Trench Warfare In World War One

1217 words - 5 pages

World War 1 (1914-1918) is perhaps best known for being a war of attrition, fought in trenches as means for opposing armies to hold their positions, playing a major role offensively and defensively in World War 1. These trenches consisted of ditches dug out of the ground to give troops protection from enemy machine-gun fire and artillery bombardments, and these trench systems led to attacks and counter attacks across open land, as well as the use poison gas as the opposing forces desperately tried to gain land in a static war. My enquiry therefore, looks into the main features of trench warfare by utilizing a wide range of five sources consisting of: primary and secondary information, different media types, direct evidence and interpretations. With such a broad range of sources, we can hope that useful and reliable information can be determined and aid in the enquiry.
Source F is the most useful source because its content provides the greatest insight into the features of trench warfare. The content elaborates on different types of artillery barrages ( for example the creeping barrage), records infantry charges, and looks as mortar guns as well as alternative warfare’s like the use of mines and defensive tactics like the use of barbed wire. Additionally, the source has very few limitations regarding provenance, as it’s a documentary commissioned by the British War Office in 1916, and portrays direct, primary evidence from the trenches. However, we do know some scenes were staged a training centre and the footage was selectively cut together before the documentary was distributed to empire and British audiences. This causes the source to be less useful as it will have the purpose to show Britain in a good light and glorify war, thereby perhaps exaggerating the view of the effectiveness of weapons and Britain’s “position” in the war. Therefore, limiting its reliability towards my
The second most useful source is Source E, “War Horse, 2011” a film by Steven Spielberg adapted from Michael Morpurgo’s 1982 novel. This source is especially useful due to its broad range of information concerning trench warfare. This includes heavy artillery guns, artillery bombardments, tank use, and machine gun effectiveness, the inefficiency of cavalry, gas attacks and barbed wire use. All of these factors draw parallels with other sources like the use of tanks mirrored in Source B, therefore making the information more useful due to its greater reliability, which is especially important due to this source being Spielberg’s interpretation and secondary evidence. The provenance of the source prevents problems though, due to the purpose being to entertain and not to inform the audience. It is a dramatization and will embellish the truth portraying a jaded perspective on events to keep audiences interested, for example the trenches being shown as straight to follow the movie plot, when in actual fact they were “zig-zag” so there would be less damage by artillery...

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