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

The spring of 1915 saw a new frontier develop: the trenches.

Extracts from this document...


The spring of 1915 saw a new frontier develop: the trenches. Trench warfare was one of the main reasons so many men died. It was a ruthless system of warfare, in which lines and lines of men were repeatedly mowed down, one after the other. Life in the trenches, on the daily, was filled with horror, and death. Death was a constant companion to those serving in the line, even when no raid or attack was launched or defended against. Life in the trenches was brutal, terrifying and sordid. Soldiers suffered from a lack of food, diseases, awful weather conditions and the long periods of constant bombardment. Life in the trenches during the First World War took many forms, and varied widely from sector to sector and from front to front. Undoubtedly, it was entirely unexpected for those eager thousands who signed up for war in August 1914. A constant fear of death was a notion felt by many men in the trenches. In busy sectors the constant shellfire directed by the enemy brought random death, whether their victims were lounging in a trench or lying in a dugout (many men were buried as a consequence of large shell-bursts). ...read more.


Men became exasperated and afraid of these rats, attempted to rid the trenches of them by various methods: gunfire, with the bayonet, and even by clubbing them to death. It was futile however: a single rat couple could produce up to 900 offspring in a year, spreading infection and contaminating food. A lack of hygiene initiated the arrival of lice, breeding in the seams of filthy clothing and causing men to itch unceasingly. Even when clothing was periodically washed and deloused, lice eggs invariably remained hidden in the seams; within a few hours of the clothes being re-worn the body heat generated would cause the eggs to hatch. This nuisance caused Trench Fever, a painful disease that began suddenly with severe pain followed by high fever. Trench Foot was another medical condition peculiar to trench life. It was a fungal infection of the feet caused by cold, wet and unsanitary trench conditions. It could turn gangrenous and result in amputation. The structure of the trenches meant that the heavy periodical rain would fill the trenches, sometimes up to the soldier's knees, causing a medical condition called trench foot. ...read more.


It thus can be seen that soldier's morale was generally low due to conditions suffered and as hope turned to despair as offensive after offensive failed to break the stalemate and the futility of war became all too apparent, yet there was in spite of the hardship a spirit of comradeship and high morale in the trenches. When fear and trauma got the better of some men their behaviour was seen as cowardice or weakness. Men were court-martialled and, in some cases, shot. This harsh attitude and military discipline no doubt had an effect on why men continued to fight - they had no other choice. Today those conditions still play on the minds of remaining soldiers. One would think that the horrors of a war in which you lived, slept and killed in a muddy trench for months at a time, would need more than a few days' rest. Seeing hundreds of your friends gunned down or blown apart must surely have an adverse effect on the mind of a person subjected to it for months - or years - at a time. Then, we may not have known the full effects of war on a human mind. Page 1 of 2 ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our GCSE 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 GCSE War Poetry essays

  1. Suicide in the Trenches by Siegfried Sassoon and Green Beret by Ho Thien.

    'Green Beret' is in free verse and both stanzas are unevenly spread. I think that this is because Ho Thien wants us to know that the Green Beret soldiers may be unfair and that the boy and the Vietnamese people are very much in charge of their own decisions and

  2. Perhaps- by Vera Brittain and Spring in War-Time by Edith Nesbit

    talking about how, after the death of Roland, she realises that there is a possibility that there is no God. In general, this poem uses a lot of natural imagery to describe the way that life carries on which enlightens the mood of the poem: "And I shall find the white May Blossoms sweet," (l.7)


    To be sure, the message is there, Balzac's utopia of monarchy and landed aristocracy, but only from the viewpoint of the ideology that Jameson means for his theory to serve. Jameson's analysis ends up treating the novel as if it were just a document among others about nonliterary objects of inquiry.

  2. Quarry Bank Mill in Styal differed widely from other textiles mills in the area

    Some masters were accused of having been in the habit of knocking down apprentices with clenched fists, kicking them about when down and beating them to excess with sticks, or flogging them with horse-whips; of seizing them by the ears, lifting them form the ground and forcibly dashing them down on the floor, pinching them until their fingers met.

  1. "Hollow Men" Explication.

    voices, hollow men/women/what-ever-being-the-mind-can-conjure-up in order to whisper so low so that a ruckus won't be achieved, so a unison of voices will not convey a message. It is as if these voices are heading towards avoiding a direct message, as if the feet are dragged and the wind is blown

  2. Why is the battle so vivid in Spring Offensive?

    When Owen says "no alarms of bugles, no high flags, no clamorous haste" it dispels many common misconceptions the civilians would have had of the war, and that were the reasons many men joined up in the first place.

  1. Death, Despair and Rebellion

    as though she is expecting to die; this is shown in the last two lines of the poem: "My only wish is to forget In the sleep of death." The next poem that I chose by Bront� was "Death". Its title however, is contradictory, for it is not about death,

  2. Critics have spent entire books interpreting Gray's

    been educated with Knowledge's "roll" and released from "Chill Penury," would they not have achieved as much in poetry and politics as did figures like Hampden, Milton, and Cromwell? Thirdly, the narrator suggests that his unimportant, out-of-power country dead lived morally better lives by being untempted to commit murder or act cruelly.

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