War Horse is a novel by Michael Morpurgo first published in 1982, which was later adapted into a play and film. The story follows the life of a horse named Joey and his owner Albert Narracott, from their lives in Devon in the early 1900s through World War I. The novel has been praised for its portrayal of war and the relationship between Joey and Albert. But how much of War Horse is true?
In this article, we will explore the historical accuracy of War Horse, from the events of World War I to the portrayal of animals in the war effort. We’ll look at the ways in which the novel and film may differ from actual events and discuss how much of the story is based on true events.
Background to War Horse
The story of War Horse is set in the early 1900s, a time when horses were a common form of transportation. Horses were also used extensively in the military, with some estimates suggesting that up to one million horses were used by the British Army during World War I.
The novel follows the story of a horse named Joey and his owner Albert Narracott, as they are drawn into World War I. The novel is written from the perspective of both Joey and Albert, and follows their journey through the events of the war.
Historical Accuracy of War Horse
The First World War was a devastating conflict for both humans and animals, and the novel does a good job of portraying this. The novel accurately depicts the use of horses in the war effort, as well as the harsh conditions in which they were kept.
However, the novel is not completely historically accurate. For example, the novel does not account for the use of tanks and other new technologies in the war, which had a huge impact on the course of the conflict.
The Use of Animals in the War
One of the most accurate aspects of War Horse is its portrayal of the use of animals in the war. Horses, dogs, pigeons and even camels were used extensively in World War I, and the novel does a good job of showing the harsh conditions in which these animals were kept.
The novel also accurately portrays the way in which animals were treated by the military, particularly in terms of the number of animals killed in battle. The novel also shows the bravery of animals, such as Joey, who willingly put themselves in harm’s way in order to save their owners.
The Relationship Between Joey and Albert
The relationship between Joey and Albert is one of the most significant aspects of the novel and film. The novel portrays their bond in a very positive light, and it is clear that Joey is deeply loyal to Albert.
However, the novel does not accurately portray the relationship between horses and their owners in World War I. In reality, many horses were treated very poorly, and the relationship between them and their owners was often strained.
The Battle of Somme
The Battle of Somme is one of the most significant battles of the war, and is featured prominently in the novel and film. The novel portrays the battle accurately, with Joey and Albert being caught up in the conflict.
However, the novel does not accurately portray the events of the battle. For example, the novel does not mention the use of tanks, which had a major impact on the course of the battle.
The Effects of War on People
The novel does an excellent job of portraying the effects of war on people, particularly in terms of the psychological trauma experienced by soldiers. The novel also shows the harsh realities of life for civilians, such as the poverty experienced by Albert’s family.
However, the novel does not accurately portray the effects of war on animals. While the novel does show the harsh conditions in which animals were kept, it does not accurately portray the suffering they endured.
War Horse is an excellent novel and film, and it does a good job of portraying the events of World War I. The novel is mostly historically accurate, with the depiction of the use of animals in the war being particularly accurate.
However, the novel is not completely historically accurate, as it does not account for the use of tanks and other new technologies. It also does not accurately portray the effects of war on animals, as it does not show the suffering they endured.
Overall, War Horse is a very well-crafted novel and film, and is a great way to learn about the events of the First World War.