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Britain And The Western Front of World War One - Sources Questions

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Britain And The Western Front Section A: Life In The Trenches Question 1: How would these posters help to encourage British men to join the army? These posters would have helped encourage men to join the army by making them feel guilty, how would they face their families in the years to come; what would happen when there grandchildren asked what they did in the war. It would also help by appealing to national pride, this is there country keep it that way. Question 2: What impression would British civilians get of life in the trenches from source B? It gives a false impression of what life in the trenches was like. The soldiers weren't comfortable as depicted, they weren't out of danger as is shown by their carelessness and they didn't get as much rations e.g. cigarettes as they wanted either. There isn't any smoke or mud and they act as if they have plenty of time whereas in the trenches it would be a great rush to get out of the trenches because the enemy would have snipers and machine gunners ready to cut the men down. Question 3: what impression do you get of the trenches from sources C and D? The impression that you get of life in the trenches is that it was far from pleasant. They were infested with lice and beetles, which would have made it an even more ghastly place to live. The men had no cover and the trenches were full of water and mud, which would have made it hard to sleep; and to go with that because of the lack of shelter many died from exposure and pneumonia. It gives the impression that it would be one of the worst places ever to have to live in. Question 4: What are the advantages and disadvantages of this type of source to an historian writing about life in the trenches? ...read more.


Thus the encumbered men met the uncut barbed wire and were presently slaughtered by the German machine guns. After the 1st wave fell back with up to 90% casualties it was the turn of the second wave to attack; and they did even though they knew what was awaiting them. This is how the first day of the Somme passed, with wave upon wave of men charging into enemy gunfire. The only successes came from the southern half of the battlefield where some of the enemy trenches were taken. By nightfall on the first day the British had suffered 60 000 casualties, 20 000 dead and 40 000 wounded; some of the units had suffered 90% casualties. The battle went on until November when the British were forced to stop attacking because the weather was so bad. As the battle progressed Haig tried out new strategies, like night attacks, going under the trenches with mines and tanks but none of these made a great difference during the battle. Tanks were introduced in September but all their attacks failed because they either got stuck in the mud or broke down. It wasn't just the British and the French that fought on the Somme; troops came from all over the commonwealth. On the 15th of July 3000 south Africans fought at delville wood, which was nicknamed devil wood and after 5 days there were only 800 of them left. Australian troops tried to capture Pozieres over 6 weeks (July and August) and lost 23 000 men in its capture. The worst casualties on the Somme were taken by Newfoundland (Canadian) troops at Beaumont Hamel; they lost 700 men out of 850 in 20 minutes. The total casualties on the British side was 420 000 dead and they gained 125 square miles. This means that for every dead British soldier they gained 0.476 square metres (approx). The French lost 200 000 men. ...read more.


As the war progressed the British troops got better and so did the artillery, by the end of the war the British had by far the best artillery. The advancement of the British army is shown best by their last battle at Amiens in 1918; it was a big victory because all the parts of the army worked together and it all went to plan. On the 11th of November 1918 the war ended and Haig was cheered. At the end of the war the British had suffered a total of 723 000 dead and many more wounded; even so they didn't lose that many more men than everyone else. And we have keep in mind source Q because in it Haig makes a real point he cannot win a war without the sacrifice of men's lives. Next I will look at the men and whether they truly were lions. Many of the soldiers in the 1st world war were under the age of 18 and weren't actually the right age to enter the army. Most people also believed that it would be an easy war and that it would be over by Christmas. They men still fought though and carried on volunteering after Christmas and ultimately won the war, and they showed much bravery in doing so. For example at the Somme the second wave to come out of the trenches knew what was awaiting them and carried on anyway. Now I shall conclude the question. I believe that from the evidence shown it is apparent that general Haig was not a donkey just a man who had to learn a new kind of war and was the victim of an incompetent head of intelligence and battle planner. I believe the men were lions and that they were true heroes. I therefore conclude that contemporaries were not correct in regarding the British army as "lions led by donkeys." ?? ?? ?? ?? HUCKLEBERRY BRISCOE 10CD HISTORY MR. STOVELL GCSE COURSEWORK ...read more.

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