"It was like an enormous machine that had got hold of you. You’d no sense of acting of your own free will, and at the same time no notion of trying to resist. If people didn’t have some such feeling as that, no war could last three months. The armies would just pack up and go home. Why had I joined the Army? Or the million other idiots who joined up before conscription came in? Partly for a lark and partly because of England my England and Britons never never and all that stuff. But how long did that last? Most of the chaps I knew had forgotten all about it long before they got as far as France. The men in the trenches weren’t patriotic, didn’t hate the Kaiser, didn’t care a damn about gallant little Belgium and the Germans raping nuns on tables (it was always ‘on tables’, as though that made it worse) in the streets of Brussels. On the other hand it didn’t occur to them to try and escape. The machine had got hold of you and it could do what it liked with you. It lifted you up and dumped you down among places and things you’d never dreamed of, and if it had dumped you down on the surface of the moon it wouldn’t have seemed particularly strange."
George Orwell, Coming Up for Air (1939)