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Wounded men were carried or escorted back to field hospitals for treatment, while the dead could only be buried if there was a suitable break in the fighting. Yet it was rare that men disobeyed the order to attack: most First World War troops were generally compliant. What motivated men to fight under such terrible conditions? What kept their morale high despite their fear and physical exhaustion? Traditionally, the authorities believed — or hoped — that men would be motivated by loyalty to an idea: usually patriotism.
French and Serbian soldiers were defending their homeland against invasion, while British, German and Austrian soldiers were encouraged to focus on their duty to their King or Emperor.
These ideas encouraged men to volunteer for military service and could keep their spirits high through long spells of front-line service, but once under fire men needed more than ideals to maintain their courage. Effective training also helped, making soldiers familiar with the chaos and fear of the battlefield so that their actions in battle became second nature to them. But armies did not leave men's behaviour in battle down to chance: the system of military discipline existed to coerce them into obedience. Many hundreds of soldiers were executed by their own armies for military offences during the conflict.
Some 60 million soldiers from all over the world served in the First World War, fighting in locations varying from France to Iraq, Greece to China, the North Sea to the Pacific Ocean, and experiencing a huge range of types of combat. Yet wherever they fought, the impact of modern technologies combined with the political circumstances of the war made First World War combat a unique and terrible experience. Usage terms Public Domain Footnotes  E. Lussu, Sardinian Brigade trans. Marion Rawson, Prion Books, pp. The text in this article is available under the Creative Commons License.
Combat and the soldier's experience in the First World War. In a war that saw new weaponry technology and great numbers of casualties, Assistant Professor Vanda Wilcox considers the common experiences of soldiers in active combat. The men and women who served in the First World War endured some of the most brutal forms of warfare ever known. Millions were sent to fight away from home for months, even years at a time, and underwent a series of terrible physical and emotional experiences.
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The new technologies available to First World War armies combined with the huge number of men mobilised made the battlefields of horrific, deadly and terrifying places. Photograph of Woman in the Russian cavalry savage division Female member of the Russian savage division, part of the Russian imperial guard, July Usage terms Public Domain.
Technological developments Technological developments in the late 19th century had made artillery and machine guns extraordinarily effective defensive weapons , creating a deadly zone of fire in front of the defenders' positions.
Images Photograph from showing Italian machine-gunners in Carnia, a primary war front in northeast Italy. The blue shaded areas mark the wet and waterlogged areas facing the Front. A British officer in his hut dug into the side of a trench, The hut has walls reinforced with sandbags, hay bales to protect against shell attacks, and a brick floor.
Postcard showing soldiers fighting in the Belgian city of Dendermonde. Images Italian soldiers leave a trench to begin an assault, This photograph from , by Canadian-born photographer Charles Hilton DeWitt Girdwood , shows injured and killed soldiers lying in a field after charging. Further information and discussion may be on the article's talk page. June This article needs attention from an expert in Military history. Please add a reason or a talk parameter to this template to explain the issue with the article. WikiProject Military history may be able to help recruit an expert.
This is a Korean name ; the family name is Yang. Retrieved June 18, The Second World War. Stackpole Books. Minneapolis, MN. United States Coast Guard. Office of Public and International Affairs.
- Combat and the soldier's experience in World War One - The British Library.
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Dismay and loneliness is written on the face of this young Japanese man, wearing a Nazi uniform, in a roundup of German prisoners on the beaches of France. The Japanese man is giving his name and number to an American Army captain. Series: Activities, Facilities, and Personalities, - Archived from the original on March 4, Retrieved June 6, CS1 maint: Unrecognized language link.
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