World War I

Chapter 23, Part 2


All Quiet on the Western Front: A Young Man Goes Off to War (4:45)

PAGE 722-723

Trench Warfare Warfare in the trenches of the Western Front produced unimaginable horrors. Battlefields were hellish landscapes of barbed wire, shell holes, mud, and injured and dying men. The introduction of poison gas in 1915 produced new forms of injuries.

Realities of War (3:34)

trench warfare

PAGE 716 Battle of the Somme

1912 Practice Trenches in Northern England Today ± a national monument

Belgium Trenches
Apart from my visit to Auschwitz, probably one of the most unsettling places I've ever been. This is a section of the trenches called Sanctuary Wood, outside Ypres, (Belgium) where the farmer who owned the field preserved the land as it was when the war ended.

Around and beside these trenches, there are shell holes big enough to drop an average-sized car in. In the 85-odd years since the end of the war, a forest has grown up around the trenches. The most unsettling thing about this place was the silence - I was there in mid-summer, yet it was dead quiet, no birds in the woods, no animals, nothing.

The Second Battle of Ypres (2:22)

Preparing for mustard gas attacks

Tactics of Trench Warfare
Attacks rarely worked Advancing unprotected across open fields could be fired at by the enemy s machine guns

In 10 months at Verdun, France in 1916, 700,000 men were killed over a few miles of land
French 87th regiment in trench at Hill 34 outside Verdun

³France¶s Stalingrad´

‡ The Battle of Verdun resulted in more than a quarter of a million battlefield deaths and at least half a million wounded. ‡ Verdun was the longest battle and one of the most devastating in World War I and more generally in human history. ‡ A total of about 40 million artillery shells were exchanged by both sides during the battle.

On Ne Passe Pas! (They Shall Not Pass!) on a French medal commemorating the battle of Verdun

³On Ne Passe Pas!´ = You Shall Not Pass! On Ne Passe Pas! Propaganda poster by Maurice Neumont

Note, J.R.R. Tolkien author of LOTR was a World War I veteran

Loading a 15-inch howitzer

A Killing Ground @ Verdun

Map of World with Participants in World War I ± Allies in green - Central Powers in orange - Neutral in grey

1914 to 1915: Illusions and Stalemate

‡ The Western Front turned into a stalemate, with neither side able to push the other out of the system of trench warfare they had begun. ‡ The trenches stretched from the English Channel nearly to the Swiss border. ‡ For four years both sides remained in almost the same positions.
Aerial view of opposing trench lines between Loos and Hulluch, July 1917. German trenches at the right and bottom, British at the top-left.

What is trench foot?
Trench foot is a medical condition caused by prolonged exposure of the feet to damp, unsanitary and cold conditions.

"Gott strafe England" was a common slogan of the German Army, which means "May God punish England".

Ineffective Strategy & Wasted Lives ± 3rd Ypres Paschendale (3:02)

1914 to 1915: Illusions and Stalemate

‡ On the Eastern Front, the war was far more mobile.
‡ The Russians defeated Austria-Hungary and dislodged them from Serbia. ‡ The Russian army moved into eastern Germany but was defeated at the Battle of Tannenberg and the Battle of Masurian Lakes, making Russia no longer a threat to invade Germany.

Germans at the Battle of Masurian Lakes

Eastern front marked by movement.

1914 to 1915: Illusions and Stalemate ‡ The Italians, who had been allied with Germany and Austria-Hungary, broke their alliance in 1915 and attacked AustriaHungary. ‡ The Germans came to the aid of the Austrians and together they defeated the Russians in several battles and drove them back. ‡ About 2.5 million Russians had been killed, captured, or wounded.
Austrian Chief-ofStaff Conrad von Hoetzendorf.

1914 to 1915: Illusions and Stalemate

‡ The Russians were almost out of the war. Russian Revolution about to begin.
‡ After defeating Serbia, Germany turned its attention back to the Western Front.

Vladimir Lenin leader of the Bolsheviks.

Bolshevik forces marching on Red Square.

'Working people arise!'
the Russian Revolution's idealized self-image by painter V SEROV.

The war spread to the Ottoman Empire in 1915.

Entry of the United States

‡ The United States tried to stay neutral in the first years of World War I.
President Wilson before Congress, announcing the break in official relations with Germany on 3 February 1917.

WAKE UP, AMERICA! Americans were not eager to enter the war, and Americans of German ancestry tended to support Germany, not Britain and France. The government¶s first task was to convince citizens that they must support the war effort without reservation. Here, a woman clad in the stars and stripes represents America and American liberty.
Poster by James Montgomery Flagg, 1917.

America¶s President During World War One


Lusitania Sinks

VIDEO: Sinking of the Lusitania & Zimmerman Telegraph (1:05)


Texas & New Mexico will become Mexican Territory if the Central Powers win the war.

Entry of the United States (cont.)
‡ The Germans did not think that the United States would enter the war before the British were starved. However, in April 1917, the United States responded to unrestricted submarine warfare by declaring war on Germany.
Though large numbers of American troops did not arrive until 1918, the Allies were given a powerful psychological boost as well as money and supplies.

Wartime era portrait of a typical American doughboy, circa: 1918.



A tattered American flag flies behind the Spirit of the American Doughboy statue on in Appleton, Wis.

VIDEO: The American Expeditionary Force Doughboys (:55)

September 15th, 1916

A new weapon appears: ³We heard strange throbbing noises, & lumbering slowly towards us came three mechanical monsters« They finally realized they were on the wrong trench and moved on, frightening the Germans out of their wits and making them scuttle like frightened rabbits.´
German Tank

French Tank

A British Mark I (Big Willie). The highly rhomboidal shape allowed it to climb tall obstacles

Aircraft of World War I

He is considered the ace-of-aces of that war, being officially credited with 80 air combat victories, more than any other pilot.

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