Western Front


Explain how the conditions experienced by frontline soldiers on the Western Front physically and psychologically affected them.

There were many physical and psychological conditions that the frontline soldiers experienced on the Western Front. The physical conditions that I will talk about are trench rats, trench foot, body lice, lack of food, sleep and privacy, as well as starvation, bacterial disease and sickness, weather and hygiene. The psychological conditions are shellshock, boredom, experiencing near death experiences,   and coping with the loss of friends and family who were also in the war.

When at war, it was nothing like any soldier had ever expected. Frontline soldiers on the Western Front were put through long periods where there was no fighting and many physical conditions affected them. The main ones were trench foot, trench rats and body lice. As the soldiers, when at war, lived in the trenches twenty-four hours a day, trench foot was a common problem. It was caused by constantly having wet feet as the trenches were always mostly mud and water. It was hard not to catch this horrible disease which was excruciatingly painful and the very severe cases had to be evacuated. Soldiers were not only evacuated because they could no longer fight anymore, it was also the mental affect on the soldiers who didn’t have trench foot.   Seeing the horrific pain and what happens to their feet could easily shut down a soldier’s mind and he might start to think to himself, ‘what on earth am I doing here.’ Having trench foot would also cause a foul smell and so to prevent getting it at all, dry socks were vitally important and gum boots were even provided for the troops who were in the most unprotected areas. They also provided part of the trench as a spot where two men at a time, around once a day, to rub each others feet with grease. Another large problem in the war were trench rats. Most men that were killed in the trenches died almost right were they...