Life on the Western Front During World War One Essay examples

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Life on the Western Front During World War One

A dispassionate look at the numbers of the horrendous casualties sustained by the armies of the Allies and the Central Powers on the Western Front in WW1, clearly indicate that these casualties figures are far inferior to what might be anticipated if, indeed, total war had reigned in every location, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, and along all the 475 miles of trenches that extended from the North Sea to Switzerland. A couple of simple examples will readily make the case. Imagine two front-line trenches separated by only 20 to 30 yards of ‘No Man’s Land’ (in some extraordinary situations, distances were even less). A determined and prolonged effort
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During the periods of sustained and orchestrated offensive in certain sectors, aggressors and defenders alike sustained horrific casualties. An early example is Loos in 1915, when many of the ‘Old Contemptibles' became casualties. Later offensive campaigns produced total casualties for both sides of 700,000 at Verdun, 1916; 1.2 million at the 1st Battle of the Somme, 1916; 650,000 at Passchendaele, 1917, and over a million during the 1918 Ludendorff offensive. Inevitably, therefore, it is reasonable to expect that the periods of ‘All quiet on (at least parts of) the Western Front’ were associated with some mutual form of tolerance (L&LL) between the combatants, and a reduction in provocative action by both sides.

There were also more open and general cease-fires, or truces, at the Battalion and Divisional level. Perhaps the most famous of these was that of Christmas 1914, which was widely reported in the newspapers of both the Allies and the Central Powers: Much to the disapproval of the High Commands of both the antagonists. Similar reports were made from time to time of local agreements for the recovery of casualties from the battlefield.

As already intimated, the High Command (which ‘The Poor Bloody Infantry’ usually

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