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Introduction to WW1

Prior to the study of War Horse

WW1
World War 1 was stated to be
the war that 'would be over by
Christmas.' However it
dragged on for four long years
of bloody stalemate. Look at
the photo to the right and
consider how young many of
these men were.

The War in Brief -1914


Germany invades
Belgium.
Britain declares war on
Germany.
Japan joins the Allied
forces: Ottoman Empire
soon joins the Central
Powers.
War spreads to the seas.

1915
Women take up men's jobs.
Stalemate continues on the
Western Front.
The Lusitania passenger liner
is sunk, with 1,200 lives lost.
London attacked from the air
by German Zeppelins.

1916
Conscription for men aged
between 18 and 41.
A million casualties in ten
months: Germany aims to
'bleed France white'.
At sea the Battle of Jutland
takes place.
Armed uprisings in Dublin: the
Irish Republic is proclaimed.

1917
German Army retreats to the
Hindenburg Line.
United States joins the war
and assists the Allies.
Tank, submarine and gas
warfare intensifies.
Royal family change their
surname to Windsor to appear
more British

1918
Germany launches major
offensive on the Western Front.
Allies launch successful counteroffensives at the Marne and
Amiens.
Armistice signed on November
11, ending the war at 11am.
In Britain, a coalition (union)
government is elected and
women over 30 succeed in
gaining the vote. (It was probably
the Labour Government as they
fought for the lower class working
man.)

The trenches
Trenches dug from English
Channel to Switzerland
6,250 miles
6 to 8 feet deep
Immobilized both sides
for 4 years

The Trenches

Life in the Trenches


Elaborate systems of
defense.
barbed wire
Concrete machine gun
nests
Mortar batteries
Troops lived in holes
underground

Life in the Trenches


Boredom
Soldiers read to pass the
time
Sarah Bernhardt came out
to the front to read poetry
to the soldiers

Death is everywhere
We all had on us the
stench of dead bodies.
Death numbed the
soldiers minds.
Shell shock
Psychological devastation

Death is everywhere
Mustard gas
Carried by the wind
Burned out soldiers lungs
Deadly in the trenches
where it would
sit at the bottom

Life in the Trenches


Trench warfare baffled
military leaders
Attempt a breakthrough
Then return to a war of
movement
Millions of young men
sacrificed attempting the
breakthrough

Trench equipment
Machine Guns Such as the British Vickers or the German Maxim
were one of the most deadly weapons on the Western Front. Operated
by a two-man crew, the guns fired 400-500 bullets every minute.
Gas masks Germany first used poison gas in 1915. Released from
cylinders or fired from shells, gas killed men without protective masks.
Gas masks were always very uncomfortable to wear.
Periscopes Because it was dangerous to stick your head above the
parapet of the trench, troops in the front line used periscopes to peer
at the enemy in the trenches opposite.

The changes of war


New weapons crippled
the frozen front

Poison gas (mustard gas)


Hand grenades
Flame throwers
Tanks
Airplanes
Tanks
Subs

The changes of war


Airplanes
Dog fights in the air
Bombing inaccurate
Romanticized the
battlefields
Paris and London bombed
Pilots fired pistols and
threw hand grenades

The Home Front


Women took war factory
jobs
Received lower wages
than males
Food shortages made
running a household
difficult

The Home Front


Censorship
Not told about high death
toll
Romanticized the
battlefields
soldiers have died a
beautiful death, in noble
battle, we shall rediscover
poetryepic and
chivalrous

The Home Front


Censorship
Newspapers described troops as
itching to go over the top.

Government reported to the


press that life in the trenches
promoted good health and
clear air

The Home Front


Impossible to hide death
Women in mourning
Badly wounded soldiers
returned home
Opposition began to
emerge

The war ends


1917 Russia surrenders
(a separate peace)
U.S. joins the war on the
Allied side
Nov. 11, 1918 Armistice

Social Impact

Men lost limbs and were mutilated


Birthrate fell markedly
Invalids unable to work
Ethnic hostility
Influenza epidemic

Psychological Impact
Never such innocence again
Bitterness towards aristocratic officers whose
lives were never in danger