‘Aw! What rot!‘ Australian War Memorial Blog, 10 May 2013
Working on material rejected for The Anzac Book, the author found a piece by a New Zealand soldier reflecting on the issue of cowardice under fire. She comments:
So often we only hear the story of the brave hero, after all, courage is intrinsically linked to the sense of patriotism and masculinity that is commonly employed in the rhetoric of war. We hear tales of fearless sacrifice and of strength during adversity but rarely of cowardice. However, I can’t help but ask the question: is it okay to be a coward?
After reading Fate the King Jester I began to think about the mental difficulties experienced by soldiers in the trenches, the pressure to live up to the heroic ideal, the anguish at the tasks they were asked to perform and demoralisation under the constant threat of death. I can only begin to imagine the level of psychological pain and misunderstanding that was faced.