Written from the perspective of a soldier's ghost, this song chronicles World War I, known at the time as "The Great War." Spurred by imperialism, militarism, alliances, nationalism and finally the assassination of Franz Ferdinand, conflict in the European states escalated into the first World War. Propaganda became ubiquitous as men were sent to the trenches and women to the factories. New weaponry like poisonous gasses and machine guns changed warfare. The war finally ended with the Treat of Versailles.