1. Tanks first appeared on the battlefield at The Somme on 15 September 1916.
Tanks were initially called landships. The name tank was used to disguise the production process from enemy suspicion. Even the people who built them didn’t know what they were building. They thought they were making parts for some ship.
2. They gave tanks genders.
At the beginning of the war, tanks were grouped according to their ‘gender’. The male tanks had cannons attached while the females carried machine guns.
3. At the start of the war, soldiers on all sides were issued with soft hats.
Later in the war, soldiers were issued with steel helmets to protect against artillery fire.
4. A total of 70 types of planes were used.
5. A pigeon named ‘Cher Ami’ saved 194 American soldiers.
She bravely delivered a vital message from the soldiers who had been cut off behind enemy lines. She made it back to her loft despite having been shot through the breast, blinded in one eye, covered in blood, and with a leg hanging only by a tendon. She was awarded the Croix de Guerre Avec Palme.
6. Sergeant Stubby, a Boston Bull Terrier, was the most decorated dog of the war.
In fact, it was the only dog to be named Sergent. Stubby was very useful for detecting incoming shell fire, hearing it before humans could. Most of us do not know, but around a million dogs died during the war.
7. Many people suffered facial injuries.
As plastic surgery was not prominent during those times, artists created copper masks to hide injuries. The masks were held on by glasses and painted to match each soldier’s skin tone.
8. Dr. Doolittle was created.
The Dr. Doolittle stories were born of Hugh Lofting’s aversion to writing his children about the real horrors of the war and trench life. Instead, more creative letters were sent.
9. Germany was forced to accept guilt for the war.
Under the Treaty of Versailles, Germany was blamed for the war and had to pay $31.4 billion in reparations, which is approximately $442 billion in today’s money.
10. French general Ferdinand Foch predicted World War 2.
After the Treaty of Versailles, he said, “This is not peace. It is an armistice for twenty years,” and exactly after twenty years, World War 2 had started.
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