered for duty.
-General Haig when questioned declared that all men accused of cowadice and desertion were examined by a medical officer and that no man was sentenced to death is suspected of shellshock. However most were not.
-General Haig not only signed the death warrants but lied repeatedly afyerwards; his behavour in choosing to murder his men puts him in the category of war criminal.
-The Genral's belief was that anyone who was suffering from shellshock was malingering.
-The British military were the furthest behind in understanding such trauma. What steps that were taken by them were to return the men to the front as quickly as possible.
-For this General Haig was awarded an Earldom.

Afgan Refugees

Approx. 1979 - Approx. 2006

-Afghanistan is the leading country of origin for Refugees.
-As of the end of 2006 there were 2.1 million refugees from Afghanistan in in 71 different asylum countries, or 21% of the global refugee population.
-There are approximately 130,000 internally displaced peoples within Afganistan itself.

Writers & real figures

Dr Rivers

1864 - 1922

-A psychologist and anthropologist.
-He was the youngest medical graduate in St Bartholemew's Hospital London.
-He often undertook sea voyages in the 1880's as a ships surgeon.
-In 1907 he was made director of Cambridge Universities' new psychology laboratory.
-He continues to read the work of Carl Jung and Siegmund Freud..
-In October 1916 he was sent to Craiglockhart where he pioneered new techniques in dealing with shell-shocked soldiers using psychoanalysis.

Siegfried Sassoon

1886 - 1967

(Suicide in the Trenches)

-His reaction to the war was harsh and vicious.
-He impressed many with his bravery in the front line and was given the nickname 'Mad Jack' for his near-suicidal exploits
-He was decorated twice.
-His brother Hamo was killed in November 1915 at Gallipoli.
-His political reaction was presented through his poetry.
-He spoke out publicaly against the war yet felt morally compelled to return to it.
-Friend, mentor and poetic advisor to Wilfred Owen, they met at Craiglockhart.

Isaac Rosenburg

1890 - 1918

(Break of Day in the trenches)

-He was a soldier and wrote poetry from the Tranches.
-He was killed in April 1918 in either colse Combat or from a sniper.

Edna St. Vincent Millay

1892 - 1950

(Conscientious Objector, written 1934)

-American poet and playwright.
- In 1919 she wrote the anti-war play Aria da Capo.
-During the first world war Millay had been a dedicated and active pacifist; however, from 1940 she supported the Allied Forces, writing in celebration of the war effort and later working with Writers' War Board to create propaganda, including poetry.

Wilfred Owen

1893 - 4th November 1918

(Dulce Et Decorum Est)

-Shocking realistic war poetry.
-Influenced by Sassoon who he met at Craiglockhart.
-He returned to France in August 1918 and in October was awarded the Military Cross for bravery.
-Killed at the Sambre Oise Canal.
-The news of his death reached his parents on 11 November, Armistice Day.
-Edited by Sassoon and published in 1920, Owen's single volume of poems contain some of the most poignant English poetry of World War One, including 'Dulce et Decorum Est' and 'Anthem for Doomed Youth'.

Kieth Douglas

1920 - 1944

(How to Kill).

-His father fought in WWI
-Joined Cavalry at Uni and fought in WW2
-Injured by landmine then killed in Normandy.
-Undentimental about death.
-He focused on external impressions rather than inner emotions.
-Douglas's work is powerful and unsettling because its exact descriptions eschew egotism and shift the burden of emotion from the poet to the reader.

Phillip Larkin

1922 - 1985


-English poet, novelist and librarian.
-His poems are marked by what Andrew Motion calls a very English, glum accuracy about emotions, places, and relationships, and what Donald Davie described as lowered sights and diminished expectations.
-He was nfit for active service in WWII due to poor eyesight, he was unfamiliar with the direct horrors of war, but he was a man who understood the power of the emotion present in ordinary lives.

Ted Hughes

1930 - 1998

(Six Young Men)

-He was born in Yorkshire and raised among the local farms.
-Hughes's father, a joiner, had enlisted with the Lancashire Fusiliers and fought at Ypres. William Hughes narrowly escaped being killed when a bullet lodged in a pay book in his breast pocket. He was one of just 17 men of his regiment to return from the Dardanelles Campaign (1915–16).
-The stories of Flanders fields filled Hughes's childhood imagination.

Harold Pinter

1930 - 2008

(American Football) - Gulf War

-In 1948–49, when he was 18, Pinter opposed the politics of the Cold War, leading to his decision to become a conscientious objector and to refuse to comply with National Service in the British military. However, he told interviewers that, if he had been old enough at the time, he would have fought against the Nazis in World War II.
-Pinter strongly opposed the 1991 Gulf War
-He was very active in the antiwar movement in the United Kingdom, speaking at rallies held by the Stop the War Coalition and frequently criticising American aggression, as when he asked rhetorically, in his acceptance speech for the Wilfred Owen Award for Poetry on 18 March 2007: "What would Wilfred Owen make of the invasion of Iraq? A bandit act, an act of blatant state terrorism, demonstrating absolute contempt for the conception of international law."
-American Football sprang from "the triumphism, the machismo, the victory parade, that were very much in evidence at the time" (1991)
-Pinter found it very difficult to publish the poem; several editors refused because although they personally agreed with the sentiments, it was too obscene to publish.

Pat Barker

8 may 1943 - Present

-English writer an Novellist.
-Barker was born to a working-class family in Thornaby-on-Tees in the North Riding of Yorkshire.
-Her mother became pregnant outside of marriage and in an environment where illigitemacy was shame told people the baby was her sister.
-After writing three novels of working class women in Yorkshire and earning the typecast labels of a northern, regional, working class, feminist, Barker decided to write about the First World War, she had always wanted to write about due to her step-grandfather's wartime experiences. These had resulted in a scar from a bayonet wound, and he would not speak about the war.
-She has won many awards for her fiction, which centres on themes of memory, trauma, survival and recovery.
-Her work is described as direct, blunt and plainspoken.

Alison Fell

1944 - Present

(August 6th 1945)

Khalad Hosseini

March 4 1965 - Present

-Born in Kabul.
-His Father worked as a diplomat for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs whilst his mother worked as a Persian language teacher at a girls high school.
-Hosseini describes his upbringing as privileged. He spent eight years of his childhood in the middle class of Wazir Akbar Khan neighborhood in Kabul.
-Kabul itself was "a growing, thriving, cosmopolitan city" where he regularly flew kites with a number of cousins.
-In 1976, when Hosseini was 11 years old, his father secured a job in Paris, France, and moved the family there.
-They were unable to return to Afghanistan because of the April 1978 Saur Revolution in which the People's Democratic Party of Afghanistan (PDPA) seized power.
-In 1980, shortly after the start of the Soviet war in Afghanistan, they sought political asylum in the United States and made their residence in San Jose, California.
-He earned a bachelor's degree in biology in 1988.
-The following year, he entered the University of California, San Diego, School of Medicine, where he earned his M.D. in 1993.
-Hosseini is currently a Goodwill Envoy for the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR).