Life and Suffering in The Trenches

Powerful Essays
World War I, also known as the Great War, lasted from the summer of 1914 until the late fall of 1918. The war was fought between the Allies, which consisted mainly of the United Kingdom, France, and the Russian Empire, and the Central Powers, which consisted mainly of the German Empire, the Ottoman Empire, the Austro-Hungarian Empire, and the Kingdom of Bulgaria (Alliances - Entente and Central Powers). In total, it is estimated that twelve million civilians and nine million combatants died during this horrific and devastating war (DeGroot 1). When the war first began in 1914, many people thought that it would be a war of movement that would quickly be over. However, that changed when the Germans, who were trying to reach and capture the city of Paris in France, were forced to retreat during the Battle of the Marne in September 1914 (Ellis 10). German General von Falkenhayn, who felt that his troops must at all cost hold onto the parts of France and Belgium that they had overtaken, ordered his men to dig in and form defensive trench lines (Ellis 10). The Allies could not break through the enemies lines and were forced to create trenches of their own (Ellis 10). This was only the beginning of trench warfare. A war of movement had quickly come to a standstill on the Western Front. A massive trench line, 475 miles long, quickly spread and extended from the North Sea to the Swiss Frontier (Ellis 10). With neither side budging, soldiers were forced to live in the most miserable of conditions. Simply put, life in the trenches was a living hell. A lieutenant of the 2nd Scottish rifles wrote, “No one who was not there can fully appreciate the excruciating agonies and misery through which the men had to go [through] in those da...

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