Captain Donald C. Thompson filmed this documentary, a close-up view of World War I, and then-modern methods of warfare. Instead of serving as pro-fighting propaganda, these scenes illustrate the ugliness of war, beginning with the opening shot of Thompson wearing a gas mask. A hydroplane takes off and drops bombs, there is a brief glimpse of the bloody battle of the Somme, and fierce trench fighting is shown. So are mounds and mounds of rotting corpses, surrendering Germans and an dogfight in which a German plane is shot down. The last shots are of a French vocational school in which crippled soldiers are taught how to make a living. Up until the twentieth century, war was seen as something romantic. The rise of cinema, and the production of films like this one, helped strip away its glory.
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