This article addresses the impact of the architectural destructions of the Great War on heritage culture, proposing a literary approach in connexion with research from other disciplines in the humanities. Many contemporary authors reacted to the bombardment of cities, villages, and monuments, either in the press, or in personal testimonials, or even in works of fiction. The corpus of study brings together all these types of writing produced by professional writers during and immediately after the War, in English and French. An initial set of statements helps us to understand how the war changed the relationship to heritage that then prevailed in Europe. The author examines the specific nature of writers’ responses, looking at the literary devices underlying argumentative strategies in order to express the collective sentiment of loss and mourning. Once placed at the heart of destruction, writers who served in the War used ruins both as a symbol of universal chaos and as a paradigm of modern poetics.