Life in the trenches is not what you would ever want to experience during WW1.
Trench warfare was a popular method of attack and defense during WW1 as they are dugouts or underground rooms used as officer’s quarters and command post. The trenches didn’t consist of a large area for the men so it would get crowded in small areas. From the start to the end, soldiers had settled in these trenches throughout most of the war fighting or doing some sort of job. Most people say that life in the trenches was a living hell, but many soldiers had dealt with diseases, poor living conditions, and hard working labor which they make up an important part of world history. Diseases severely affected a numerous amount of men during the war.
It was a big problem because there was not much medicine that could cure or treat the diseases the soldiers had. In the trenches, there were not a lot of doctors or health professionals so soldiers waited quite some time before getting their treatments. If a soldier caught the disease, he would have to delay in taking part of the war so he could recover. Without much professional care and treatment, many men suffered from these diseases and died in the trenches. Some of the common diseases that spread were blindness or burns from mustard gas, influenza, shell shock, typhoid, trench foot, trench fever, and malaria.
There were other types of minor diseases that could be easily recoverable but most diseases the men received were life-threatening. One of the diseases that mainly occurred in the trenches was Trench foot. Trench foot is caused by exposure to wet and damp conditions for a long period of time taking up to as long as 6 months to recover because of losing blood circulation.
This caused a delay to soldiers who had this disease because they weren’t able to fight in the war. Another disease that was special to trenches was Trench fever, caused by body lice, and was very contagious. Body lice were when lice would infest their bodies and clothes, making the soldiers very uncomfortable and itchy.
But body lice was very hard to exterminate because soldiers could not wash properly in the trenches. Bullet wounds and gunshots were not the only ways of dying during the war; diseases were also a cause of death to soldiers. Living in the trenches was not considered pleasant or comfortable. Not being able to stay clean every day by washing up or changing for weeks was a daily obstacle soldiers had to deal with. Soldiers on the front line were not given the chance to take regular baths and change their clothes.
The baths were large communal makeshift locations like breweries. Most trenches were filled with rats, lice and frogs living there. Rats would often eat soldier’s food and at the actual soldiers, while they slept, lice caused the disease Trench Fever. The weather conditions during WW1 caused trench foot because of the persistent water build up in the trenches the flesh of the feet would be wet and cold.
The injuries became fatal and infected when there was not a dry environment to heal in. Latrines were outhouses that were used in the trenches by soldiers which was a deep hole dug in the ground as much as possible, with a plant mounted on top to sit on, but they were more than just outhouses. Latrines became targets for enemy snipers and shellfire, and the health hazard for the men in the trenches was unsanitary. It was dangerous at times to go to the latrine and the smell would often linger over the trenches. The best-made latrines were in the forms of buckets, often officers were assigned to be sanitary personnel. Those officers job was to keep the latrines in a good condition and the job was mostly used as a punishment.
A man always had to do some sort of job in the trenches whether it be cleaning, moving supplies, washing clothes, repairing, etc. There was always a set agenda for what needed to be done in the trench. First, men awake at dawn and then go through inspections throughout the trench. Then, they do their chores and other essential works to sustain the trench. Lastly, a few men prepare to go to rest while the others stay on guard duty. Guard duty was a very important job because you have to keep an eye out for hostile units coming unexpectedly.
Men had to warn their crew to be prepared to fire when they sought danger from their enemy. Other jobs included inspections, digging, fixing, supplying, cooking, etc. Many of these jobs were simple and required less work and focus versus repairing, fixing, and being on guard duty. Work in the trenches was vital to making sure everything is sustained and kept tidy. Most people say that life in the trenches was a misery, but soldiers had to battle through diseases, poor living conditions, and hard working labor which they make up an important part of American history. Men living in these harsh conditions in the trenches dealt with so much pain through blood, sweat, and tears to win this war. Each and every person who took part in the war should be incredibly honored because they sacrificed themselves to great measured of battle through the living hell of trench warfare.
Believe it or not, these men not only showed pride and commitment to the army, but they showed leadership and authority to people today through their fearless attitudes even though they lived in the worst conditions anyone could ever inhabit.