Trench Conditions In World War One

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Taipei European School

Trench Conditions During World War One

Throughout World War One, soldiers lived in trenches that were originally dug by the British, French, and Germans. They stretched across Europe from the English Channel to Switzerland. The trenches were huge ditches dug in the dirt, and were used to protect each side from enemy machine guns, as well as functioning as a storage place to keep weapons and supplies, eg. guns, shells, food, etc. According to statistics taken after the war, more soldiers died in the trenches than in battle.

During the first two years of war, over 3 000 000 men enlisted to join the British Army. Government propaganda showed posters that made life in the trenches seem exciting. Soldiers were made to look happy and the conditions displayed were clean. This made many people believe that life as a soldier would be fun and exhilarating, and would possibly even be better than staying at home.

As the war carried on, though, most people began to realize that being a soldier wasn’t all fame and glory. Less and less people began to join up; eventually, there weren’t enough soldiers enrolling to replace the ones lost on the battlefield. This forced the government to introduce the system of conscription, which meant that all men of a certain age were required to serve a period of time in the army.

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After joining the army, soldiers began to realize that life in the trenches wasn’t as glorious and exciting as they had thought it would be. The conditions were filthy and unhygienic – not at all the clean shelter they had been expecting. Within weeks, the previously well-dressed soldiers were replaced by grimy and soiled men with dirty uniforms. Also, there was no roof over the trenches, so the soldiers were exposed to the elements of the weather, eg. rain, snow, etc. At night, many soldiers had a hard time sleeping because of the constant rain or rush of wind that ...

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