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The Great War
Prologue Chapter 1 Chapter 2 Chapter 3 Chapter 4 Timeline Maps & Battles The Shaping of the 21st Century Historians
OverviewTotal WarSlaughterNagel/StockwellEtem/Wegner

Total War
Woman in arms factory
Woman in arms factory
In the spring of 1915 the trenches along the western front were filled with millions of soldiers, at the average rate of one soldier per four inches of trench. The job behind the front lines was to keep the men fed, equipped and ready to continue the fighting until the end came.
The civilians behind the lines were as important to victory as the men on the lines. Because of their value to the war-making power of each nation, civilians became the target of the enemy. Since both sides targeted both civilians and military personnel, and mobilized men and resources at an unprecedented rate, the Great War was a "total war."

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Dead French soldiers in trench
Dead French soldiers in trench
In early 1916, the British had over 1 million men in Belgium and France, while the French and German armies had re-supplied their front line troops. The stage was set for both sides to try to make the breakthrough on the battlefield that would assure each victory.
Instead, by year's end, both sides would lose nearly one million men with very little change in position of the front line trenches. The battlefields became "killing fields" and only one word, "slaughter", accurately describes the extent of the killing, violence and destruction.

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Fritz Nagel Fritz Nagel
German Invasion of Belgium
C.I. Stockwell C.I. Stockwell
Western Front
Hasan Etem Hasan Etem
Defending Gallipoli
Armin Wegner Armin Wegner
Armenian Genocide

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Timeline Maps & Battles Shaping of the 21st Century Historians War Index Resources About the Show