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Snapshot from History: The War in the Trenches
By the time the First World War broke out, the machine-gun had become the main on battlefields, and it was so deadly that soldiers could not move as freely as before. So a new type of warfare – warfare – was adopted in France and Belgium. The British and their allies dug trenches on one side of the , and the Germans on the other. The area between the trenches was known as no-man’s land, and the was to bombard the enemy’s trenches, cross no-man’s land and capture them. Neither the Allies nor the Germans had much success, and the lasted throughout the war. Trench warfare was a disaster which cost millions of lives.
Conditions in the trenches were . They were often flooded, and there were rats everywhere. It was not only bullets and bombs that were dangerous, but , too. One was trench foot, a result of standing in water for a long time, which often meant soldiers had their feet . Another was trench mouth, a severe of the mouth and throat. And then there was mustard gas, an early weapon. The troops had gas masks, but they protected the face only, not other parts of the body. And if they did not put their masks on before the gas landed, they would die. So each trench had a canary in a cage, and the soldiers watched it very carefully. If the canary fell down, it meant there was gas around.
The trenches have been by writers such as Wilfred Owen, Robert Graves and Siegfried Sassoon, and the novel All Quiet on the Western Front by Erich Maria Remarque is one of literature’s most powerful descriptions of the of war.
Cappelen Damm

Sist oppdatert: 14.07.2008

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