Perhaps the best account of World War I warfare
and trench warfare is the book All Quiet on the Western Front
. It accurately and vividly describes the conditions in the trenches. Although written from the point of view of a German Private, the account is equally relevant to both sides of the lines. Think of poison gas
, constant bombardment
and mud so deep and thick that men who slip into a shell hole slowly sink, never to been seen again (to this day remains of World War I soldiers turn up in the French countryside).
The horror of Trench Warfare can not be described in any amount of text or in any number of photographs. Trench foot, a new type of condition resulting from the prolonged immersion in water, was so bad that soldiers feet literally rotted off, resulting in the amputation of the lower leg. Troops actually had to compete with rats for their food. Soldiers could not sleep because the rodents would run over their faces in the night. These were perhaps the largest and healthiest rats in history, gorging themselves on the flesh of dead troops. These are but a few of the many hardships and inhumane conditions at the front.