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World War One

What was life like during World War One? What were the struggles? The living conditions? Well, the answers are right here!

Kaylee Warner

on 31 March 2015

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Transcript of World War One

The Trenches
Trenches were long and narrow ditches dug into the ground, soldiers lived there day and night.
There were often trenches from the Central powers dug up on one side, while Allies dug on the other; the land in between was owned by neither force, named “No Man’s Land,” and soldiers only crossed it when they were to attack.
They were often muddy and odorous, due to many dead bodies being buried nearby and latrines(or toilets) sometimes overflowing into them.
Disease And Illness
Trench Foot was another medical condition, it was fungal infection of the feet caused by cold, wet, and unsanitary trench conditions. It could turn gangrenous and result in amputation. As trench conditions improved, it rapidly faded, only a small trickle of cases continued throughout the war.
Rodents & Insects
The brown rats were most feared as they could survive on decaying remains of soldiers, disfiguring bodies by first eating the eyes. Many soldiers killed them with bayonets, gunfire, and clubbing, but it wasn’t enough to decrease the population as a pair of rats could produce up to 900 offspring a year.
Warfare Today
The same tactics used during World War II and the wars since are still used today, just with higher complexities. Instead of countries using all of their resources to win wars, they use complex tactics and strategies.
A day in the Trenches
World War One
5:00 am- Stand to Arms’ half an hour before daylight
Everyone, woken by the company orderly officer and sergeant, were ordered to climb up the fire step to guard against a dawn raid by the enemy
The policy was adopted by both sides, and despite both sides knowing that the other was prepared for raids at dawn, many were actually carried out at this time

6:00 am- Rum ration
After Stand-to, some areas issued out Rum to the men
They would then attend to their rifle equipment, followed by its inspection by officers

7:00 am- Breakfast (usually bacon and tea)
In every area of the line, at some time or another, each side would adopt an unofficial truce while breakfast was served and eaten
This Truce often extended to the wagons which delivered such sustenance
Despite senior officers trying to squash the custom, truces persisted throughout the war, especially in quieter sectors of the line
After 8:00 am- Clean themselves, clean weapons, tidy trench
After breakfast men would be inspected by either the company or platoon commander
After the cleanup and inspection, NCOs would assign daily chores to each man (ex. refilling sandbags, duckboard repair on the floor of the trench, draining of trenches, overall repairs)
Noon- Dinner

After Dinner- Sleep and Downtime
As each side’s front line was constantly under watch by snipers and look-outs during daylight, movement was logically restricted until nightfall.
Once men had finished their tasks, they were free to attend to more personal matters like writing letters home

5:00 pm- Tea
In some areas, like rum, tea was rationed out to men to keep them going

6:00 pm- ‘Stand To Arms’ half an hour before dusk
Again, men were ordered to Stand To Arms to guard against a surprise attack launched as light fell

6:30 pm onwards- ‘Stand Down’ half an hour after dusk
After ‘Stand To’ the trenches came alive with activity
Supply and maintenance activities could be undertaken, still dangerous as the enemy could be alert for such movement
Men would be sent to the rear lines to fetch rations and water while others were assigned sentry duty on the fire step, usually up to two hours, any longer and men risked falling asleep
Living Conditions
Soldiers lived amongst mud, rodents, insects, gunfire, and decaying comrades. Men were living outside for days or weeks on end, with limited shelter. Artillery and machine gun fire was a constant din, turning familiar landscape to rubble.
Despite all of this, soldiers spent long periods of time waiting, some sectors rarely facing true battle. Some quieter sectors even developed informal truces between sides. It was a grim living exerience for all who endured.
Soldiers looked forward to meals, tea and/or Rum rations, writing letters to loved ones, and card games with comrades. It wasn't much, however, it was enough to keep men pushing forward.
The trenches were filled with millions of rats and other creatures, tormenting the soldiers at work.
Lice were also a never-ending problem, only discovered as the problem in 1918. breeding in the seams of filthy clothing and causing itchiness. Despite clothing being periodically washed and deloused, eggs remained and would hatch from the body heat of the soldiers. Many men shaved their heads to avoid nits (lice eggs). Frogs were found in shell holes covered in water and in the base of trenches while slugs and horned beetles crowded the sides of trenches.
Poor living conditions caused a slew of illnesses, making trench life even more miserable. The worst cases of illness and disease were sent away from the trenches for recovery. This increased survival rates and shortened recovery times.
As a whole, an estimated 4,661,000 to 5,350,000 soldiers and civilians died due to malnutrition and disease in the war. This includes neutral countries.
Louse caused Trench Fever, a painful disease that began suddenly and
unexpected with severe pain followed by a high Fever. Recovery- away from the trenches- took up to twelve weeks
Trench Fever
Trench Foot
Battle Injuries
A boom of technological developments in the late 19th century made weaponry more effective, but also more damaging.
Common Advancements
The Armored Tank
The Armored Tank was one of the largest inventions during the War, and made the War more unpredictable. The first tank, the British Mark I, was designed in 1915 and first coming into combat at the Somme in September 1916.
Poison Gas
Poison Gas was first used by the Germans in 1915 when they fired high amounts chlorine gas against French colonial divisions near Ypres, Belgium. Over the course of the war both sides competed
for stronger gases that beat gas masks. This led to increased pain and misery and no military advantage on either side.
Mobile X-Ray Machines
The Anti-Aircraft
Military Air Traffic
and there was a huge need for the new X-ray machine. However, the bulk and delicacy of the new machines disabled mobility. In 1914 Marie Curie was able to create mobile X-ray stations for the French
military immediately after the outbreak of war. by October 1914, she had installed X-ray machines in several cars and small trucks which toured smaller surgical stations at the front.
Airplanes were used first by the Allied forces in 1913, giving them an advantage over the Central powers. Deflector plates on the the propeller in order to keep bullets from destroying it, bomb carriers, and machine guns were later added.
Richard Fiedler Created the Flamethrower in 1915, the weapon used first by the Germans to clear enemy soldiers from their front trenches. They first had a range of 25 meters but were later increased to 40 meters.
Millions of soldiers were suffering life-threatening injuries,
At the beginning of the war it became evident that rifles couldn't shoot an aircraft out of the sky. So the ant-aircraft was invented, first produced by the Germans in 1909- before the war.
In Britain an Anti-Aircraft Brigade was formed by the Royal Marine Artillery
Soldiers would go through severe injuries that often caused psychological trauma. Some men’s minds shattered to pieces, others recovered but never escaped the nightmares of war. Many had constant flashbacks and nightmares about the war,
Battle injuries became more grotesque with the new advancements in weapons. Bombings caused severe burns, often leaving permanent disfigurements, bullet wounds could collapse bone and tissue, others had amputated or blown off limbs.
Despite advancements in plastic surgery, many men chose to don custom made masks to hide the scars that surgery couldn't remove.
Shell Shock
Commonly Soldiers were left with “shell shock”, a severe emotional shock. brought by the many horrors that men heard while in the trenches. Soldiers would have to hear the screams of others in agony, and the thought of meeting the same fate.
forces are able to collapse the will and structures of societies. However, Civilian attacks have gone down considerably as time continues forward, giving hope of an overall moral high ground.
Attacks on Civilians has also come to play for some time. By killing off the workers that provide supplies, killing families, and causing both panic and misery,
Full-scale warfare could mean the end of the world due to how powerful inventions have become. Information technology has also enhanced the ability to both avoid and carry out attacks.
Militaries have also thought of measures to counteract the possible factors within operations and combined that with knowledge of the land and enemy to make operations more safe and successful.
As soon as nuclear weapons came in to play, wars became even more deadly.
My Opinion?
With all of the advancements in warfare, fighting has become more brutal, injuries more grotesque. In some ways people have stopped fighting dirty but in others they've just gotten more cruel.
Death was a constant to those serving in the trenches, whether or not an attack took place. Busy sectors were subjected to constant shellfire and brought random deaths, whether they were lounging in a trench or lying in a dugout.
Death During The War
Many men died on their first day in the trenches due to peering over the parapet of the trench to peek at No Man’s Land. It is estimated that 1/3 of Allied casualties on the Western Front were actually sustained in the trenches, disease or enemy injuries.
Works Cited
All Images found in Google
have gone up. Many people are much less sympathetic about certain things today. What the future will be like is a scary concept to ponder.
Society has been desensitized to war and violence in a way. TV shows and Movies have become darker and more grotesque to keep things interesting, murders and street crime
Full transcript