Soldier Poses in a Trench
Suggested Teaching Instructions
Life in the trenches was difficult and came with many hazards and discomforts. Trench foot, a fungal infection, caused a soldier’s feet to swell, numb, and turn red or blue. During the early years of the war, thousands of soldiers needed toes or feet amputated and some even died from gangrene infections. The prevention of trench foot became a priority for all armies and involved changing socks several times a day and developing waterproof footwear. In addition to trench foot, soldiers living in the trenches had to deal with cramped living conditions and constant efforts to prevent unsanitary conditions. The latrine, or bathroom, was located within the trench system and required proper use and placement. Soldiers ate, slept, and worked in the same trench for days at a time. The floors had to be kept clear to make future digging easier. Life in the trenches of World War I became a symbol of soldier life and the stalemate that dominated the war effort.
How does war impact soldiers?
Check for Understanding
Describe the scene in the photograph and explain the situations under which a soldier must adapt during war.
In modern wars like Iraq and Afghanistan, what type of warfare is most often used? Explain with some level of detail how soldiers conduct the type of warfare you have identified in the previous question. How effective is this type of warfare? Do you think modern methods of war result in more or less casualties than trench warfare? Explain your answer.
English Language Arts: Imagine you are the soldier in the photograph. Write a letter home to your family describing life in the trench.
Art: Find a description of a World War I trench. Draw a picture of a trench system as it may have looked from the air.