Good morning, we will finish with World War I and World War II documentaries for November today! December will be fun and frivolous documentaries. Last year I found it a challenge to find Christmas documentaries to fill the month, so this year I decided to do fun and frivolous to close out the year. The documentaries featured are documentaries to be shown more for fun and to fill a substitute teacher’s lesson plan than for something serious. Then the last weeks of December I will do my year in review, my Top 10 Lists, and finally take a week off from the blog.
For this documentary, I will conclude the month with World War I in Numbers, otherwise known as the Great War in Numbers. This episode of the first world war is nearly a year and a half old. Death and destruction have reached high numbers. It will get worse. It is the year of the Somme and Verdun. January 1916, bogged down neither side has achieved a breakthrough. The generals conclude that the only way to make way numbers and a very high number of numbers.
Ordinary men have become sacrificial lambs. It was carnage on an unimaginable scale. Those men trusted each other but did not trust the generals. Many of the new men arriving on the front are newly trained and young. The European powers use forced conscription to fill their ranks. However, the British soldiers outnumber both the Austrians and Germans. However, the British needed to recruit more soldiers and 1,500 people alone from Liverpool signed up. The record is 30,000. However, the initial patriotism has vanished and so the British people were forcibly conscripted into the military.
In 1916 the Battle of Verdun began. Germany wanted to kill as many French soldiers as it could. For the French, it was a matter of pride. Verdun was in Alsace-Lorraine, an area that they lost to Germany. They wanted it back. Before the battle, Germany shifted as many guns as it could. It was one of the greatest amounts of artillery found in the world.
The results were catastrophic. The French soldiers were reported as losing their minds from the amount of shelling they endured. At the start of the battle, they were not issued steel helmets. When the shelling stops, the Germans advanced. They drove the French back to their original defense. The Germans were tracking them in the skies. It was the highest number of German planes during the war. Five days in, and the Germans have the upper hand.
The Germans attempted to take Verdun itself and brought in 500,000 men. Unfortunately for the German Generals, they underestimated the French fighting spirit. The result of the battle was a meat grinder. Every French soldier was sent to Verdun to defend it. More French artillery was called for to give the Germans a taste of their own medicine. Huge losses were counted on both sides. The Germans expected the French to throw themselves into battle and they would be speedily slaughtered. Instead, they got a year-long battle where one thousand men lost their lives per day. It is a see-saw battle. Some villages changed hands fifteen times.
Another momentous battle was going to begin: the Battle of Jutland. It will be a battle between dreadnaught battleships. The British had implemented a strong blockade against Germany. The German Navy looked to end it and they looked at the Battle of Jutland. Would Germany end the blockade? Tune into this episode to find out!
This episode could be split into two: one on the battle of Verdun and the other on the Battle of Jutland for a lecture. It would be a good episode to show in a history class.
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