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World War One : A New Style of War. Schlieffen Plan. Germany wanted to sweep down through Belgium and take France quickly Massed forces on western front for quick victory, then shift focus to the east Germans were stopped and stalemate ensued. Stalemate on the Western Front.

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schlieffen plan
  • Germany wanted to sweep down through Belgium and take France quickly
  • Massed forces on western front for quick victory, then shift focus to the east
  • Germans were stopped and stalemate ensued
stalemate on the western front
Stalemate on the Western Front
  • Unable to break through the French lines, the Germans dig trenches to hold their position
  • Allies dig trenches as well
  • Stretched from the North Sea to Switzerland and did not move much
trench warfare
Trench Warfare
  • There were several lines of trenches:
    • Fire trenches
    • Support trenches
    • Reserve trenches
    • Communication trenches
  • Trenches were approximately 7 ft deep and 6 ft wide
no man s land
  • Between enemy trenches was called “no man’s land”, a waste land of barbed wire and land mines.
  • As small as 7 yards, as large as over 500, usually around 250.
  • Attacking across No Man’s Land was extremely difficult due to barbed wire and shell craters

“Life in the trenches was hell on earth. Lice, rats, trench foot, trench mouth, where the gums rot and you lose your teeth. And of course dead bodies everywhere.”

life in the trenches
Life in the Trenches
  • Trenches were often waterlogged and full of disease

“ The trenches were wet and cold and at this time some of them did not have duckboards or dug-outs. The battalion lived in mud and water.”

trench foot
Infection of the foot caused by cold, wet, and unsanitary conditions

During the winter of 1914-15 over 20,000 men in the British army were treated for trench foot.

Soldiers were required to change socks multiple times a day as well as grease their feet with whale oil

Trench Foot
trench foot amputees
Trench Foot & Amputees

Your feet swell to two or three times their normal size and go completely dead. You could stick a bayonet into them and not feel a thing. If you are fortunate enough not to lose your feet and the swelling begins to go down. It is then that the intolerable, indescribable agony begins. I have heard men cry and even scream with the pain and many had to have their feet and legs amputated.

trench rats
Trench Rats
  • “The outstanding feature of the trenches was the extraordinary number of rats. The area was infested with them. It was impossible to keep them out of the dugouts. They grew fat on the food that they pilfered from us, and anything they could pick up in or around the trenches; they were bloated and loathsome to look at. Some were nearly as big as cats.”
trench rats1
Trench Rats
  • Rats came up from the canal, fed on the plentiful corpses, and multiplied exceedingly. While I stayed here with the Welch. a new officer joined the company and, in token of welcome, was given a dug-out containing a spring-bed. When he turned in that night he heard a scuffling, shone his torch on the bed, and found two rats on his blanket tussling for the possession of a severed hand.
trench rats2
Trench Rats
  • a pair of rats were capable of producing some 800 offspring within a single year.
  • Soldiers would often hunt rats to pass the time by attracting them with food and then attacking them with bayonets or rifles
over the top
Over the Top
  • An offensive consisted of days of shelling the enemy’s defenses followed by an order to go “Over the Top” and into No Man’s Land
  • Offensives were very ineffective and resulted in huge losses of life
  • About 800,000 at Verdun alone
mechanization and new weapons
Mechanization and New Weapons
  • WWI was an industrialized war that mass produced new weapons.
  • These new weapons were more efficient and more deadly
  • Military tactics and strategies had not developed with the new weapons  lead to a tremendous amount of deaths
machine gun
Machine Gun
  • Hiram Maxim invented world’s first automatic portable machine gun
  • fifty Rhodesian police fought off 5,000 Matabele warriors with just four Maxim guns
  • Rapid fire mowed down waves of soldiers as they raced across no man’s land
chlorine gas
Chlorine Gas
  • The effects are these - a splitting headache and terrific thirst (to drink water is instant death), a knife edge of pain in the lungs and the coughing up of a greenish froth off the stomach and the lungs, ending finally in insensibility and death. The colour of the skin from white turns a greenish black and yellow, the colour protrudes and the eyes assume a glassy stare. It is a fiendish death to die.
mustard gas
Mustard Gas
  • "Great mustard-coloured blisters, blind eyes, all sticky and stuck together, always fighting for breath, with voices a mere whisper, saying that their throats are closing and they know they will choke."
  • Tanks were first used during WWI
  • They were able to cross the trenches, across broken ground and barbed wire while facing heavy machine gun fire
  • Used to weaken enemy fortifications before offensives

“Big Bertha”

u boat
  • Unterseebooten – Germans were first to develop submarines. Waged unrestricted submarine warfare in the Atlantic.
  • Planes were first used for reconnaisance missions
  • Pilots then engaged in small battles in the air where they would shoot at each other with pistols
  • Later in the war, planes began to drop bombs and engage in dogfights with mounted machine guns.
  • Blimps that Germans used to drop bombs
  • Use for only 2 yrs as they were easily shot down by enemy soldiers and planes