World war one –life in the trenches
When men volunteered to fight in world war one, on the Western front, little did they know about the conditions they would be living and fighting in the trenches, and for how long this would all go on for. The Great War lasted for four years even though many believed they would be home by Christmas 1914 on till 11/11/1918(today know better as remembrance day). (See source A) Even if the men did know about many of the conditions in the trench they would most likely have still joined as many were pressured by two ways to join. firstly by women as they would press little white feathers into their hand another way was they would walk past with a desecrated look in their faces as described by Rifleman Norman Demuth in source B (see source B) and secondly by propagandas(posters)see sources C,D and E for some examples. Even though the war lasted longer than expected the conditions didn’t get any better for soldiers as the shortage of food got worse, diseases became more common e.g. Trench foot (where your foot rotted off in your boot), more rats moved into the trenches, no way to remove toilet waste from the trenches and corpses lined many of the sides and floors of the trenches helping to spread disease. It got so bad in the trenches many solider turned to shooting themselves so they could be sent home and see their friend and family they had left behind. But if you were found guilty of a self-inflicted wound (SIW) in the British Army the ultimate penalty was capital (death by firing squad.)But 3,894 British soldiers were found guilty of SIW but none were executed but instead sent to prison for lengthy periods. Basic trench and layouts(see sources f and G)
The first job of any soldiers getting to the western front who wanted to survive the machine gun fire from the triple alliance (Germany, Austria-Hungary and Italy) was to dig down, making trenches. Frontline trenches were usually about seven foot deep and six foot wide....
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