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Essay On World War One.

2857 words - 11 pages

At the start of the First World War, in the summer and early fall of 1914, German troops poured across neutral Belgium and into France behind the thunder of artillery, the lightning of explosions, a rain of shells and a hail of shrapnel. The effects were both immediate and long term and they encompassed all aspects of life in Northeastern France. Certain environmental effects of the war on the French countryside and cities were immediate and attributable to the destruction that is normally associated with war. Some of the consequences were temporary, lasting some 1-year to 2 decades. Others were of medium term consequence, enduring for about half a century. And a few of the repercussions have import, which affect the area even today and are expected to continue into the foreseeable future. These effects run the gamut from the unceasing uncovering of unexploded ordnance to the psychological effects of the stress of the Front on soldiers and civilians alike to the political and cultural changes instituted in Elsass-Lohringen (Alsace-Lorraine) to changes in agricultural fertility, demography and the economic impact of the war.The initial phases of the war it is a most important article of interest that the movement of the armies was constrained by the technology of the early Twentieth Century. While much has rightly been made of the fact of railroad involvement in the transportation of troops and materiel, and the mobilization ability which the rail systems of France and Germany provided was surely of great import to the initiation of campaigns and offensives, at the end of the Twentieth Century, when high mobility was the norm, it was difficult to catch that the speed of the advance that was forced. Rail lines were extended as close to the Front as possible, a combatant would, deny the use of their rail lines to an attacker by destroying the lines if they came under imminent danger of falling into the enemy's hands, thereby reinforcing this constraint. Until the introduction of the tank at the battle of Cambrai, the armies moved without serious mechanization; and even after Cambrai, they were unable to fully exploit the newer transportation technologies until late in the war and even then only to a limited extent. The first tanks had a top speed of about five miles an hour, or about the walking speed of a horse. Then, a major factor in the development of the stalemate on the Western Front stemmed from the inability to move armies over long distances swiftly.This stalemate holds the primary responsibility for the damage wrought on Northeastern France. The opposing lines fortified their positions by excavating trenches and reinforcing them with redoubts, strong points, fortresses and supply facilities. By November 1914 trench warfare was institutionalized. This defensive alignment of the two contending sides ensured unceasing disturbance to the areas within which the opposing armies struggled and, thus inhibited the area's ability to recover.The...

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