History Assessment: How Has WW1 Been Remembered? WW1 has, and always will be seen as one, if not the most significant war in all of history. One of the reasons for it being such a tragic event was that it was deemed at the time to have been ‘the war to end all wars,’ however that tragically was not the case. World War One was caused by several contributing factors, which resulted on Britain declaring war on Germany. They are: The alliance system, Imperialism, The Naval Race, The Schlieffen Plan and finally, the assassination of Franz Ferdinand. 1.
The alliance system: At the end of the 19th century, alliances were made between countries. The alliances were formed so that if any of the countries in an alliance went to war, the other countries would have to help the country that had gone to war. At this point, there were two major alliances. The first consisted of Germany, Austro-Hungary and Italy, named the Triple Alliance. The other, made up of Britain, France and Russia, was named the Triple Entente. As these alliances were formed, there became immediate friction between the two alliances, as each one tried to overpower the other. 2.
Imperialism: At that time, Kaiser, as well as the rest of Germany wanted a vast empire, like the British. Although they had the money as well as the resources, they had nothing to show for it. Kaiser wanted Germany to have access to raw materials and new markets. He also wanted to give Germany more respect. This angered Britain as Germany were trying to take some of Britain’s land. 3. The Naval Race: Britain at the beginning of the 20th century had the best Navy in the world. Germany wanted to have the best navy instead, and in 1906, when Britain launched the HMS Dreadnought, Germany ‘wanted in. Great Britain by 1914 had 38 dreadnoughts and dreadnought battle cruisers in comparison with Germany’s 24. This resulted with even more tension between the countries. 4. The Schlieffen Plan: At this point, Germany believed that a war with Russia was imminent, in which case France, being part of the Triple Entente, would have to go to war also. Because of this, Germany believed that they would be attacked from both the French and Russian borders, therefore they devised the Schlieffen Plan. The Schlieffen Plan consisted of mobilising German troops, then invading France (Paris) through Belgium.
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Once France had been taken, the German troops would then head East and defend the German-Russia border. 5. The Assassination: The assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand was the final event leading up to the First World War. For a while, the Austrians had tried make a “Greater Serbia,” therefore a group of freedom fighters decided to put an end to it. After Ferdinand was assassinated, serious disputes were occurring between Austro-Hungary and Serbia, and as Germany was part of the Triple Alliance, they had promised to back Austro-Hungary. Using Austria invading Serbia as an excuse, Russia mobilised its troops, followed by Germany.
Eventually, Germany declared war on Russia, before declaring war on France also. When Germany invaded Belgium, Britain declared war on Germany. Why is WW1 Seen as Such a Tragic War? Men were needed to sign up to fight for their country as the war progressed. Large amounts of propaganda were being used to attract people to sign up for the army, and people who didn’t sign up were considered cowardly. However, one of the reasons people signing up was a mistake was because the majority of people, including the government, assumed that the war would have been over by that Christmas.
This meant that many people signed up rather naively as they thought they would get good experience, they would be able to travel and that it generally would be good fun. The war carried on for around four years, during which time one of the few morale boosters would be that the war was deemed as “The War To End All Wars. ” As this was not the case, you could say rather extremely those who died in the war, died for nothing. What made this war more tragic than previous wars was the new technology which had not been in wars antecedent to this one.
For example, WW1 was the first times where tanks and planes were used, and the guns had evolved incredibly quickly. Because the weapons were more powerful than before, men were being killed by the thousands on each side of the trench. Another thing was trench warfare. After four years at war, both sides were still at a stalemate, making the battle itself completely unnecessary. Finally, one of the most catastrophic reasons for the war being so tragic was the tactics which the sides used. For a modern war with modern warfare, tactics used by each side were surprisingly ancient.
One example of this was the Battle of the Somme; men were sent out to walk across no-mans land, where they were mowed down by the modern machinery. In the battle itself on the first day alone, almost 20,000 British soldiers lost their lives, with around 45,000 injuries also. What was Unique/Special about Warfare in WW1? As mentioned earlier, battles changed drastically from previous wars, due to the fact that new technology. The two new main pieces of technology which were introduced into the war were: Aeroplanes and Tanks. Aeroplanes
As the first aeroplane was invented in 1903 by the Wright brothers, there hadn’t been much opportunity to use them in wars, partially due to the fact that they hadn’t developed much. However, with WW1 being the first time that they were being used in warfare, they decided to use the aeroplanes to their advantage as much as they could. In the war, 5 different types of aeroplane were used. 1. Observation: An aeroplane would fly over the battleground taking photographs of the battleground. Sometimes, the photographer would get out of the plane so he got a good photo. The photo on the right shows this.
They would then provide their teams with the photographs so they got a better view of their territory. They were useful in the war because they gave their allied team an advantage. 2. Fighters: The second of the aeroplanes was the fighter plane. These held two people- a gunner and a pilot. They were fast and easy to manoeuvre, and their job was to destroy any of the enemy’s planes. 3. Bombers: Used to stop production on the other side, these planes would bomb places like factories and docks. The advantage of this is that they could completely disrupt the production of guns for example.
If the company couldn’t make the guns because their factory had been destroyed, then there would be a shortage of the guns on the battlefield, meaning the opposition would have a strong advantage. 4. Ground Attack: This was probably the most dangerous job in the air. The people inside the plane would fly exceedingly low whilst another person would drop grenades and other objects into the trenches of the opposition to try and disrupt things as much as possible. 5. Naval Warfare: Finally, this plane could land in the water, and could then be lifted back onto a naval ship using a crane.
Also, the Sopwith Pup could take off from the water in 6 metres, and in a 20 knot wind. Tanks Tanks were originally designed so that they could break the stalemate between the trench warfare. Initially, the Royal Navy provided the crew for the tank. The first time a tank was ever used was on 15th September 1916, where a D1 was driven at Deville Wood. Shortly afterwards thirty-six tanks were used at Flers. Although the appearance of the new weapon stunned their German, these early tanks proved notoriously unreliable. Trenches
The trenches were the main place where the whole of the Great War was fought. Conditions varied in the trenches, usually from bad to horrendous. Because people were being killed in their thousands, mounds of carcasses would assemble, and decompose either in the trenches, or around them. Rats were another problem, with there being two rats in particular, brown and black. Both rats were feared, however, the brown rat was the worst. The brown rat feasted itself of human remains, and could reach incredible sizes-anything up to the size of a cat.
Men tried desperately to remove the rats, yet a single female fat can have up to 900 offspring in a single year, where they would continue to spread diseases, and contaminating food. Other creatures were also in the trenches. Some included lice and frogs. Lice caused trench fever, which created severe pain, then a fever. Another problem which could occur in the trenches was a horrible condition called trench foot. Stagnant water and unsanitary conditions caused the foot to virtually decompose. If the problem became severe enough, it could result with the infected area becoming amputated.
The photo on the left shows a soldiers who had severe trench foot. Who was Affected by WW1? Those people who lived in Britain at that time were affected in many ways. As many people as possible were required to sign up for the army in WW1, sometimes refusing to collaborate earned you a place in prison. Women were recruited into the armed forces as nurses, drivers, cooks and telephonists. Passed in August 1914, The Defence of the Realm Act let the government control all of the coal mines, railways and shipping. Lloyd George was elected as the Minister of Munitions and organised the opening of many state-run ammunitions factories.
So as to prevent strikes, the government worked with many unions. As many of the men were away, there was a dramatic reduction in the workforce. This meant that those businesses where a woman wasn’t there to work had to close. WW1 was also a first in that it was the first time civilians were majorly targeted, and killed by explosives. Rationing took place which affected day to day life in Britain. For a country which had become so accustomed to having large amounts of food readily available, having minimal amounts of food became difficult for many people. The main rationing was to foods such as meat, sugar, butter, jam and tea.
This was introduced late into the war, but remained for a while afterwards as well. Lastly, was the biggest thing which affected people on the home front: Propaganda. Propaganda played a gargantuan part in WW1, and not just for recruiting soldiers either. The other two types of propaganda used were to get the British to despise the Germans more than they did already, and to try and boost morale. Many soldier’s letters home were adapted before they reached the intended reader, so that it looked like the soldier was in a better predicament than he really was. Newspapers were also changed. The Tribunal” was a pacifist newspaper which got shut down because of its bad press. Lies were made up about German atrocities. One very famous headline in a newspaper was: “Germans crucify Canadian officer. ” Even though this story was completely false, the English civilians bought it, and it continued to spur their hatred towards Germany. Another form of propaganda used was in a film called “The Somme. ” The film-makers deliberately used images of men dying, which upset many viewers. Why has WW1 been remembered? The Great War, has, and always will be remembered.
This is due to the fact that it is probably one of the most crucial events in the whole of British history. Casting a psychological blow on the whole nation, there were around 700,000 British deaths, as well as around 1,500,000 injured soldiers. By looking at the table on the right, you can see the magnitude of the war. Therefore, people wanted a way to remember those who had served in the war. Six months after the war had ended, a Peace Parade was scheduled, to go with a ceremony every year on Armistice Day. It was to be on the 11th November, at 11am, the day and time the fighting had ended.
Since 1919, many monuments have been erected, many ceremonies have taken place, and many memorials have been held, all of which to celebrate the bravery of the soldiers who fought in the Great War. Acts of remembrance continue today. What once was called Armistice Day is now called Remembrance Day. At 11 am, people all over the country stand in silence to remember the dead of the Great War. Poppies are also used when remembering the war. Growing in Flanders Fields, a battle territory, the red flower became the international symbol of the war. The war should be remembered because otherwise those people would have died for nothing.
I believe that the sheer magnitude of people who lost their lives fighting, whether they were an ally or an enemy, deserved to have some recognition. The bravery of those people is staggering, many men who went out to war knowing that they would most likely not return. That is the reason why. Whoever was fighting were doing it because they believed in what they were fighting in. It actually becomes inspirational to me to think that it was done to try and stabilise the future. The only thing I can hope for now is that I will be alongside people on November 11th, at 11am who all can recognise the courage of these great men.
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