• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

Why was World War One the first and last major war to be characterised by trench warfare?

Extracts from this document...


Why was World War One the first and last major war to be characterised by trench warfare? One reason why trench warfare developed on the Western Front was the failure of the Schlieffen Plan. The Schlieffen Plan was Germany's idea of increasing their empire whilst preventing a war on two fronts between France and Russia. The plan was that the Germans would conquer France quickly in order to ready themselves against the immanent attack from Russia. They wanted to do this all in six weeks, and to do that they needed to go through Belgium and take Paris. The Germans gambled that the Russians would be slow to mobilise their forces in time to attack Germany on the Eastern Front; they also gambled that the advance through Belgium would be quick because their wouldn't be any resistance to their passing; and they also suspected that Britain wouldn't keep their promise to protect Belgium. But these three gambles turned out to be very wrong as the Russians got their forces moving very quickly, and Belgians did resist the Germans rite of passage, allowing the British Expeditionary Force (BEF) enough time to help fight the Germans. ...read more.


But shells were only mainly used to bombard the enemy before an attack early in World War One, which was a defensive measure. All in all, artillery was best used as a defensive weapon protecting all the soldiers from the enemy. Barbed wire was another weapon to aid in defence, it left the attacking forces without a way into their enemies trenches so they could be picked off whilst trying to find a gap. But, it was only any good for defence; it couldn't do anything else. Almost every single weapon at the beginning of World War One could only be used for defence. But to defend a position properly, the area had to have 'defences' which protected the soldiers from artillery and gunfire. The best defences in this case were basically holes in the ground known as dugouts, fox holes or better known as trenches. The level of industrialisation also played an important part in contributing to trench warfare. Before the First World War, Britain had never fought against an industrial equal. All of the countries that Britain had conquered and turned into colonies had been underdeveloped and at a technological disadvantage, so Britain had no problem in overrunning them. ...read more.


This was easily counteracted with gas masks and in total, only 3000 British men died during the whole war. But the main significance of gas was the psychological effect. If men felt threatened of an imminent gas attack they kept their masks on. The masks restricted the men from talking, eating and even sleeping. Masks also restricted soldier's field of vision. These effects on the enemy made attacks very easy. Tanks were also used very successfully during the war. When tanks were first used in the battle of the Somme they crushed barbed-wire defences and sprayed the enemy with machine gun fire, alarming the Germans and boosting the British morale. But the Germans eventually overcome the tanks with armour-piercing machine-gun bullets and adapted field guns, but only after the tanks helped the British take a large amount of land. Even the war in the air played a part in ending trench warfare. Reconnaissance flights over enemy land showed weaknesses in the defence and enemy positions. Planes were also used to spot troop movement, spot and help adjust artillery fire, and even drop bombs on enemy trenches. All of these things helped the Allies win the war. Even if they only helped a little, they brought victory one step closer, along with the end of trench warfare. Matthew Jones 10c History Coursework 1 1 ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our AS and A Level War Poetry section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related AS and A Level War Poetry essays

  1. Marked by a teacher

    The causes of world war one

    4 star(s)

    Operated by two men, they were mainly used to clear enemy soldiers from front-line trenches. At first they had a range of 25 metres but later this was increased to 40 metres. This meant they were only effective over narrow areas of No Man's Land.

  2. Why was Trench Warfare so terrible

    The German army produced a 'saw-back' blade that, as its name suggests, gave the appearance of a saw with its double row of teeth on the back edge. Produced chiefly for use by engineering units for specific tasks, the saw-back blade proved a blessing for Allied propaganda purposes.

  1. World War One Trench Warfare Sources Questions

    They would not let anything else be put on the card because no details of the terrible trenches were allowed to be revealed to the people, during the censorship of all publications during World War 1, as it may lower morale amongst the friends and families of the soldiers.

  2. What was life like in the trenches? The First World War was the first ...

    Their colours were black, green and blue, tongues hanging out, eyes staring. One or two were dead and others beyond human aid; some were coughing up green froth from their lungs." Disease and death thrived in the trenches. Trench rats the size of cats roamed around.

  1. Why were the major cities of Britain bombed by the Germans in 1940-1941?

    However, in general, the British morale was not broken. Above I exposed how but for thousands of British civilians the Blitz was a terrifying ordeal which they would never forget. Abdullah Mamaniat 10Q Assignment Two: Objective 1 Britain in the Age of Total War, 1939-45 Question Two Describe the effects of the Blitz on everyday life in Britain.

  2. History - World War One

    In August 1914, the British government discovered that Germany had a propaganda agency. So David Lloyd George (Chancellor of the Exchequer) was given the task of setting up the British War Propaganda Bureau (WPB). Many were convinced that the war was going to be an easy ride.

  1. What were the main problems for soldiers involved in trench warfare? When the war ...

    As well as causing a bad stale smell and itching, lice were the cause for another disease, "Trench Fever" which was the cause for about 15% of all sickness in the British army.

  2. Was the First World War a 'Total war' for Britain?

    Women helped in many other aspects of war. They took over roles of men who had gone to war in the factories and in the fields. They also filled posts that women were expected to fill, like voluntary nursing, military nursing, canteen staff, Salvation Army, and Christian organisations.

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work