First World War Poetry Digital Archive

Siegfried Sassoon - Diary Extracts

June 19 1917

I wish I could believe that Ancient War History justifies the indefinite prolongation of this war. The Jingos define it as 'an enormous quarrel between incompatible spirits and destinies, in which one or the other must succumb'. But the men who write these manifestos do not truly know what useless suffering the war inflicts...And the Army is dumb. The Army goes on with its bitter tasks. The ruling classes do all the talking. And their words convince no one but the crowds who are their dupes. The soldiers who return home seem stunned by the things they have endured...If only they would speak out and throw their medals in the faces of their masters; and ask their women why it thrills them to know that they, the dauntless warriors, have shed the blood of Germans.

SSD, P. 175
© George Sassoon

30 July 1917 (Craiglockhart)

...My fellow patients are 160 more or less dotty officers. A great many of them are degenerate looking. A few are genuine cases of shell shock etc...My doctor is a sensisble man who doesn't say anything silly. His name is Rivers, a notable Cambridge psychologist.

SSD, P. 183
© George Sassoon