Trench Warfare

World War I


World War I started in 1914 and concluded in 1918. It was the first man-made catastrophe of the 20th century. It began after the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand He was the heir to Austria-Hungary. WWI was the first use of chemical weapons, mass bombardment of civilians from the sky and the centuries first genocide. The U.S. became involved in 1917 and joined the Allie Powers consisting of Russia, France, and Britain. They battled the Central Powers which included Germany, Austria-Hungary, and Turkey. By the end of the war, 9 million people had lost their lives.

A stalemate occurred during the war. The stalemate was a result of Germany's plan to capture Paris in 42 days. Germany's plan was not achieved, so a stalemate followed.


Trench Warfare was used from the north sea to the border of Switzerland. Between the opposing trenches, no mans land-bombed out territory-existed. Life in the trenches were terrible. They were extremely unsanitary. Rats, lice, flooding, diseases and sickness all appeared in the trenches.

Use of Trenches in the War

The Allies and Central Powers trenches varied tremendously.


Three types of trenches.

  1. Front Line: 50 yards-1 mile from German front trench
  2. Support: men and supplies were ready in these trenches to assist those in the front line
  3. Reserve: men and supplies were used in emergencies
Connecting all these trenches were communication trenches. These allowed movement of messages, supplies and men. Some underground networks connected bunkers with other trenches.


  1. Elaborate tunnels and trenches, sometimes with living quarters
  2. Electricity, beds, toilets
  3. Established three week rotation schedule(soldiers moved from front to support to reserve trenches each week, then took a week "off". Here men could relax with sports, concerts, or plays)

New Weapons

New weapons were used in WWI. These included:

  • tanks
  • poison gas-could be exploding shell, or released as cloud of gas and was usually dropped in trenches
  • submarines-sunk military ships
  • airplanes-attacked from air