Background information for students
The technology of flight was still in its infancy so though still dangerous, unlike in World War II, the power of aerial attack was not devastating to a static defensive line. Armour also could not be used to smash such a line until later in the war. Tanks were not invented until 1916 and even then they were unreliable and subject to breakdown.
This changing balance meant that, in places where an army could not go around entrenched enemy soldiers, they had to dig in opposite them and then try surging attacks to break the position.
When the German advance on Paris was halted early in World War I the Germans simply established trench lines on occupied Belgian and French soil. These lines would eventually stretch from the English Channel to the border of neutral Switzerland. The area became known as the Western Front because it was Germany’s western front line in the war. The Allies could not go around this line so they had to go through it in order to liberate neutral Belgium which was already occupied by Germany.
Battles developed which resulted in hundreds of thousands of casualties on both sides but with little territorial gain; the Germans were largely able to maintain the position of these lines until 1918. Over 290 000 Australians fought on this front and over 45 000 were killed or died of their wounds on the Western Front during the war.
A soldier of the Western Front became familiar with the dangers of being shot by machine gun or sniper or of being shelled both by high explosives and poisonous gas. A new medical condition surfaced which became known as ‘shell shock’, where soldiers suffered severe psychological trauma that manifested itself in physical symptoms. The soldiers fought like this for over four years, alternately living in trenches and behind the lines in billets, facing death, through the mud, snow and heat of the changing seasons.
Identify one historical fact about the nature of warfare in World War I from each source.
Using sources 1 to 6 identify causes of death and injury by the enemy.
Using sources 1 to 6 identify causes of death and injury by factors other than the enemy.
In source 1 what is Ernest de Mouncy’s opinion of someone who is slightly wounded?
In source 3 what conditions is Archibald Barwick describing that can also be seen in Source 4?
In source 6 locate the trench system in the aerial photo. How did you identify it?
How reliable are these sources as evidence of the war on the Western Front? Explain the reasons for your conclusion.
Use sources 1 to 6 and your own research to explain the significance of the campaigns on the Western Front to the outcome of World War I (300 words).
The Making of the Modern World
Depth Study 3 Australians at War: World Wars I and II (1914-1918, 1939-1945)
The making of the modern world from 1750 to 1918. It was a period of industrialisation and rapid change in the ways people lived, worked and thought. It was an era of nationalism and imperialism, and the colonisation of Australia was part of the expansion of European power. The period culminated in World War I (1914 - 1918) and World War II (1939 - 1945)
An overview of the causes of the war, why men enlisted and where Australians fought (ACDSEH021, ACDSEH095, ACDSEH024)
- locate and sequence the places where Australians fought The scope and nature of warfare (ACDSEH095, ACDESH107)
- describe the nature of warfare during the Gallipoli campaign Impact of the wars on Australia (ACDSEH096, ACDSEH109)
- outline the Australian governments’ control on the home for each of the following: conscription use of government propaganda changing roles of women
HT5-1 explains and assesses the historical forces and factors that shaped the modern world and Australia
HT5-4 explains and analyses the causes and effects of events and developments in the modern world and Australia
HT5-5 identifies and evaluates the usefulness of sources in the historical inquiry process
HT5-9 applies a range of relevant historical terms and concepts when communicating an understanding of the past
HT5-10 selects and uses appropriate oral, written, visual and digital forms to communicate effectively about the past for different audiences
|Comprehension: chronology, terms and concepts
Analysis and use of sources
Perspectives and interpretations
Explanation and communication
LEARNING ACROSS THE CURRICULUM