Both Robert Graves and Ernst Junger portrayed the life of a WWI soldier and captured the devastation of the Great War in their memoirs Goodbye to All That and Storm of Steel, respectively. The two memoirs are similar because they both portray the average soldier's life in the trenches and on the battlefield, and both men acknowledged and expressed in detail the horrors of the war. However, Graves focused more on his and his comrades' feelings and emotions, while Jnger concentrated more on the war effort itself and less on how it affected the morale or attitude of the men fighting. Graves's account of the war is more poetic and offers a broader perspective on the war, while Jnger is straightforward in style and just tells his war experiences without lengthy reflections or commentary.
A major difference between the two men was their different attitudes toward the war when it first started. In the beginning of his memoir, Jnger wrote that he and his fellow soldiers had "grown up in an age of security, we shared a yearning for danger, for the experience of the extraordinary. We were enraptured by war. We had set out in a rain of flowers, in a drunken atmosphere of blood and roses. Surely the war had to supply us with what we wanted; the great, the overwhelming, the hallowed experience." (Jnger, pp. 5). Jnger was excited about the war and saw it as an adventure to escape the boredom of his middle-class upbringing. This differs greatly from Graves's attitude, who enlisted in the hopes of a short war where he would not have to fight much or risk his life. "I hoped that it might last long enough to delay my going to Oxford in October, which I dreaded. Nor did I work out the possibilities of getting actively engaged in the fighting, expecting garrison service at home, while the regular forces were away." (Graves, pp. 67). Graves, like Jnger, wanted to escape his unfulfilling life, but he felt no excitement or need to fight. He wasn't looking for a great adventure or a "hallowed experience" like Jnger; he hoped to delay his dreaded schooling for a short time by serving in the military and staying in England, away from the danger and destruction of the war.
A reason for this difference in attitudes is the home country and upbringing of the two men. Jnger was born and raised in Germany, a country that was unified by war and had a war-like culture in its society. So, it was natural that the young German man was eager to fight since it was the culture in which he was raised. On the other hand, Graves was raised by devout Christians who had high morality and were most likely not obsessed with war. He and his siblings "learned to be strong moralists and spent much of our time on self-examination and good resolutions." (Graves, pp. 13). Growing up in an intellectual and Christian solid household is why Graves was not as eager for war as Jnger and why he viewed the war in a very negative way.
Despite being on opposite sides of the conflict, Graves...