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Trench Warfare IB 20 th Century Topics. Trench Warfare  Both sides on the Western front dug themselves in, ending any possible chance of a quick war;

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Presentation on theme: "Trench Warfare IB 20 th Century Topics. Trench Warfare  Both sides on the Western front dug themselves in, ending any possible chance of a quick war;"— Presentation transcript:

1 Trench Warfare IB 20 th Century Topics

2 Trench Warfare  Both sides on the Western front dug themselves in, ending any possible chance of a quick war;  this caused a stalemate, which was to last for most of the war. Over 200,000 men died in the trenches of WW1, most of whom died in battle, but many died from disease and infections brought on by the unsanitary conditions.  Because of Trench Warfare, WWI is the bloodiest war in History.

3 Trench System

4 Frontline Trench Cross- Section


6 No Man’s Land  The space between the trenches was called "No-man's Land" because it did not belong to either side.  It was a horrible sight with dead bodies stuck in the barbed wire, broken trees and big holes caused by explosions.



9 Life in the trenches  The first thing a new recruit would notice on the way to the Frontline was the smell, rotting bodies in shallow graves, men who hadn't washed in weeks because there were no facilities, overflowing cess pits.  The lingering odor of poison gas, rotting sandbags, stagnant mud, cigarette smoke, and cooking food.


11 Rats  Rats were a constant companion in the trenches in their millions they were everywhere, gorging themselves on human remains (grotesquely disfiguring them by eating their eyes and liver) they could grow to the size of a cat.


13 Rats  Men tried to kill them with bullets, shovels or anything else they had at hand, but they were fighting a losing battle as only 1 pair of rats can produce 900 offspring in a year.  Some soldiers believed that the rats knew when there was going to be a heavy bombardment from the enemy lines because they always seemed to disappear minutes before an attack

14 Lice  Lice were a constant problem for the men  They bred in dirty clothing  they were impossible to get rid of even when clothes were washed and deloused because there would be eggs that would escape the treatment in the seams of the clothes.  Lice caused Trench Fever, a particularly painful disease that began suddenly with severe pain followed by high fever.  Recovery - away from the trenches - took up to twelve weeks.  It was not discovered that lice were the cause of trench fever though until 1918

15 Trench foot  The cold wet and unsanitary conditions were also to cause trench foot amongst the soldiers, a fungal infection, which could turn gangrenous and result in amputation.  Trench Foot was more of a problem at the start of trench warfare; as conditions improved in 1915, it rapidly faded, although a trickle of cases continued throughout the war.



18 Shell Shock  Between 1914 and 1918 the British Army identified 80,000 men (2% of those who saw active service) as suffering from shell-shock.  Early symptoms included tiredness, irritability, giddiness, lack of concentration and headaches.  Eventually the men suffered mental breakdowns making it impossible for them to remain in the front-line.  Some came to the conclusion that the soldiers condition was caused by the enemy's heavy artillery. These doctors argued that a bursting shell creates a vacuum, and when the air rushes into this vacuum it disturbs the cerebro-spinal fluid and this can upset the working of the brain.



21 A Day in the Trench: Morning  There was a daily routine in the trenches.  It started 1 hour before dawn with the morning "stand to" the men were roused from sleep and sent to the "fire step", with bayonets fixed to their rifles to be on guard for a dawn raid by the enemy  Many raids were carried out at dawn by both sides although it was common knowledge that the opposing armies were both preparing to deal with them.


23 A Day in the Trench: the morning hate  As the first light of day approached machineguns, shells, and even handguns would be fired toward the enemy trenches.  Some people said that this was to test the weaponry.  Whatever the reason the first hour of the soldier's day became known, as "The morning hate."


25 A day in the Trenches: breakfast  Then it was time for breakfast, unofficially breakfast time was a time of truce between both sides, both sides respected this truce for most of the time  After breakfast the soldiers would do daily chores, each man would be given a specific chore.  Daily chores included the refilling of sandbags, the repair of the duckboards on the floor of the trench and the draining of trenches, repairing the trenches


27 A Day in the Trench: Daytime  During the rest of the day movement was restricted in the trenches  Soldiers used this time to catch up on some much needed sleep, write letters home

28 Extract from "Death of a hero" by Richard Adlington (1892-1962) The days passed into weeks, the weeks into months. He moved through impressions like a man hallucinated. And every incident seemed to beat on his brain Death, Death, Death. All the decay and death of battlefields entered his blood and seemed to poison him. He lived among smashed bodies and human remains in an infernal cemetery. If he scratched his stick idly and nervously in the side of a trench, he pulled out human ribs. He ordered a new latrine to be dug out from the trench, and three times the digging had to be abandoned because they came upon terrible black masses of decomposing bodies. 

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