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Did British Soldiers' accounts portray their experiences on the Western Front more accurately than Official accounts?

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Introduction

Rachel Leigh History Coursework Cand No. 0654 Centre No. 68731 2003 History Coursework Did British Soldiers' accounts portray their experiences on the Western Front more accurately than Official accounts? Trench warfare was the beginning of the Great War, which was triggered off by the Assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand. Both sides dug trenches in the winter of 1914 - 1915 and they waited there for the weather to improve before launching attacks in the spring. It was started with the Germans planning to invade France through neutral Belgium. It was given the name of The Schlieffen Plan; it was named after the field marshal who devised it. The majority of the French army were on the border with Germany. The Germans thought that if they moved quickly enough that they would be able to race past the French troops and capture Paris within six weeks. ...read more.

Middle

Even though the Schlieffen Plan was supposed to be a secret the British expected the Germans to invade through Belgium. Once war was declared the British Expeditionary Force would quickly cross to France, take the West flank alongside the French, and then halt any advance of the Germans. The Germans would then be exposed to the east and the west; the Russians, French and British would so greatly outnumber the Germans that they would surrender. Neither side showed any sign of giving up and they were strong enough to resist counter attack. Yet the War of Movement had been replaced by a stalemate. On the western Front more than two million soldiers were now involved in the War. Both sides began to make more permanent trenches to protect themselves from enemy gunfire. By Christmas 1914 a long line of trenches stretched from the English Channel to the Swiss border. ...read more.

Conclusion

These posters did not show the reality, new soldiers or the families had no idea of the horrors that awaited them on the western front, and the posters gave the idea that war was an adventure. The posters were not only aimed at young men but their families as the government needed to show that the war was worthwhile. These sources are useful; as they show us what social pressures the men were put under. Extracts from communications by The British Commander In Chief, Douglas Haig, in 1916. The above source shows the contrast between what the war was really like and what knowledge the troops had of what was going on around them. Haig's memorandum to the War Office informs the government of what was happening and whether or not Britain was winning. Then in the letter to the troops Haig tells another story, this time it is a positive one. He would have written this to keep the morale of the troops high. ...read more.

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