The Historical Events of the XX century

The essay tells the story about my distant relative, who was the aunt of my grandmother. She was living in Buenos-Aires during the period of the World War I. She married the man, who came to Argentine after the war from the UK. He was the veteran of one of the biggest wars in the history of humanity. He told his story to my distant relative, and it became the part of our family history. He told about the problems of the World War I, about its influence on him, and the soldiers. The current essay was written after the interview with my grandmother, who was the listener of the stories of her aunt. It is impossible to find any family who has no relatives who had suffered during the World War I. The husband of my cousin is the pattern of heroic mind and strong character who had found the possibility to start his life from the very beginning in the distant Buenos-Aires, Argentine.  

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It was the year of 1909, when the port of Buenos Aires reigned as pandemonium such as raids on New York. From the banks of the La Plata in Europe went the refrigerated and dry cargo vessels with the Argentine meat and grain, and on arriving ships went ashore thousands of new migrants. Italians, Spanish, Ukrainians, Hungarians, Jews, Germans, and other immigrants from Europe were looking for a new life in the New World. During the first two decades of the twentieth century in Argentina came a million European workers. The reason for this influx was rather simple. A hundred years ago, Argentina was one of the ten richest countries, and its spacious prairie needed a new working hand. GDP per capita in Argentina in the early XX century was higher twice the Italian and French. The country was a huge flow of foreign investment, Argentine exports accounted for 7% of the world total. The historical events of the XX century had affected the country. Moreover, the World War I had significantly influenced my family, and the essay would unite the shores of the modern history, and the story of my family’s life. 

The Story of my Cousin in the World War I

The "Silver country", which is the way the natives call Argentine, has something to show the world, such as the tango, Evita Peron, football and the most beautiful woman president, and that is only the beginning of the list. In Argentina, you can in record time to gain the most outlandish experiences that are rich in the opposite hemisphere. It is possible to listen to the incessant murmur of the glacier, and wander through the streets of the southern city of the world, take a lesson of the tango in the street and to swim on the legendary Cape Horn - if not to go in on the Antarctic cruise.

This is the country I saw it for the first time. However, the story of my family had started long ago. Shortly before the First World War, Argentina was one of the most successful and richest countries in the world. Argentina by the index was on a par with France and Germany, and significantly ahead of countries such as Italy and Spain. It was then when the story of my distant relative, an aunt of my grandmother, began in Buenos Aires Argentina. Since the beginning of the World War I, the countries of Latin America, like the US, have declared their neutrality. US entry into the war on the side of the Entente in April 1917, as well as attacks of German submarines in the sea trade, communication between Latin America and the countries of the Entente led to a declaration of war on Germany, Central America and Brazil. Immediately after the US, in April 1917, declared war on Germany is most closely associated with the United States, Panama and Cuba. In October 1917, they were joined by Brazil, and in the spring and summer of 1918, at the end of the war, Haiti, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua and Costa Rica. Other countries in the region remained neutral until the end of the war in November 1918.

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In old photos, newsreels and even in many memoirs, the war was fanned by some romance, and even in the field it looks accordingly dangerous, but the heroic atmosphere. The wrong side of the propaganda has been shown seldom. Moreover, it is not just injuries and death, but also truly monstrous and very unheroic living conditions: poor sanitation and filth, pestilence and agonizing trench of the disease, the destruction of the normal concepts of mutual respect, fair labor, comfort, healthy lifestyle. The expression "in the trenches of lice feed" emerged after the cruise of the World War I. Nevertheless, it is only remotely consistent with what actually awaited yesterday's peasants, workers, and intellectuals at the front, which is often the living envied the dead. Even then, it was difficult for survivors to maintain a human face. Argentina did not take part in active combat. At that time, both in the United States one after another-bursting shells ripping through iron tools and raising dust pillars, it was relatively quiet in Argentina. However, in the 20 years of the twentieth century economic crisis occurs in the country. A huge number of people lost their jobs and residents of Buenos Aires became very sad people. It should be noted that while most of the population of Buenos Aires were male. My grandmother said that the young woman had the opportunity to choose their own chosen from 20 applicants! However, not only the tango, but also her partner, who had turned her on the floor had changed the life of my distant relative. It was the great beginning of my family, which had the decoration of one of the most destructive wars in the history of humanity, but also had the rhythm of the tango. Thanks to this woman, I have the opportunity to experience the life of Argentine from the very different angle.  

As my grandmother told me, then the whole world was experiencing the extreme pressure. Even taking into consideration the fact that the country was aside from the active battles, the people had the feeling that the air was not peaceful. When the USA was experiencing the crushing of the houses and the death of people, Argentine had some kind of the peaceful life. However, even these circumstances had influenced the life of my relative. The aunt of my grandmother willingly joked when she told the stories from her life. The time when they lived in a small room in an old dilapidated house far from the center of Buenos Aires has long been in the past. She was always full of energy, everything was constantly giggling and joking as if nothing wrong in her life happened, and the world was still as good. When war broke out in 1914, my grandmother's aunt was in high school. She was mischievous, young and did not understand all the horror of the war. The whole world for her was new and full of hope, and the problems, which have befallen the country, seemed insignificant. Her mother was left with five children, of whom it was necessary to take care of. Aunt of my grandmother always wondered how her mother coped with this entire complicated task, and not one of them stepped on the wrong path in life.

The young girl did not know her father. Perhaps it was in the blood of the Argentine macho, who turned the heads of women in the tango and disappeared in the morning. With the onset of the war, Argentina's life began to change, despite the neutrality of the country. The world was becoming violent, and somewhere, even a thousand kilometers, died very young people. The aunt of my grandmother constantly thought about it, imagining how in the fields of battle die young boys and girls, her peers. She felt a responsibility for them, but for a long time did not understand why. At night, she had nightmares. The war was frightening. Her younger siblings, annoyed that they could not run freely in his home, as his mother had to take lodgers. Money for anything lacking, though earlier the family in no way needed. Complaining about what was happening around the unknown war; aunt of my grandmother was getting darker and gloomier every day.

Time passed, and the war, leaving its mark overall what could touch over. The aunt of my grandmother grew up and became a young woman. A few years later, she married immigrant from the UK. He was older than she was. He was broad and very smart. However, in his eyes, there was read imprint with sadness, and on his thigh was a big scar. As it turned out, he was a veteran of the First World War. They never discussed the First World War during the start of their relationship, when everything seemed very sweet and romantic. Only after marrying my grandmother's aunt quietly questioned her beloved husband of the horrors he experienced during the war. Like many men who have returned from the war, he did not like to talk about it.

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Nevertheless, his words were imbued with the horror of the war. He was terribly afraid of the Western Front. Once he mentioned that he was severely wounded in the thigh and he had a long time to crawl in order to find at least some help. Above his head, whistling bullets, one after the other exploding shells. He confessed to his wife that he was already considered himself dead. However, apparently, then it was not meant to be. He met one of the allies who helped him get to the hospital. He leaned on him, and together they made their way on the other side. Then the young soldier was only 20 years old, and at the hospital, he was not paid enough attention. The young men were not allowed to lie on the debt of hospital beds, and even if the soldiers could not move independently, it was necessary during this period will make room for the other wounded.

That is how the husband of my grandmother's aunt was forced to leave the hospital, where the wound is only beginning to tighten. He was back on the battlefield. On top of one another bomb fell, and he told me that he just lay there and prayed for the end of the war. Suddenly, in a ditch crept German. He had a bayonet. The German held a bayonet at the ready, and he was about to stab him in the stomach of a young man. However, this time the life of the then future husband of my cousin was not broken. Suddenly, the German had changed his mind to kill him, probably thinking that he was not worth the bloodshed. In war, there is a problem of psychological addiction not only to the form someone else, but also to think about the possibility of the death, resulting in blunting the sense of self-preservation. The husband of my cousin was ready to meet his death, but he was not scared at all. Then the friends of my distant relative surrounded by a ditch and caught the Germans. He could not believe it, but he was again saved.

He told that the war is very cruel, and it influences the mental health of every person who experiences it. The front includes daily war and its sounds, occupying an important place in the worldwide of the immediate combatants. Artillery shots, explosions of shells, the whistling of bullets - these and other sound effects means of destruction, symbolizing death, have a strong influence on the psyche of people, caused a deep sense of fear. The shooting had usually started at nine o'clock in the morning, and for some hours, the Germans produced not less than one hundred heavy shells. At noon, when the dishes arrived with food and resumed shooting subsided to occur again at six o'clock in the evening. The shelling this is not inflicted any serious injuries, as it was not exactly in the shooting. The shells exploded in the woods. The power of the gaps was judged from the fact that the ancient trees in thick girth and more, toppled by shell fragments, bursting anywhere near. The most unpleasant and depressing in this shelling was the sound of the projectile flight. First, the soldier hears a single shot, then something similar to squelch a large pig. It was the same as the deafening explosion. The ground shakes so much that in the dugouts, trenches the collapses have occurred, and the land presses were in their soldiers. Often under the influence of a stressful situation, people simply went mad. By the middle of the war, the number of mental patients has reached 50 thousand people, which is 0.5% in relation to the total number enlisted in the army. However, everything depended on the stability of the psyche of specific people, from the power of their mind to adapt to extreme conditions and include protective mechanisms. In war there was no place neurasthenia, said my distant relative.

How my grandmother told me afterwards, he regretted only one thing only. He was disappointed that the soldiers had learned about the end of the war only the next day. He was sorry about the wounded and dead friends for this one day, when they are still fighting, not knowing that the war was already over. Then he began to build his life and decided to forget all the horrors of war. He did it because he had a strong belief in a better future. In order to permanently erase from his mind the horrors of war, he decided to leave his homeland and went to travel. He never told me what countries he had visited before finally settling in Buenos Aires. This mystery remained forever his secret treasure. He met my distant relative of one warm spring evening. He thought that the fresh air would help him to finally improve their poor health, after he inhaled powder in war. He had bouts of bronchitis. Although hip injury, he was a great dancer. He turned the head aunt of my grandmother in a hot Argentine tango.

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He was twice her age. They got married. Some years after their marriage, they have opened a small shop for the sale of fruit and vegetables together. They were not chasing big profits and had the possibility and desire to enjoy what they have. Probably, it is possible, only those people who have gone through the horrors of war could do this. For years, she questioned him about the war. She asked him why the young man still decided to go into the army. His confession found an echo in her heart. He told her that if there was a tradition in England when the women were given a white feather for the men who have found any way to avoid serving in the army as a sign of cowardice. Then, not to merge those, he decided to enroll all the same. The aunt of my grandmother knew that he had a big heart and that he could never turn away from such a war, but the explanation was accepted.

War inevitably forms other than in the time of peace, the attitude towards death, which at the front becomes a part of everyday life. For those who have learned to kill, who sees death every hour and others may die itself, human life is devalued. Type of death does not cause fear and disgust rather indifference. Such a blunting of emotions is a defensive reaction of the nervous system in conditions of constant stress. However, my distant relative was not hardened by the horrors of war, but many of his friends died there or were wounded. However, he never had any antipathy towards the Germans. He believed that both sides suffered huge losses. The forces were equal, so no one was in a better position. He danced every night with the aunt of my grandmother and laughed at her jokes. The war left its mark, and in his soul. When people die, then you feel like you are miserable before death. This war was supposed to be the end of all wars on earth. However, this did not come true.

The rhythm of tango had accompanied the life of my distant relative, and nowadays this kind of music gives me the energy when everything seems to fall apart. As my grandmother said, the life in Argentine during the World War I was not the worst, but still people were facing the pressure of the outer world. However, they never knew that it was not the last war in the century, and several years after this one, the bombs would start to destroy the buildings and kill people in the distant corners of the world. The World War II was about to start, and the life of the humanity had the destiny to change significantly.


The XX century was rich in various historical events. However, practically none of them was positive. Nowadays, it is hard to find a family, which has no relatives died or injured in the World War I. The story of my family may seem not heroic, but it had influenced the life circle of my relatives and me. The husband of my cousin is a pattern of the strong mind and healthy attitude towards life. He has taught me with his example to love the life and to value it. The World War I had significantly influenced the life of humanity, and every family in particular. That is the grief of the whole world, and should never be forgotten.

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