When did you go?
Yeah, I'd go.
I din't say I did. I just made the point that being aware of the full horror of the reality of War in those two conflicts would almost definitely influence any hypothetical decision one might make.
I doubt the conscripts in WW1 had much idea about the reality that awaited them. I dare say there were strenuous efforts made to keep such information from them, as it would have been counter-productive to allow conscripts any inkling of the truth of what they were being sent into. As Duggan points out; today's media constantly feeds us with all sorts of imagery and information that WW1 soldiers would have been oblivious to.
Had I been 18 or so in 1914-1918, I dare say that I may well have seen going off to fight for my country as a rite of passage; something to go off and enjoy with my mates. Many accounts from that time show that many young men felt this way, such was their naivety and ignorance of the reality of War. Back then, War was something that made you a man; there was no greater honour than to have risked everything in battle, in the name of your King and Country. This was of course a myth; the reality was that two opposing ideologies/powers needed men to fight for their respective causes. Regardless of the moral ins and outs, both sides needed to be able to stir up emotions and give people a sense of moral courage; you will fight to the death for what you believe is right. I'm sure the young German lads probbly felt the same.
I am glad that the World has changed, and that governments largely can't send men to their deaths simply for economic or politically ideological reasons. I'm glad that we can sit back and disagree with the reasons for conflict, and choose not to fight.
And once again, I'm grateful to those that did, so that I don't have to.
As I said, it's easy to be brave from behind a keyboard.