WWI – Soldiers Through Time

WWI – Soldiers Through Time

By the turn of the twentieth-century, Europe was made up of six world powers. They were Germany, Italy, Great Britain, France, Austria-Hungary, and Russia. These nations were filled with nationalism, or great national pride. Most Europeans believed their nation to be superior to any other, and many were willing to go to war to demonstrate their will.

Did You Know?

European alliances entangled almost the entire continent into what became known as «the Great War.»

The Machine Gun

In 1884, Hiram Maxim made a gun. It was a weapon that used the recoil of one bullet to initiate the firing of the next button which would create a chain reaction of bullet fire. Maxim took his invention to the military leaders in Great Britain. But when they decided they had no need for such a weapon, he took it to Germany.

Did You Know?

There was a problem with the first machine guns because after firing for just two minutes it would often take an hour or two for the gun to cool down.

Secret weapon — Poison Gas

On April 22, 1915 a yellow-green cloud moved over the Allied trenches causing the troops to choke and cough up blood. The German army had developed a secret weapon, poisonous gas.

Did You Know?

This new chemical warfare caused gas masks to become part of the standard army uniform.

Trench Warfare

The invention of the machine gun and its rapid fire made warfare more deadly. So, both sides were forced to fight from deep trenches. Trenches were heavily armed and protected with barbed wire. They were built 12 feet deep in a zigzag pattern.

Did You Know?

The area between one trench and the enemy trench was known as «no man’s land.»


By 1916 the British had a new weapon they believed might end the long period of trench warfare. This weapon was the tank.

*The vehicle was called a tank to disguise its true purpose. When the first tanks were transported to France, they were covered and labeled «water tanks for Russia». The word tank stuck and has been used ever since.

Did You Know?

Only 18 of 49 tanks saw action at the Battle of the Somme. The others were stopped by mechanical problems and muddy ground.

Battle in the Skies

High above the trenches another even more deadly battle was taking place. In the skies pilots were fighting quick and decisive battles. Would be pilots would first be an«observer» which meant he was a passenger in a two-seated plane and would observe positions and details of the enemy when the plane flew over enemy lines. Then there was ground school, elementary training and finally, a fighter pilot.

Did You Know?

A flying «ace» was a pilot who was credited with shooting down more than five enemy planes.



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