Rebuilding of Europe Kate Isbell

Dear Diary,

It is the year 1919, barely a year after the war has ended. Living as a German in post-war Europe has been a struggle to say the least. The lands are destroyed, the buildings crushed, and spirits are broken. Buildings are being rebuilt, brick by brick, but our souls are still shattered, and no brick will fix them. I have been forced into poverty for the sins committed by my government. I was brainwashed into believing what I was doing was for the good of my own country, and now the memories haunt me every sleepless night. How am I to deal with this? I am not capable to pay for my children, to sleep safely at night, or to visit my family in surrounding countries. I have been disowned and everything important to me has been ruined. Millions have lost their lives, but I have been unfortunate enough to have survived, leaving me alive but empty. I am hopelessly floating through time, waiting for a day where World War I will not tarnish my heritage as a German. Even now, there is talk of renewing the war, though it is unlikely. Will this day ever come?

Here I am in my last year of the war, 1918. I was only 22 years old, and I had been scrounging through dirt and soil for hours, looking for my comrades after having crashed our plane. All I found were the remains of a torn German flag.
During the war , I was a German pilot, responsible for dropping bombs and ending lives.

When the war ended last year, our country was forced to sign the Treaty of Versailles. The League of Nations invented this to ensure that we would be held responsible for our actions. We have gone into what seems like an eternal debt, over 30 billion dollars. In the end, over 37,000,000 people lost their lives. This includes soldiers (some like me), citizens caught in the crossfire, and even children. As a person with humanity and disgust, my stomach churns every time that bone-chilling fact arises. I understand full and well that we deserve every ounce of debt, every second of suffering. We are responsible for a war that not only killed millions, it killed the beauty of our planet and the art of coexistence.

Millions of lives were taken for no real reason.

Dear Diary,

The buildings and towns are desolate. I wish that I could assist with the reconstruction, but I am far too busy. There are plenty of helping hands already, will they not be enough? I am too much of a mess to help anyone, much less those whose lives were ruined by a war I partook in.

Dear Diary,

It is the year 1925 now. I had lost my diary within a pile of old belongings when cleaning out the house looking for things to sell. Unfortunately, one of my children became ill last year, and I fear for the worst. We have not the funds to help her, and she has become frail and susceptible to chills and nausea. I do not know how much longer she can take of this, and how much longer I can bear to watch her struggle to move even 3 feet from her bed.

This has become my daughters entire existence. She eats, sleeps, and breathes in this room, confined to these hospital walls. This is not a life anyone deserves.

Dear Diary,

The year is 1926. The buildings are close to being completed this year. Work has been difficult, and my daughter has passed away. This was four months ago, shortly after my last entry. I have been volunteering with the rebuilding, keeping busy and working hard. I feel that my daughter would want me to carry forward, and to make her proud. I will persist, and I have decided to move to America in hopes to have a better life and to escape my decision of being a German soldier. I cannot and will not participate in that kind of violence again. I have decided that this will be my last entry to my diary. It is necessary that I get rid of this journal to truly be able to move forward with my life. To anyone who may discover this, thank you for reading my story. I wish I could have written more, but work on the city is difficult and time consuming. To future me, may your endeavors in life be successful, and may your family live well. And finally, to Germany. You have changed my life, but not for the best. I hope that you find peace, but should you continue on your ravaging path of violence and hatred, I would not be shocked. Goodbye.

Newspaper Primary Source

Created By
Kate Isbell


Created with images by seier+seier - "basilique saint-denis, the ambulatory of abbot suger's choir, 1140-1144." • Andrew Mason - "Smell the Air" • Elsie esq. - "Catalina flyby" • skeeze - "atomic bomb nuclear weapon fat man"

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