Prose & Poetry - August Stramm

August Stramm August Stramm (1874-1915), the expressionist poet and dramatist, served with the German Army during the First World War and was killed in action while serving on the Eastern Front in September 1915.

Born in Cathedrals the son of a civil servant Stramm's early career saw him work for the German Post Office Ministry.  Having married in 1902 Stramm served his mandatory year's service with the German Army in 1896-97.

Based in Bremen Stramm travelled to the U.S. several times during the period 1897-1900 before eventually settling in Berlin in 1905 where he studied political economy.  During 1912-13 Stramm wrote two plays, Sancta Susanna and Die Haidebraut, the first of many to appear before the outbreak of war in 1914.

In 1914 he struck up a friendship with Herwarth Walden, with whom he established the Expressionist journal Der Sturm in which his first poems were published.

A reservist with the pre-war German Army Strumm attained the highest rank open to a civilian, that of Captain.  When war broke out in August 1914 he was promptly called up for active service, initially being posted to France (serving in Alsace and on the Somme in 1915) before being sent to the Eastern Front in April 1915 for the Galician campaign.  Earlier in January 1915 Stramm was awarded the Iron Cross (Second Class).

Acting as both Company Leader and, latterly, Battalion Commander and taking part in some 70 actions in all, Stramm was killed during hand-to-hand fighting - shot through the head - on 1 September 1915 at Horodec.

His colleague Herwarth Walden edited a posthumous collection of Stramm's poems which he published in 1919 as Dripping Blood.

War grave

Staffs flehen cross arms
Writing zagt pale unknown
Flowers impudent
Dust shyly.


Hoist applaud.
Your laughter blows.
Seize a seizing
Bellow ferrules

The German word "U-Boat" was derived from "Unterseeboot" (undersea boat).

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Prose & Poetry