World War I was the First World War, or The War to End All Wars. It was as horrific as it was a time to show true nationalism towards ones country, whether German or American. Life for a soldier during this time was grueling and toilsome, while both sides of the war fought in waterlogged, swampy channels known as trench warfare.
Predominantly, trench warfare was located on the Western Front. This was a region of northern France and Belgium that oversaw the wars linking German troops and the Allied forces from France, Great Britain, and the United States. Soldiers inhabited the very long, inadequate channels for several weeks at a time. As the broad use of chemical warfare commenced, the trenches became a difficult area to provide refuge from contagion or death. However, once gas masks were invented, soldiers were permitted complete shields from the pollution, miraculously saving many soldiers.
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Also, trench warfare induced a vast quantity of fatalities and organized, yet purposeless, strikes. During WWI, soldiers were extremely impulsive, partially because of living in the ditches for such an interminable time period. Therefore, their mindsets had revolved only around the victory of the battle in order to then leave, receive medical treatment (if needed), and to finally see their families. So many soldiers would foolishly run to no-mans land (the field between opposing forces) and quickly shoot, thinking their strategy would work, but the plan usually concluded in immediate death with the opposing side instantly killing them. In some historians opinions, the 1916 Battle of the Somme in France is where trench warfare was truly viewed as the most brutal. In this war, 60,000 soldiers died and only 143 were left standing as it ended.
Sustained living in the most drastic of water settings caused men to share severe, problematic conditions such as trench foot and trench mouth. Trench foot was an excruciatingly painful state where the decaying flesh extending throughout the foot or both; trench mouth was a sort of gum disease that caused a high amount of pressure and continuous barrage. Soldiers also experienced illnesses such as shell shock cholera, and typhoid fever. Also known today as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), shell shock was an immobilizing mental illness in which soldiers were affected greatly because of WWI. Two of the most frequent diseases, cholera and typhoid fever, were also a constant threat among the soldiers on a daily basis.
Along with trench warfare, many technological advancements were launched, either producing advantages or disadvantages for forces that fought one another during WWI. Two of the most vital war inventions of the early 1900s were chemical warfare, such as poison gas, grenades, phosphene, gas masks, etc., and importantly, the enhancement of the machine gun. As well as chemical warfare and machine guns, there was the development of airplanes, tanks, and many more critical improvements in various equipment. Chemical warfare was, of course, created by the Germans. Once chemical warfare was fabricated along with the protection of gas masks, this new addition made the war seem slightly simpler to plan for a multitudinous amount of men to suffer or die at the same time. Machine guns were originally produced by an American, Hiram Maxim, but later upgraded for WWI by the Germans.
Also known as fighter planes, airplanes were an enormous benefit to WWI and were also invented by the Germans. They were a huge benefit because many soldiers felt they could kill their contending side more easily as they used machine guns or bombs on the planes to kill enemies below and unexpectedly, instead of on ground level. Constructed by the British, tanks were massively protected machines that held major guns. Unfortunately, their power did not greatly improve until WWII when the French created a new model, but the first tank was still an accomplishment and a vast betterment for WWI as a whole. Ultimately, these technological advancements impacted the overall effects and battles of WWI, which in turn gave the soldiers hope to win the war through their strong nationalism towards their country.
Aside from the trenchs safety issues like too much water, which causes many diseases and uncleanliness for the soldiers, there was no boundary to protect the soldiers on either the Western or Eastern Front (either side of battle). However, without a doubt, the technological advancements that benefitted the many forces of WWI far outweighed the harsh conditions and less than ideal circumstances because without them, the battle might not have extended for many more years and resulted in many more thousands of fatalities. According to historians of History.com, most soldiers of the Allied force died because of the diseases they faced in the trenches. This being said, the soldiers strong bravery and patriotism/nationalism towards their country and their family kept them going through the trenchs hard trials and the wars nightmarish four years and three months.
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