Poor Living Conditions In All Quiet On The Western Front

1067 Words5 Pages

Throughout the first world war, both Canadian and German troops were challenged with a variety of hardships, the most prominent being the poor living conditions of the trenches. When reading the books, Generals Die In Bed and All Quiet on the Western Front, we can see the lack of sleep, lice in clothing, and subpar equipment that the German and Canadian troops were required to deal with. The quality of life in the trenches over the four years of war exhibits the historical concept of continuity. Hence, both the German and Canadian troops were confronted with poor living conditions due to the lice, absence of sleep, and inadequate equipment. To begin, both Canadian and German soldiers were unable to get a sustainable time of sleep. However …show more content…

The Canadian troops would salvage shoes in an effort to have something to wear on their feet, “He was gone quite a while; when he returned he had a pair of soft brown leather shoes tucked under his arm. ‘I found them near the -- -- house,’ he said. ‘They're dirty, but with a little cleaning they'll be all right. They're just the right size.”3 This quote highlights the struggle for proper boots, the soldier was in a desperate enough position to salvage shoes he had found in someone’s abandoned home. Similarly, the German troops also had boots that were not sufficient for warfare. The Germans described, “We have lost all sense of other considerations, because they are artificial. Only the facts are real and important for us. And good boots are scarce.”4 This quote directly outlines the scarcity and high regard for boots. The lack of good boots was especially hampering the everyday lives and duties of soldiers. Both troops found continuous difficulties in chores, fighting and walking in the wet trenches due to the situation. Despite the pleas of the soldiers, this continual problem persisted throughout the …show more content…

Both quotes demonstrate the significant issue of lice all soldiers had to face. Not only did this continuously affect their way of combat, it also hindered their quality of life, and did not help in the war effort. Despite the many similarities between the armies, there were many differences, the most notable being the difference in food quality and quantity. The rations situation was much better on the German Front. As we can see from the German Soldiers as they showed gratitude, “Each man has another mess-tin full for the evening; and, what is more, there is a double ration of sausage and bread. That puts a man in fine trim.”7 The German Army got better food, and sometimes received double rations. They also received cigars, cigarettes and chewing tobacco which was considered a luxury at the time. In contrast, the Canadians received minimal food and rations. The Canadian Soldiers complain, “You know, I think that soldiering makes your belly shrink--"8At this we lapse into silence. We are hungry. It is four o'clock and it is a full hour before we will get our hunk of grey war bread dipped in bacon grease and a mess-tin full of pale unsweetened tea.” We can see the Canadians received much less food and were at the brink of starvation. This continuously occurred throughout the war, showing a small difference that made a big impact in the living conditions and morale of the

Open Document