Saturday, May 24, 2008

The Road to Total War (Part 3)

A war that began with much enthusiasm in August 1914 and was expected to be over in a matter of months soon bogs down into the stalemate of gruesome trenches stretching across the Western Front. Efforts to break through the continuous front such as the Battle of the Somme in 1916 accomplish little more than futile slaughter — 60,000 British killed and wounded in just one day (total losses by the end of the “battle” several months later were ten times that). The first primitive tanks (then called “landships”) make their appearance, but too late to play a truly decisive role.