Introduction to "The Needless of War"

War is not at all pleasant. Words associated with war are usually always negative, and only occasionally, in the most rarest of circumstances, are they pleasant. Yet wars are not fought blindly, they are fought whole-heartedly with a purpose and reason. Perhaps the war is fought to better the world. Maybe the war is fought to eliminate enemies. Regardless, damage will be done and people will have been affected. Without a doubt, whoever loses will suffer. War is no laughing matter. Fighting should be a last resort, and only for the most extreme situations. Yet many a time the decision of whether or not a nation should partake in war is worn on a sleeve. No matter how much progress is achieved through war, there is just as much and more regression. Thus, war is absolutely needless if progress is desired. Although people go to war for the sake of some wonderful ideal, in the end it just wastes people's lives.

Trench Warfare by Otto Dix 1932

                Otto Dix was born in Germany in 1891. At an early age, he decided to become an artist after spending countless hours at his cousin Fritz Amann's studio. At fifteen he began serving as an art apprentice to Carl Senff, and at nineteen he joined the Kunstgewerbeschule, an academy of applied arts. When World War I broke out he enlisted in the German Army and was sent to fight on the frontlines on both the Eastern and Western fronts. He managed to reach the rank of vizefeldwebel, Staff Sergeant, before he was wounded in the neck and discharged of service. He was heavily affected by his traumatic experiences on the battlefield. He recalled having nightmares and flashbacks of the war as well as ones of him crawling through destroyed houses. The horrors of his memory influenced him to create works exposing the truth of war and its misery. His paintings were so vividly provocative and challenging of pro-war propaganda that the Nazis had to remove him from his position as an art teacher at the Dresden Academy upon rise to power. They took and exhibited several of his paintings at degenerate art galleries and then later burned them. A government-created Hitler conspiracy plot landed him in jail for seven years. Upon release he continued to paint about the cruelties he knew until he died (Otto Dix).
                The triptych Trench Warfare depicts the afterimage of a battle during World War I. One of the most important aspects of the painting is the ambiguity. In some parts the author uses blur effects to distort the features to prevent clarity. This is most likely an intentional, symbolic move to demonstrate that battles left people not only dead but also unrecognizable. On the right side of the image an inverted man's legs are sticking out of the ground. There are multiple bullet wounds that signify the man was repeatedly shot even perhaps after death. The brutality of war is clear here, as there is no mercy. One must ensure that his foe has been completely annihilated or else be in danger. The hanging corpse is probably a representation of death hanging over all the soldiers on the battlefield, for at any given moment they could pass on. There also exists a man wearing a gas mask and helmet while covering himself in a cloth. Toxines from biochemical warfare finish the job that the other weapons failed to complete. The remains of the gas along with the stench of the dead bodies must be too much for any person to handle, and thus the mask is needed. In the far distance structures have crumbled and deteriorated. The sky is split into a yellowish white and black color. The bright color is over the clearing, and is far away from all the death, while the dark color symbolic of evil looms over the battlefield, the place of all destruction and misery. There is practically nothing left besides unidentifiable corpses; even the area cannot be accessed without a mask. There cannot possibly be anything worth fighting for that outweighs this suffering, thus war should not be used because it is too malevolent of a tactic.