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To do today: . Examine WWI weapons Videos- Charlie Chaplin!  Activities PowerPoint First hand testimony. Warm Up: February 20 th /21 st. What were the four main causes of World War I? How was WWI different than past wars? . Activity: .

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To do today

To do today:

  • Examine WWI weapons

  • Videos- Charlie Chaplin! 

  • Activities

  • PowerPoint

  • First hand testimony

Warm up february 20 th 21 st

Warm Up: February 20th/21st

  • What were the four main causes of World War I?

  • How was WWI different than past wars?



  • Read the first hand account of Archduke Franz Ferdinand's assassination and answer the questions

  • We will look at a few questions together, but not all of them

New weapons

New Weapons

New weapons contribute to the stalemate

New weapons contribute to the stalemate.



  • The Zeppelin, also known as blimp was an airship that was used during the early part of the war in bombing raids by the Germans. They carried machine guns and bombs.

  • However, they were abandoned because they were easy to shoot out of the sky.



  • Planes were also used for the first time.

  • At first they were used to deliver bombs and for spying work but became fighter aircraft armed with machine guns, bombs and some times cannons.

  • Fights between two planes in the sky became known as ‘dogfights

Submarines u boats

Submarines - U-Boats

  • Torpedoes were used by submarines.

  • The Germans used torpedoes to blow up ships carrying supplies from America to Britain.



  • The main weapon used by British soldiers in the trenches was the bolt-action rifle.

  • 15 rounds could be fired in a minute and a person 1,400 meters away could be killed.

Machine gun

Machine Gun

  • Machine guns, usually positioned on a flat tripod, would require a gun crew of four to six operators. They had the fire-power of 100 guns.

  • The 1914 machine gun, in theory, could fire 400-600 small-caliber rounds per minute, a figure that was to more than double by the war's end, with rounds fed via a fabric belt or a metal strip.

Machine gun1

Machine Gun

Poison gas

Poison Gas

  • The German army were the first to use chlorine gas at the battle of Ypres in 1915.

  • Chlorine gas causes a burning sensation in the throat and chest pains.

  • Death is painful – you suffocate!

  • The problem with chlorine gas is that the weather must be right. If the wind is in the wrong direction it could end up killing your own troops rather than the enemy.

  • Invented by a Jew….ironically.

Poison gas1

Poison Gas

  • Mustard Gas

  • Mustard gas was the most deadly weapon used.

  • It was fired into the trenches in shells.

  • It is colorless and takes 12 hours to take effect.

  • Effects include – blistering skin, vomiting, sore eyes, internal and external bleeding.

  • Death can take up to 5 weeks.

Poison gas mustard gas effects

Poison Gas- Mustard Gas effects



  • Tanks were used for the first time in the First World War at the Battle of the Somme.

  • They were developed to cope with the conditions on the Western Front.

  • The first tank was called ‘Little Willie’ and needed a crew of 3. Its maximum speed was 3mph and it could not cross trenches

  • The more modern tank was not developed until just before the end of the war.

  • It could carry 10 men, had a revolving turret and could reach 4 mph



  • By the time the war drew to a close the British, the first to use them, had produced some 2,636 tanks.

  • The French produced rather more, 3,870.

  • The Germans never convinced of its merits, and despite their record for technological innovation, produced just 20.

Flame throwers


  • The basic idea of a flame-thrower is to spread fire by launching burning fuel.

  • The earliest flame-throwers date as far back as the 5th century B.C.

  • These took the form of lengthy tubes filled with burning solids (such as coal or sulfur), and which were used in the same way as blow-guns: by blowing into one end of the tube the solid material inside would be propelled towards the operator's enemies.



  • Grenades - either hand or rifle driven - were detonated in one of two ways. They were either detonated on impact (percussion) or via a timed fuse.

Over the top

Trench Warfare

“Over the Top!”

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  • It reached peak brutality and bloodshed on the Western Front in the First World War.

Over the top1

“Over the Top”

  • A new type of warfare known as “Trench warfare” began.

  • Battles began with massive artillery barrages

  • Soldiers went “over the top” of the trenches and charged into no man’s land and were killed by machine gun fire.

  • Both sides used 19th century tactics with 20th Century weapons.

Life in the trenches

Life in the Trenches.

  • Soldiers were plagued by rats and lice.

  • Rain flooded trenches.

  • Dead left unburied for days.

  • Unsanitary.

  • Just as many died from disease in the trenches as from battle .

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What did they look like?

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Soldier on sentry duty

Barbed wire

Timber bridge over top of trench

No Mans’ Land

Helmet, uniform and rifle are British

Timber holding up back of trench.

Capes used as cover

No sandbags.

Trench may be damaged

Bottom of trench is dry. It could be summer.

Are these soldiers asleep or dead?

This photograph does not looked posed as the soldier seems unaware of the camera. It is probably a reliable source.

Water cans.

Bird s eye view

Bird’s Eye View

Zig-zagged pattern



What fighting in it looked like

What fighting in it looked like


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Why the zig-zagged pattern?

It prevented the enemy from being able to shoot down the length of the entire trench

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This meant that a soldier could see no more than 10 meters along the length of the trench.

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Why barbed wire?

It was difficult to cut, and shelling it would only make it more entangled, providing an extra barrier from attack.

Trench cross section

Trench Cross-Section

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Why “duckboards” & a drainage sump?

It reinforced the stability of the walls, and allowed for drainage of rainwater, blood, and other body fluids…

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Why sandbags?

They protected soldiers from bullets and shrapnel

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Why were trenches necessary in World War I ?

Vickers machine gun

Vickers Machine Gun

This new and powerful weapon could “mow down” soldiers trying to attack

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Machine guns needed 4-6 men to work them and had the fire power of 100 guns

Gas attacks

Gas Attacks

Chlorine and Mustard gas would slow down attackers, causing burns and suffocation

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Blind Alleys

These led nowhere and were built to confuse and slow down the enemy

Underground saps

Underground “Saps”

These tunnels were dug under enemy trenches so that explosives could be placed under them and detonated

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attackers couldn’t cross “no man’s land” fast enough to avoid casualties

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“no man’s land” varied in distance depending on the battlefield. On the Western Front it was typically between 100 and 300 yards, though only 30 yards on Vimy Ridge.

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Small trenches rapidly grew deeper and more complex, gradually becoming vast areas of interlocking defensive works

British trenches

German trenches

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What was lifelike in the trenches?

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Sanitary conditions in the trenches were quite poor, and common infections included dysentery, typhus, and cholera

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Rats became common, and grew large as they would eat the soldier’s food

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Medical services were primitive and life-saving antibiotics had not yet been discovered

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Relatively minor injuries could prove fatal through the onset of infection and gangrene

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Poor hygiene also led to conditions such as trench mouth and trench foot

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official truces were organized so that the wounded could be recovered from no man's land and the dead could be buried

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But what was life REALLY like in the trench?

At the age of 92 arthur savage was asked about his memories of life on the western front

At the age of 92, Arthur Savage was asked about his memories of life on the Western Front.

“My memories are of sheer terror and the horror of seeing men sobbing because they had trench foot that had turned gangrenous. They knew they were going to lose a leg.

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Memories of lice in your clothing driving you crazy. Filth and lack of privacy. Of huge rats that showed no fear of you as they stole your food rations. And cold deep wet mud everywhere.

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And of course, corpses. I'd never seen a dead body before I went to war. But in the trenches the dead are lying all around you. You could be talking to the fellow next to you when suddenly he'd be hit by a sniper and fall dead beside you. And there he‘d stay for days.”

Shell shock

Shell Shock

Trenches self inflicted wounds shell shock

Trenches- Self Inflicted wounds + Shell Shock

  • Faced with the prospect of being killed or permanently disabled, soldiers sometimes hoped that they would receive what was known as a blighty wound, and be sent back home.

  • There were some cases where soldiers shot themselves in an attempt to end their time on the frontline.

  • Self-inflicted wounds (SIW) was a capital offence and if discovered, a man found guilty of this faced execution by firing-squad.

  • A total of 3,894 men in the British Army were convicted of SIW. None of these men were executed but they all served periods in prison.

Shell shock1

Shell Shock

  • By 1914 British doctors working in military hospitals noticed patients 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 cerebra-spinal fluid and this can upset the working of the brain.

World war i disabilities

World War I Disabilities

  • Over 1.65 million men in the British Army were wounded during the First World War. Of these, around 240,000 British soldiers suffered total or partial leg or arm amputations as a result of war wounds. Most of these men were fitted with artificial limbs.

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Write a letter from the trench

Write a Letter from the Trench

  • Directions: You will write a letter to your family or a friend from the trenches of the Western Front. The letter should be written so that your reader understands the stress and trauma of life in the trenches. You may use any notes to help you with this exercise. The letter should be AT LEAST one full page in length.

  • Time: February 7, 1915

  • Place: Trenches outside Verdun, France

  • It should include:

    • The fear and anticipation you feel in the trenches

    • Your living conditions and daily life in the trenches

    • Any extraordinary events

    • Your morale and what you do to keep yourself entertained

    • It should be detailed, explicit, and graphic--use imagery!!!

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