Ashtray with patriotic slogan, around 1914

Alsfeld goes to war!Commemoration: Outbreak of the First World War

The nationalist mood was also heated up in Alsfeld. War and heroic deaths for the “fatherland” were celebrated with much pathos in commemorative pamphlets and other events such as summer war festivals. The victory of 1870/71 in particular was exploited in the history of remembrance and garnished with Teutonic pomp and howls of triumph, as a commemorative pamphlet by the Alsfelder Kriegerverein from 1906 shows: “And when the wild flames of battle escaped from the wicked hand.

There we stood united: One people, one heart, one fatherland.” Church representatives, teachers and other town authorities loyal to the Kaiser covered the Alsfeld public with patriotic speeches.

The first soldiers said goodbye to their families in early August 1914, and already on August 22, the first five young men from Alsfeld died in machine gun fire in the Ardennes. The entire civilian life was subordinated to military purposes, train traffic and trade were restricted.

People looked for new business in the trade of military boots, soldiers’ and protective clothing, or sent so-called “love gifts” such as warm underwear, soap or bandages. War volunteers such as Karl Wallach became convinced war
After their experience at the front, war volunteers like Karl Wallach became convinced opponents of the war, and obituaries referring to the “heroic death” offered dubious comfort.

Even if the number of Alsfeld’s war victims cannot be determined exactly, their absence created a large gap in the town’s society. SR