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The Hand The Signed the Paper - Dylan Thomas

            Published in 1936, the poem "˜The Hand That Signed the Paper," was written in 1933 by British poet Dylan Thomas. It was a time when the political and social attitudes led to Germany's rapid reorganization towards Nazism. Dylan Thomas had learned a lesson from the 37 million casualties in WWI (wikipedia). Instead of simply mourning the casualties in the war, Thomas notices that a society with stable economics and clear power separation does not start a war and predicted the coming World War II.
             Even though the exact starting reasons differed, economic factors are behind both World War I and II. It is not hard to see the economic collapse is Germany through Thomas' usage of metaphor and metonymy in the poem. Thomas metonymically links kings and fingers to nations at war; the titular hand is linked to the convention at Versailles of Britain, France, Italy, Japan and the United States (Randolph). With ample examples illustrating the cruelty of wars started by kings who did not recognize the consequence of the wars, Thomas deliberately flows the poem just as a war goes, through: battle, treaty, effect and history. In the first stanza about battle, Five sovereign fingers taxed the breath. Doubled the globe of dead and halved a country''(2-3) modifies the concept of hands as they have political and authoritative power, with which the hands start the wars in which flesh and blood are flying in all. Besides, ˜These five kings did a king to death'' hints that the 5 kings, as five nations of Versailles, have dug their own tombs ironically, which later is proved to be WWII. How did these five countries dig their own tomb? By "taxing the breath''(2); in other words, by suffocating German people. In the second stanza of treaty, ˜A goose's quill has put an end to murder. That put an end to talk''(7-8) could be a reference to the war ending the freedom of speech and being a result of the failure of diplomacy in Germany.

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