During the cold winter months of 1914-15, soldiers stationed on the Western Front sought shelter in the newly-built trenches that became so characteristic of the First World War. But these defence systems could not offer complete protection for front-line troops. Freezing cold weather, rain and mud made life in the trenches far from comfortable – and enemy artillery and snipers were a constant threat.
The Christmas Truce of 1914 has become almost legendary over time, with stories of German and British soldiers putting down their arms to play football in no man’s land. But what really happened? Find out from those who witnessed this incredible – and unexpected – piece of history.
When war broke out in August 1914, many said that it would be ‘over by Christmas’. By the end of the year, however, the high rate of casualties and shocking acts of violence against civilians made it clear that would not be the case. Here, those who lived through that time explain how they came to realize this.
As soon as the First World War broke out in August 1914, men from across Europe were sent into battle. Listen to some of them recall what they experienced – fighting on land, in the air and at sea – in the first month of the war.
Within days of the outbreak of war in 1914, armed forces across Europe were mobilised. Hear about the experiences of some of those who left their homes behind as they went off to the front.
How do you turn ordinary men into soldiers? Find out how some of the armed forces’ newest recruits reacted to military training in 1914 in Podcast 5: Training for war.
The outbreak of war in August 1914 affected thousands of people across Europe. Listen to the experiences of some of those who found themselves in the wrong place, at the wrong time.
In August 1914, Britain’s regular army numbered only 250,000. A recruitment campaign was immediately launched.
In this podcast, a range of people describe how and why men enlisted following the outbreak of war.
After weeks of speculation and mounting tension, Great Britain declared war on Germany on 4 August 1914.
Find out how people around the world reacted to the news of the outbreak of hostilities.
Here is the first episode in a series of podcasts that delve into IWM’s sound collection to bring you the voices of those who lived through the First World War. In this first podcast, find out why war broke out in 1914 from those who were there. How did people react to that fateful shot fired in Sarajevo?