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Anti-War Themes in Slaughterhouse Five

Slaughterhouse-Five, or The Children’s Crusade, is an autobiographical novel by Kurt Vonnegut about the bombing of Dresden during World War II.

After the bombing of Pearl Harbor Port, Kurt Vonnegut voluntarily joined the ranks of the US armed forces and participated in World War II.

In 1944, he was taken a prisoner by the German forces and was sent to Dresden, where he and other prisoners of war worked at the factory. It is in Dresden Vonnegut acquired the most terrible war experience.

On February 13-14, 1945, he witnessed the bombing of Dresden by aviation of allied troops. Kurt Vonnegut was among the seven American prisoners of war, survivors of that day in Dresden. The prisoners were locked up for the night at the broken slaughterhouse number 5, and during the bombing were taken to the basement, which contained meat carcasses. There were no real shelters in the city, because Dresden was not a strategically important objective. After miraculously escaping the death from his own planes, Vonnegut saw the horror of war, when he and other prisoners had to dismantle the ruins and pull out thousands of corpses from under the debris. Vonnegut was liberated by the Red Army.

The writer said that the bombing of Dresden was not caused by military necessity. Most of those killed in this operation were civilians. Vonnegut was against Nazism and didn’t recognize that the destruction of Dresden was a penalty for the crimes of the Nazis.

The novel is filled with pronounced antimilitaristic themes. It shows human impotence in the infinite and soulless world of evil and violence, sufferings and senseless victims.

Stereotypes of real men, tough guys, heroes that are commonly found in books about the war, in Vonnegut’s novel are absurdly distorted and presented in a rigid parody in images of captured British people and Roland Weary, causing a wry grin. There is no division into ours and enemies – the Germans are displayed as ordinary people tortured and incredibly tired of the war, as well as Americans.

The bombing of Dresden in the novel is not shown; although the author says that the whole book is about it. Even the effects of the bombing are described very blurry. It seems that Vonnegut doesn’t want to talk about it. In fact, he simply has nothing to say. War in general and in particular the bombing of Dresden were seen by the author as a monstrous absurdity that cannot even be adequately described. Vonnegut is unable to understand the disease of mankind, leading to wars, and his book freezes in design stage.

The bombing of Dresden remains in the novel as it was – a black hole and a void.

Slaughterhouse-Five, or The Children’s Crusade, is an autobiographical novel by Kurt Vonnegut about the bombing of Dresden during World War II.

After the bombing of Pearl Harbor Port, Kurt Vonnegut voluntarily joined the ranks of the US armed forces and participated in World War II.

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100000989
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CREATED ON
31 July 2016
COMPLETED ON
2 August 2016
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