Meaning of “Fields of Verdun” by Sabaton
As with the rest of the album it is featured on, “Fields of Verdun” is based on an actual historical event which occurred during World War I (1914-1918). In this particular case it is the Battle of Verdun, an encounter which took place in northeastern France between the French and German armies. The Battle of Verdun lasted for a grueling 10 months and thus holds the distinction of being the longest singular fight which occurred during World War I.
Thus it is Sabaton’s goal to capture the intensity and devastation experienced during those “303 days”. And they do a good job of highlighting additional points beyond its duration. For instance, they mention that “a million shells were fired”, which is a round figure since the number was actually higher than that. Such an offensive of course devastated the landscape, or as Sabaton puts it “the green fields turned to grey”. They also offer some criticism of the battle by insinuating that the soldiers involved blindly gave their lives without actually knowing what they were dying for.
While this song never forthrightly states sympathy for those who died on the “fields of Verdun” nor outright dread for the environmental destruction caused by that conflict, it appears that such a disposition is where Sabaton is coming from. In other words, the purpose of this track seems to be to memorialize the nearly one-million casualties of the Battle of Verdun and enlighten the listener to the horrors of war.
Facts about “Fields of Verdun”
- This track is featured on Sabaton’s 2019 album, The Great War.
- Sabaton chose “Fields of Verdun” to be the lead single of the album as they felt it “represented the album perfectly”, as in the Battle of Verdun epitomizes World War I. As such, they have decided to actually debut The Great War in the relatively-small city of Verdun, France.
- “Fields of Verdun” was officially released by Nuclear Blast Records on 3 May 2019. It was The Great War‘s first single. A month later, the band released “The Red Baron” as the album’s second single.
- Finnish rock band Apocalyptica did a cover of “Fields of Verdun”, which Sabaton endorsed.
- This song was written by Thorbjörn Englund alongside Sabaton members Par Sundström and frontman Joakim Brodén.