Soldiers' Account of Trench Life

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Soldiers' Account of Trench Life Life in the trenches was horrific; the frontline soldiers dreaded having to return to them. During their tour of duty there, they lived in considerable tension. The trenches were far from safe; possibly one third of all casualties on the Weston front were killed or wounded in the trenches, mostly from artillery fire. In this essay I will be discussing and comparing the accuracy and differences between the soldiers' accounts of the trenches and official accounts composed by the government. I will use my own knowledge as well as many sources from the booklet provided. The sources that I shall use will come from many categories including primary accounts of soldiers in the trenches, photographs, paintings, propaganda and official government accounts. I will note the uses of the sources including their strengths and weaknesses, their provenance, reliability the importance and usefulness as well as the limitations of their usefulness. In section A, I will look at sources from history textbooks describing what life was like in the trenches. Most of the sources in this section are official accounts produced by the government and are therefore probably reliable however there is evidence to suggest that these are used for propaganda or censored. Section B sources are also official accounts describing life in the trenches but these sources are photographs and drawings, these may be useful, but not very reliable as some of the photographers and artists were appointed by the government and may be censored, exaggerated or used for propaganda. So we have to compare and contrast to rely on the ... ... middle of paper ... ...- an idealistic picture of war, to keep everyone happy. The soldier's accounts however, were completely different and contradicted the official accounts in almost every way. There is a possibility (although unlikely as so many soldiers accounts complimented each other) that soldiers exaggerated the truth to make themselves look more heroic. The reliability of some soldiers accounts could be unbalanced due to emotions running too high, and then saying something in spite or hatred towards Germany, the British government, rats, lice etc. In conclusion, I find that generally, the soldier's accounts were more accurate than the governments as, at the end of the day, it was the soldiers who lived and fought in the trenches and would clearly be able to give a more accurate picture of trench life than official accounts.

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