Essay about World War I

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World War I was a stalemate right from the outbreak of the war as a result of trench warfare. With the introduction of this system, a piece of land stretching from the Belgian coast, through France, and ending in Switzerland, became the venue for majority of the conflict. For almost three years, this line shifted by no more than a few hundred yards. All of this changed when the United States joined the war and prompted Germany to make an all-out drive on the Allies so as to end the war before the American Army reached full strength on the battlefield. The American Expeditionary Force allowed the Allies to take the offensive, thereby ending the static state of war that had settled on the Western Front as a result of trench warfare. The…show more content…
Conversely, at places like Zonnbeke and the Ypres Salient, the length between front line trenches was a mere 7 to 8 yards. The extreme to this situation was at Bellewarde Ridge in 1915. The British and Germans actually shared the same front-line trench (Ellis 24). With this structure in place, any real gain of land on one side’s part was nigh impossible. When an attack occurred hundreds would die. What resulted was the use of raids. Why were trench raids used? Why did so many men die for a gain of a few yards or to acquire a small amount of field intelligence? The answer lies in the word “morale”. Morale is what a soldier needs to keep fighting even after seeing fellow men die right beside him. “The ground was strewn with our dead, and in all directions were wounded men crawling on their hands and knees. It was piteous and it is a dreadful thought that there are occasions when one must resist the entreaties of men in such condition and leave them to get in as best they can, or lie out in the cold and wet, without food, and under fire, as they often have to do for days and nights together.” (qtd. Fletcher) Morale can also take a more sinister turn towards jealousy. Many people believed that raids were a product of jealousies among the staff. If a raid were to be successful, then the general would gain honor and prestige among his men as well as his fellow staff. As the

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