Life in the Trenches July 28, 1914: Austria-Hungary declares war on Serbia Word War II 1914-1919
Trench foot is a medical condition caused by prolonged exposure of the feet to damp, unsanitary and cold conditions. In extreme cases, the foot/feet may have to be amputated.
Rats in their millions infested the trenches. • A single rat couple can produce up to 900 offspring in a year • Some rats were the size of cats.
Frogs and Lice • Lice caused Trench Fever, a particularly painful disease that began suddenly with severe pain followed by a high fever. The only way to recover was to leave the trenches, it sometimes took up to 12 weeks; lice were identified as the culprit in 1918 (almost the end of the war) • Frogs by the score were found in shell holes covered in water; they were also found in the base of trenches. Slugs and horned beetles crowded the sides of the trench. • Many men chose to shave their heads entirely to avoid another prevalent scourge: nits.
Everybody got a daily chore • Refilling of sandbags (which were laid at the top of trench walls for extra protection) • Repair the duckboards (laid at the bottom of the trench to protect feet from water) • Draining the trenches
No Man’s Land • The area in between enemy trenches.
Why would trenches be zig-zagged like this? So that if the trenches were invaded; soldiers could use corners to shield themselves from bullets.
The Christmas Truce (1914) • A series of ceasefire agreements that took place in December 1914 along the Western Front (Border of France and Belgium/Germany).
How did soldiers of enemy sides interact? • Traded goods – governments sent soldiers Christmas packages/presents and troops would trade their goods with enemy soldiers • Buried the dead • Drank • Sang Christmas Carols • Played Football (American soccer)
Why does the Christmas Truce matter? It forced soldiers to humanize their enemy. They became friendly with the enemy soldiers and no longer wanted to shoot at and kill them.