When people talk about war history, they usually focus most of their attention on World War II. It is understandable, after all, WW2 was the most deadly war in the history of mankind. However, World War I should not be forgotten. Like it or not, we have let some unknown facts about WW1 slip and be forgotten. Let’s look at them.
Guerrilla Media Tactics
America, one of the most powerful armies at the time, was not part of the war in the beginning. The Americans decided not to fight alongside the British and the French. Faced with a defeat, the British people had to find a way to draw US into the war. So, what did they do? They planted stories in US newspapers stirring up anger against German civilians living in the US. They used secret British agents to do that.
STDs infecting American soldiers
Condoms were invented in the 1850s. At the time, there were several major rubber companies mass producing rubber condoms. And while most allied forces allowed their soldiers to have a condom, the US did not. In fact, the US were the only allied power in WW1 not to provide its soldiers with condoms. The reason was the Comstock law that was enforced. The law did not allow any birth control devices nor information to be shipped abroad. The result was devastating. During WW1, more than 400,000 US soldiers were infected by STDs.
There were several truces
There was not an official truce during WW1. However, there few small and local truces. The most famous one is the Christmas truce of 1914. During the truce, German and British soldiers got out of the trenches and talked to each other. There were also reports of truces in 1915 and 1916. Some historians even mention the “live and let live” rule. That meant that soldiers in some trenches decided not to open fire on the enemy so they would not fire back on them.
Male and Female Tanks
Nowadays, the tank is a male noun. And it has always been a male noun. However, there was a time during WW1 when soldiers divided tanks into two groups: male and female tanks. There were two types of tanks introduced to the front, ones with machine guns and ones with cannons.
The ones with cannons were called male tanks, while the ones with machine guns were called female tanks. By the end of the war, tank technology advanced, particularly British tanks.
Therefore, by the end of the war, tanks were both male and female, armed with both heavy armament and lighten machine guns. Since WW1, the standard model for a tank design includes both machine guns and cannons.
Generals were not allowed to go over the top
During WW1, the prevailing opinion was that generals were too valuable to lose. Therefore, many believed that soldiers (lions) were led by incompetent generals (donkeys). The fact was that Generals lived miles behind the front, but visited the front lines every day. During battle, they were closer to the action than their counterparts are today. But it is a fact that they were not allowed to go over the top during battle, as they were considered too valuable to lose. Despite the rules, however, more than 200 generals were killed, captured, or wounded during WW1.
The many child soldiers
The youngest child soldier in the British army was Sidney Lewis, just 12 years old when he joined the army. He managed to join by lying about his age. And he wasn’t the only one. In fact, there were thousands of underage boys trying to get in the army and fight at the wrong. Most of them were motivated by patriotism, but others saw it as an escape from their dreary lives.