What was life like for the woman and men on the battle field?

Conditions for men on the battlefront

Negative experiences

Source’s E1 and E2 show the extreme conditions in the trenches. The extremely poor weather, both hot and cold, resulted in huge amounts of high density mud or boiling hot fly ridden conditions. They not only had to face machine gun fires while running towards enemy trenches but had to run through this mud, often getting stuck or going through it very slowly. Wounded soldiers would die because they did not receive the proper health care needed. Diseases spread on the battlefront were trench foot, dysentery and other infectious diseases. These diseases were often caused by contaminated food. It happened as a result by too much time within a trench and keeping the feet too moist they would get diseases from leaving it untreated. On the other hand we also have source A providing us with evidence that when it was flooding it was extremely hot in the trenches. This was not an improvement was there where flies and disease spread just as badly.

Positive experiences

Going off to war gave men the opportunity to experience and gain survival skills. It gave them an opportunity to grow as a person. They became stronger, for the reason that they were forced to sacrifice everything, to leave behind relative and loved ones in order to fight in hour of your country. This also made the men feel that they were doing something brave for their countries. In source E we can see proof that the trenches where awful conditions and were often full of mud. In Source F we can see that the soldiers were seen as war heroes.  


Conditions for women on the battlefront
Positive experiences…

Before WWI, women were basically expected to care for the home and children. During WWI, that changed. Women were recruited as switchboard operators and to work for the Red Cross, tending to soldiers overseas and on the home front. They also went to work in factories to produce the parts for war machines. The nurses of WWI worked on the front line, helping the wounded soldiers, wish helped them gain confidence as they helped men who were on their death beds. We can see this in source C where the soldier is getting cared for by nurses. They made dressings for scars and battle wounds, ran canteens, and drove the ambulances. Nurses also organized, cleaned, and set-up hospital rooms and equipment. Experienced nurses would be stationed at hospitals along the front lines.

Negative experiences

We can see, through source B, that there was a high demand for women to work as nurses. This was a negative effect because it did not only endanger the men fighting the war but it endangered the women who were caring for the wounded men at the battle font. In source D we can also see that having women work on wounded soldiers had a negative emotional effect on women.


     Source A:

by Robert Nichols


It is midday; the deep trench glares….
A buzz and blaze of flies….
The hot wind puffs the giddy airs….
The great sun rakes the skies.

No sound in all the stagnant trench
Where forty standing men
Endure the sweat and grit and stench,
Like cattle in a pen.

Sometimes a sniper’s bullet whirs
Or twangs the whining wire,
Sometimes a soldier sighs and stirs
As in hell’s frying fire.

From out a high, cool cloud descends
An aeroplane’s far moan,
The sun strikes down, the thin cloud rends….
The black speck travels on.

And sweating, dizzed, isolate
In the hot trench beneath,
We bide the next shrewd move of fate
Be it of life or death.

                        Found on:  http://www.firstworldwar.com/poetsandprose/mia_battle.htm

I am using this as a source because it is primary source telling how it must have felt for the men in the battle field. Robert Nichols severed in the front-line and I think it would be a trust worthy source it was a first-hand experience he was writing from

Historical Content:

  • This poem was published in 1917.
  •  It was written in Britain
  •  It was produced by Robert Nichols a war poet and author who served on the front-line

The poem was written to make people aware of what was happening on the front-line.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Source B   



 Found on:  http://www.ww1propaganda.com/world-war-1-posters/women-ww1?page=4

I am using this source because it shows that women where in needed great numbers to work as nurses during the World War One. It shows us that women also had to work on the battle front as nurses for the wounded soldiers.

Historical Content

  • Published/created in 1917
  •  It was published in New York
  •  It was published by John H with Eggers Co.
  •  The purpose was to recruit nurses to help with wounded soldiers from the war.



Source C


Found on: http://anzacs-roleofwoman-ww1.weebly.com/role-of-nurses.html This source shows both the conditions that the men were enduring during the war as well as the fact that women also worked on the front-line.

  • There is no historical context of this picture however the website is Australian speaks of 3000 Australian nurses being positioned wherever service was needed.

Source D

Video source of French Nurse : http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XYJS1_g-zpo

I found this source very inspirational as it shows truly the emotion that was bough to people during the time of World War 1

Historical Context

  • The Video was posted on YouTube on 1/10/09 by Russell Tarr.  I think the video was made because the nurse experienced the situation and the circumstances war caused for everyone. I think that her emotional response is something that you can’t see in other sources and that it can give us a lot more information on the effects war had on men and women.
  • The nurse was a visitor at the hospital in 1916


Source E1 and E2


These photographs show us exactly the conditions of the trenches where the soldiers fought from.

Historical Content

  • E1 Unknown
  • E2 A German trench occupied by British Soldiers, July 1916