After our discussion in class last week, I have taken another stab at my focus statement and have attempted to turn it into an argument:
Dogs boosted civilian morale during WWI because they were portrayed to the public as heroes. This can be surmised from the widely available published reports of dogs that saved soldiers’ lives, served as mascots, and risked their lives to deliver messages on the war front.
Or a bit more developed:
By examining contemporary training manuals, photographs, and newspaper and magazine articles between 1914 and 1920, this paper will uncover the means by which dogs boosted civilian morale and represented a less terrifying depiction of the fighting front. This paper will argue that dogs played a critical role in World War I, both as partners of humans on the battlefield and as symbols of the heroism and sacrifice the war demanded. Indeed, dogs not only transformed the war experience for individual soldiers but also contributed greatly to the overall war effort. Furthermore, dogs served as a reminder for those on the home front that every contribution helped, no matter how small or seemingly trivial and that soldiers were not alone in the trenches. What will result is insight into one type of war hero that has been all but forgotten in modern times and whose contributions during World War I should no longer be overlooked.