While the first two sheets in the series stand for the attitude of people at the beginning and the first few years of the war, the following three folios show people that the war has left behind – parents mourning their sons, and women who have become war windows.
The third sheet »The Parents« went through a series of major changes during the work on the series. In an earlier version, Käthe Kollwitz showed the couple sitting next to each other in reference to a wood sculpture by Barlach. She eventually decided to create a composition in which the parents support each other in their grief. She merged the figures to create a block-like group with one single expressive posture.
When the series was almost finished in November/December 1922, Käthe Kollwitz reworked this sheet once more: »At the moment I find it quite poor – much too light and hard and clear.« (Käthe Kollwitz, Diaries, 13 December 1922)
The final version is indeed darker and contains much fewer internal detail drawings.
Käthe Kollwitz, The Parents, rejected second version of sheet 3 in the series »War«, 1919, crayon lithograph (transfer), Kn 142 a
Käthe Kollwitz, The Parents, rejected third version of sheet 3 in the series »War«, 1920, crayon lithograph (transfer), Kn 149