Well, there I was, listening to The X Factor, when I heard the lyrics on The Aftermath. I haven't thought about them much at all. I think they deserve a closer look. To me they seem to be talking about almost the same event as Paschendale. Upon listening to the lyrics, one could almost be seen as a continuation as the other. "In the mud and rain" "In the smoke, in the mud and lead"... "Where mustard gas and barb wire bloom" "Lifeless bodies hang on barbed wire." As well, as we all know, Paschendale is the first battle where mustard gas was used. Obviously The Aftermath is about the war being over. I believe it to be about the end of the First World War. The line "Silently to silence fall in the fields of futile war". As Maverick has pointed out in his amazing commentary on Paschendale, World War One was the most futile war in history, both for the reasons behind it and the offensives within. Paschendale is the height of that futility. Men who were in the Western Front at the end of World War One have recalled the sudden silence that fell at 11:00 AM (The eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month) felt supernatural. When the guns ceased firing, guns that had been firing for four years and two months, men who lived through the carnage must have been awestrucked at how quiet it could be. As well, the war did not spurt out in most places. Usually the guns simply stopped shooting. There was no real warning that it was over until that surreal quiet occured. "War horse and war machine curse the name of liberty/Marching on as if they should mix in the dirt our brothers' blood" The values of nationalism and fraternity that united various countries during the late 19th and early 20th Centuries. Conscription, that is universal service in the armed forces, brought people of all social classes together in a manner they had never been united before. It was said about the British army before the Boer War: "Cook's son, Duke's son, son of a belted Earl". Before European nations had been rent internally by social divides. Now a Frenchman, German, or Briton would see all people of the same nationality as his brother in arms. The reference to liberty may talk about the three values of the French Revolution, Liberty, Fraternity, and Equality. I apologize for not putting them into French, but my French is, well, bad. It might also refer to the fact that the war machine, the apparatus used by the various Generals, now control the soldier's life. In WW1, certain generals (Haig, French, Nivelle, Falkenhayen) were notorious for their disdain for the lives of their men. "Once a ploughman hitched his team, here he sowed his little dream/Now bodies arms and legs are strewn, where mustard gas and barb wire bloom" This refers to the fact that the Western Front, that massive nation-long siege, wound its way through rural France and Belgium, destroying the livelyhood of thousands of small farmers. To this day men and women farming those fields uncover relics of WW1: unexploded bombs (Belgium has a special government department who's job it is to safeguard these), rifles, helmets, even human corpses. The latter are prevalent in the area of Paschendale where so many bodies were sucked into the mud. This brings me to the chorus: "In the mud and rain, what are we fighting for/Is it worth the pain, is it worth dying for?" Simply explained with the notorious muddy fields of the Western Front and the futility of trench warfare. "Who will take the blame, why did they make a war/Questions that come again, should we be fighting at all?" I believe this song is about a German soldier who survived WW1. Dispirited by the loss of his proud nation and the death of so many comrades, he's questioning the rationale of the war. "Who will take the blame" must refer to the infamous clause of the Treaty of Versailles that places all the blame for the Great War onto Germany. As we all know, the First World War began for a myriad of reasons, which I don't want to get into here. Marshal Foch, Supreme Allied Commander in WW1, said this about the Treaty of Versailles: "This is not a peace treaty. It is an armistice for 20 years." He was proven prophetic by the outbreak of World War Two in 1939, 20 years after Versailles was signed. "Questions that come again" at the end of WW2: How could our leadership take us into such death and destruction? Should we be fighting at all? Once again referring to the outbreak of WW1, in which Germany supported the aggressor, Austria-Hungary. Why should Germany have helped Austria? Why should anyone have cared? Why must we murder ourselves?