Anonymous asked in Arts & HumanitiesHistory · 9 months ago

How come WW1 had so many casualties in just 4 years?

Only other war before WW1 that killed so many in a short amount of time was the an lushan Rebellion 755-763. Killing around 20 million people.

32 Answers

  • Who
    Lv 7
    9 months ago
    Favourite answer

     when you are stuck in a trench for months it aint difficult for the enemy to range in on those trenches and the land between you and them

     you come out of them en-masse all they gotta do is open fire and they will kill you en-masse

    even if you only get wounded, in an age with no antibiotics your chances of survival are low, especially when you got to get back to your trench to get treatment in the 1st place

    (and by far most were killed as a result of artillery, not machine guns - The aim of the machine guns was to make you keep your head down in shell holes until the artillery killed you -( a machine gun is a straight line weapon - it has to have a clear line between you and it in order for a bullet to hit you - you stay in a hole it cant hit you - But a shell isnt - it comes down on you , and it dont even have to hit you - a piece of shrapnel from a shell going off 50 yards away can kill , AND that 50 yards could be in the air above you  (some shells were specifically designed to do this - they contained explosives but had hundreds of ball bearing packed around it . The shell goes off you got hundreds a ball bearings travelling at hundreds of miles an hour in all directions - much like a shotgun but with bigger pellets . A lot more "efficient" than a machine gun shooting 1 bullet at a time

    - If you are in a wood, a shell hitting a tree can causes splinters of wood to blast away and THEY can kill just as easily as a bullet can

    And poison gas was not intended to kill so much as cause panic and disable the enemy's will to fight - Yes some were killed using poison gas but very few compared to those killed by artillery

      This also goes for tanks - THEY were there mostly to get though the barbed wire so it didnt hold up the soldiers , But being very slow (and VERY unreliable) They too werent difficult targets in "no mans land" once the initial shock of them being used had worn off, and anti tank shells have been invented

     (in fact with early tanks you were almost as likely to be killed inside a tank as outside it - They didnt have exhaust pipes that led outside the tank- so you could be poisoned by CO fumes inside it - and there are also records of tank crew being driven insane by the terrific noise from the engines

    (Also remember - you dont have to "knock out" a tank as such, all you gotta do is disable it (much easier) so it just becomes a piece of junk on the battlefield that aint going anywhere . You think the crew would just stay there for several days with no food or water?)

  • 4 days ago

    Weaponry improvement, lousy tactics, and a system of management where the shot callers weren't properly held to account. 

  • Kev
    Lv 4
    9 months ago

    It's largely because of Industrial Revolution. The Industrial Revolution, a movement in which more machines were used, has allowed factories to produce items at a much faster rate in a larger number. This means more guns and bombs could be produced in a shorter time, allowing more soldiers to participate in the war. Technology has also allowed people to develop deadlier weapons, such as tank.

    Another reason is because the war involved a huge part of Europe instead of just several countries. There had been rivalries between European countries before, but it reached its climax prior to the start of WW1. Even worse, some European countries had so many colonies overseas that they could hire soldiers from their colonies to participate in the war. This means more lives were involved in the conflict.

  • 9 months ago

    The tanks machine gives chemical weapons artillery and guns to officers who will happily send the top men to specific deaths.

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  • John
    Lv 4
    9 months ago

    If you must know, in general even by the late eighteen century most still used other than firearms as war weapons.

    Firearms in general are considered illegal war weapons even now.

    If fact cowards and layabouts use them. And if there were more than the ten left you'd be able to get it from the horses mouth.

    Now freak from this freak mechanised future. I'll even repeat it.


    In the United States firearms are kept legal for constitutional purposes not YOUR purposes but as a general right.

    Scum consider using firearms in war. And weak countries threatened by overpopulated neighbors. Which is different.

    On a different note do you find a 34C breast size on women more attractive than a 36 or 38?

    Should there be laws in dance clubs for the dancers to have certain cup sizes?

    Hooters you understand was trying to discriminate because greedy big oil frequents the place and was bossing them around in the hiring area.

    Don't you think greedy big oil should lay off business?

    Should laws be passed so greedy wealthy, whether business or individual tries to boss others they get fined, if not whipped then forced into the stocks for a week?

    I noticed in my eastern travels the stocks had been removed and the pits too in some areas.

    Tsk tsk. These workmen better puttem back er' there's a-gonna be hangings!

    This is america not gay Europe or Asia! We is proud'f er' law an' tayke er' punishment with pleasure!

  • 9 months ago

    Tanks machine guns chemical weapons artillery and officers who would happily send the men over the top to certain death.

  • Anonymous
    9 months ago

    Advanced methods of killing, old fashioned methods of defense.

  • 9 months ago

    Tanks, advanced artillery, aircraft, submarines, chemical weapons - and mass starvation and disease.

  • Anonymous
    9 months ago

    The two sides got desperate and also germ warfare got more widespread

  • Marli
    Lv 7
    9 months ago

    Mechanized war, as one answer said.  Tanks, bomber and fighter planes, poison gases. Big Bertha type cannons that could shoot projectiles a mile or more. I don't know if the jeep was in use in World War I, but the car and the truck appeared. Wireless telegraphy too.  Some things may have been in the previous Boer War; but I doubt it. If they were in use then, they were better developed in the 1914-18 war.

    Trench diseases.  Flanders was cold and wet, and the mud contained the excrement of farm animals. Prolonged exposure in those ditches killed many.

    Russia's bad government.  Russia was not prepared for a big war. It could not produce the weapons and ammunition it needed.  She lost waves of soldiers and The survivors thought they were being sacrificed to save France, not their own nation. The Tsar was ineffectual and fatalistic and he was caught in the feud between his uncle Grand Duke Nicholas (the head of the forces) and his wife and her close advisor Rasputin (who knew less than nothing about warfare.) Besides, the Russian people thought the Tsaritsa was working for the enemy.  She was born in Germany and her brother the Grand Duke of Hesse was in the German army.

    Incompetence and infighting among the Allied generals.  The French and British distrusted each other, so there was poor cooperation.  The empire forces were led by British generals who considered them cannon fodder to spare the British Tommy. That did not raise the Canadians' morale. Not that Tommy was spared much. They died friend with friend and lost their lieutenants as rapidly as the Canadians did.  Bad planning about Gallipoli lost a lot too against the Turks.

    I don't know much about German casualties, but four years of trench warfare, gassing and strafing by air could not have been good for them either.

  • 9 months ago

    I think it just got out of control.  None of the participants realized how long it would take, how extensive it would get, how much damage it would do.  Everyone believed they needed to win at any cost, so the costs continued to rise and rise.

    Like the other guy said, technology helped make it more deadly--machine guns, poison gas, the airplane, etc.  There was no real strategy for winning the war, just kill more people than the other side.

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