Why did men continue to fight in WWI?
The Great War was fought between 1914 until 1918. It took the lives of millions of men and it is said to have had horrible conditions, the question still remains. Why did men continue to fight in the Great War? Was it because of their discipline in the army? Did they fight because of their friends in the army? Or were the conditions in the trenches not as bad as people say they were? This essay will argue that, even though all of these reasons were very important, the main reason men continued to fight was army discipline and comradeship.
Army discipline was definitely an important factor for why men continued to fight. The army aimed to keep soldiers as disciplined as possible, therefore they made severe punishments for misbehaviour. For example, if soldiers refused to walk through "no mans land" the punishment would be to be shot by a firing squad, the firing squad would be your own battalion. This would be done to increase the discipline of the rest of the battalion. They knew that if they were to disobey orders their friends and comrades would shoot them. However, around five million men served in the British army during the war; out of all these men, 3080 men were sentenced to death but only 364 were actually executed. This evidence suggests that perhaps army discipline was not the most important factor, however, 364 men might have scared most men enough to not disobey orders.
The conditions of the trenches were said to be horrific and devastating, however the British army had very high standards of cleanliness and they were aware of what the soldiers needed to keep on fighting. They aimed to keep morale as high as possible and therefore provided more than sufficient amount of food, very good medical care, and tried to generally make the soldiers’ living conditions better. Efforts were made to keep the trenches cleaner; for example, rats were a big issue at the beginning of the war but as the war progressed,...
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