9 February 2014
World War 1: Trench Warfare
World war 1 was the extremely bloody war that swallows up the Europe from 1914-1919. “In late June 1914, Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria was assassinated by a Serbian nationalist in Sarajevo, Bosnia that was one of the reason, which rose the tension between Austria and Serbia” (modern world history 410). But the three main reasons, which lead to World War 1, were: rise of nationalism, imperialism and militarism. According to pattern of interaction “Due to the huge loss of life’s and lands German officers gave order to dig trenches so that they can fight and gain land at the same time” (412). Throughout the First World War the soldiers had to endure many cruelties in the trenches to survive and to fight against their enemy. Late in 1914 nations started taking the help of the other nation to fight and gain the territories of other country. Therefore two groups were formed which were central powers (Germany, Austria-Hungary and ottoman empire) and allied powers (Russia, France, Great Britain, Italy and later joined by the united states). In late summer 1914 in Modern World History Sir Edward Grey stated, “The lamps are going out all of the Europe” (411). During the World War 1 Germany decided to fight the war on two fronts, on western front the eastern front. Due to defeat of Germans, and loss of soldiers in large number Germans left their plan and started digging the trenches. According to history1990s.com “the main purpose of trenches was to defend the position and attack the enemy at the same time”. Due the building of trenches the forward moving strategies such as head-on infantry attacks were no longer effective against modern weapons like machine guns. According to history.com “early trenches were little more than foxholes (4 or 5 feet vertically and 2 feet horizontally)”. As the stalemate continued, however, it became obvious that more elaborate system was needed, so they completed first major trench line November in 1914. In book named modern world history “by the end of the year they stretched 475 miles of trenches, starting at the North Sea, running through Belgium and northern France, and ending in the Swiss frontier” ( 413). All the trenches were built according to the same basic design. According to firstworldwar.com “the front wall of the trench, known as the parapet, was built of ten feet high, lined with sandbags from top to bottom, the front wall also featured two to three feet of sandbags stacked above ground level”. The sandbags helped to obscure a soldier’s view. “A ledge also known as the fire steps were also built into the lower part of ditches which allows a soldier to step up and see over the top through a peephole which is between sandbags when ever he was ready to fire his weapon” (history1990s.com). According to the British guidelines it took 450 men approximately 6 hours to dig 275 yards of front line trench. According to modern world history “the trenches were dug in the zigzag pattern so that if an enemy entered the trench he could not fire straight down the line” (413). But these trenches were like a nightmare. Due to rainfall each soldier have to face many problems, which make these trenches like a nightmare for soldier. Whenever rainfall occurs the walls of trenches get collapsed. Due to rainfall in book modern world history it was being told that “trenches get flooded as high as a man’s waist, rifles get jammed and soldier fell victim to the much-dreaded “Trench Foot”(a painful condition of the foot caused by long immersion in water)” (413). But Heavy rains were not sufficient to wash away the filth and foul odor of human waste and decaying corpses. Not only this unsanitary condition contributed to the spread of diseases, they also attracted an enemy despised by both sides, the lowly rats. Article on site worldwar.com says “the multitudes of rats shared the trenches with soldiers and, even more horrifying. Soldiers shot out of disgust and frustration, but the rats continued to multiply and thrived for the duration of the war”. These were not only the problems soldiers had to face there were many more. In modern world history one soldier wrote that “the men slept in mud, washed in mud, ate mud, and dreamed mud, fresh food was non-existent and sleep was impossible (413). Another great problem in the trenches was of night raids and night patrols. “At night small group of men crawled out of the trenches and inched their way into no man’s land. Moving forward on elbows and knees toward the German trenches. Once the men reached the other side, their goal was to get close enough to gather information by detecting activity in advance of an attack” (history.com). Raiding parties were much larger than patrols. They, too, made their way to the German trenches but the members of the raiding parties armed themselves with rifles, knives and hand grenades. According to dianaoverbuy.wordpress.com “daily routines in trenches varied among the different regions, nationalities, and individual platoons, but the groups shared many similarities”. Soldiers were regularly rotated through a basic sequence: fighting in the front lines, followed by a period of time in the reserve or support line, then later, a brief rest period. Once the cycle was completed, it would begin anew. The relative quiet of the daylight hours allowed men to discharge their assigned duties during the day. To build trenches was not a good decision as the government official thought, however Daniels, patricia writer of history1990s.com told that “it brings 200,000 soldiers life to end”. According to book modern world history “on November 11, 1918 armistice (an agreement to stop fighting) was signed between central and allied powers to stop fighting and Germany declared itself a republic” (421). In many ways World War 1 was a kind of a great war. It involved the use of new technologies and left behind a landscape of death and destruction such as was never before seen. Both sides paid a great tremendous price in terms of human life. Those who returned home was never the same as when they went for the way, weather their wounds were physical or emotionally damaged. It can be said that soldiers who lived in the trenches were fighting a war on two levels, or perhaps two different kinds of wars. In addition to their main mission against a common enemy, soldiers in trenches had to fight daily against diseases, rats, lack of sanitation and other problems which seemed to manifest more severely in trenches than they did elsewhere. The idea to save to the life of soldiers brings more life to end. Work cited
Beck, Roger B, Linda Black, Larry S. Krieger, Phillip C. Naylor and Dahia Lbo Shabaka.”The Great War.” Modern world history: Patterns of interactions. California ed. Evanston, IL: McDougal Littell (2005) : 407-27. Print. Daniels, Patricia. “Trenches in world war I.”history1900sabout.com. Contributing writer, n.d., Web. 10 February 2014. Duffy, Michael. “Life in Trenches.” Firstworldwar.com.N.P., 22 August 2009. Web. 26 Feb 2014. Overbey, Diana. “Tag Archives: World War Trenches.” Diana overbuy.wordpress.com. n.p., 12 January 2012. Web. 10 February 2014. .“World War 1.” History.com. A&E Television Networks. n.d., Web. 10 February 2014.