Although the photographers covered combat, few scenes in the book depict the blood-soaked drama of the battlefield. Instead, they offer relaxed portraits of American G. They mostly show the long hours of boredom and tedium that dominate life at war.
WWI: Combat on the Western Front
Both the book and exhibition also explore the outsize role of a publication led by two tenacious women, Marion von Rospach and Ann Bryan, both Stanford alumnae. Early on, Ms.
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Bryan, the only female bureau chief in Saigon, ran a one-woman show from her second-floor apartment, working as a reporter, photographer, editor and operations manager. Her mission was to write for soldiers in their own language. Bryan gave him his start.
Tanks and Armoured Vehicles
Each main line of trenches was fronted by fields of barbed wire intended to slow down and entangle attacking infantry. As World War I progressed, both sides, but particularly the Germans, developed trench systems of progressively greater depth and strength in order to ensure that the enemy could not achieve a breakthrough at any particular point. The Germans evolved an extremely elaborate defense system using pillboxes, i.
Behind the pillboxes were more lines of barbed wire and more trenches and dugouts reinforced with concrete to withstand artillery bombardment. By the Germans had constructed some trench systems that had a depth of 14 miles 22 km. The crucial elements in attacking a trench system, surprise and overwhelming numbers of infantry, were thus almost impossible to attain.
By contrast, the Japanese in the Pacific theatre, faced with overwhelming American artillery and airpower, heavily fortified many of their islands with chains of deeply dug caves and bunkers. Similar tactics were used by the North Korean and Chinese forces in the Korean War when confronted with American airpower. In the Battle of Dien Bien Phu March 13—May 8, , which resulted in the French expulsion from Indochina, the communist -led Viet Minh used classic 18th-century siege methods and drove forward an elaborate system of trenches to negate the effects of French artillery and airpower, preparatory to the battle.
Classic trench warfare reappeared in the Iran-Iraq War —88 , a basically static war in which such mobile weapons as tanks and aircraft were in short supply. In the subsequent Persian Gulf War —91 , Iraq built an elaborate system of defensive trenches, ditches, and berms, but it was overwhelmed by airpower, innovative tactics, and the demoralization of its frontline troops.
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Our editors will review what you've submitted, and if it meets our criteria, we'll add it to the article. Please note that our editors may make some formatting changes or correct spelling or grammatical errors, and may also contact you if any clarifications are needed. See Article History. Read More on This Topic. In the American Civil War, field fortifications emerged as an essential of warfare, with both armies employing entrenchments to an extent…. Britannica Demystified. Tanks and planes made the trenches obsolete—or did they? Facts Matter. Start Your Free Trial Today. Learn More in these related Britannica articles: fortification: Trench warfare, — In the American Civil War, field fortifications emerged as an essential of warfare, with both armies employing entrenchments to an extent never before seen.
Troops learned to fortify newly won positions immediately; employing spades and axes carried in…. The hearing was just a stunt. But the testimony was deadly serious and included a statement from former Justice Department official Bruce Fein from which this is excerpted:.
The executive branch further maintained without quarrel from Congress or the American people that since Osama bin Laden threatens to kill Americans at any time and in any location, the entire world, including all of the United States, is an active battlefield where military force and military law may be employed at the discretion of the executive branch. Moreover, the Founding Fathers understood that mere claims to unchecked power warranted stern responses. No stern responses were forthcoming, and President Obama maintained and expanded upon the powers established for presidents by George W.
War was now officially everywhere and eternal, thereby allowing presidents even greater powers, which they could use in the waging of even more wars, from which yet more powers could derive, and so forth to Armageddon, unless something breaks the cycle.
The battlefield may be all around us, but the wars are still concentrated in particular places. Even in those particular locations — such as Iraq and Afghanistan — the wars lack the two basic features of a traditional battlefield — the field itself and a recognizable enemy. In a foreign occupation, the enemy looks just like the supposed beneficiaries of the humanitarian war. The only people recognizable for who they are in the war are the foreign occupiers.
The Soviet Union discovered this weakness of foreign occupations when it tried to occupy Afghanistan during the s. Oleg Vasilevich Kustov, a year veteran of the Soviet and Russian military, described the situation for Soviet troops:. To be completely honest, we were waging war against a people. That sums it up perfectly. Wars are not waged against armies. Nor are they waged against demonized dictators. They are waged against peoples. Remember the U. She would have looked just the same if she had been bringing a bomb. How was the soldier supposed to tell the difference?
World War I Centenary: Barbed Wire
What was he supposed to do? The answer, of course, is that he was supposed to not be there. The occupation battlefield is full of enemies who look exactly like, but sometimes are not, women bringing groceries. One way to make this clear, and which often shocks people, is to note that a majority of those killed in wars are civilians.
And those who resist a foreign occupation violently are not necessarily military. Nor is there any clear moral or legal justification for killing those fighting a truly defensive war any more than there is for killing the non-participants. Estimates of war deaths vary for any given war. No two wars are the same, and the numbers change if those who die later from injury or disease are included with those immediately killed. But by most estimates, even counting only those immediately killed, the vast majority of those killed in war in recent decades have been non-participants.
And in wars involving the United States, the vast majority of those killed have been non-Americans. The United States suffered a relatively small portion of these deaths — an estimated , military and 1, civilian. That is a horrendous statistic, but it is small in relation to the suffering of some of the other countries. The War on Vietnam may have killed 4 million civilians or more, plus 1.
In the decades following the destruction of Vietnam, the United States killed a lot of people in a lot of wars, but relatively few U. The Gulf War saw U. Grenada in cost Panama in saw 40 Americans die. Bosnia-Herzegovina and Kosovo saw a total of 32 U. Wars had become exercises that killed very few Americans in comparison to the large numbers of non-U. The wars on Iraq and Afghanistan similarly saw the other sides do almost all of the dying.
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The numbers were so high that even the proportionately tiny U. Americans hear through their media that over 4, U. When news of Iraqi deaths is reported, the U. Fortunately, two serious studies have been done of Iraqi deaths caused by the invasion and occupation that began in March These studies measure the deaths that exceed the high death rate that existed under international sanctions before March The Lancet published the results of household surveys of deaths through the end of June In 92 percent of households asked to produce a death certificate to verify a reported death, they did so.
The study concluded that there had been , excess violent and nonviolent deaths. This included deaths resulting from increased lawlessness, degraded infrastructure, and poorer healthcare. Most of the deaths , were estimated to be due to violence. Just Foreign Policy, a Washington-based organization, has calculated the estimated deaths through the time of this writing, extrapolated from the Lancet report based on the relative level of deaths reported in the media in the intervening years.
The current estimate is 1,, Death estimates from the War on Afghanistan were much lower but rising swiftly at the time of this writing.
It is also safe to assume in each case a much larger number for those traumatized, orphaned, made homeless, or exiled. The Iraqi refugee crisis involves millions. Beyond that, these statistics do not capture the degraded quality of life in war zones, the usual reduced life expectancy, the increased birth defects, the rapid spread of cancers, the horror of unexploded bombs left lying around, or even the U. On March 16, , a young American woman named Rachel Corrie stood in front of a Palestinian home in the Gaza strip, hoping to protect it from demolition by the Israeli military which was seeking to expand Israeli settlements.
She faced a Caterpillar D9-R bulldozer, and it crushed her to death. One thing to remember about civilians is that they are not all military-age men. Some of them are senior citizens. In fact those in the weakest condition are most likely to be killed. Some are women. Some are children, infants, or pregnant women. Women and children combined probably make up a majority of war victims, even as we think of war as an activity primarily for men. If we thought of war as a means of killing large numbers of women and children and grandparents would we be less willing to allow it?
The primary thing war does to women is the very worst thing possible: it kills them. But there is something else war does to women that sells a lot more newspapers. So, sometimes we hear about it. War rapes women. Soldiers rape women in isolated, but usually numerous, incidents. And soldiers in some wars systematically rape all women as a form of planned terrorism. Contemporaries described a much wider scale of unpunished sex crime. In that war, as in many others, rape victims were not always provided assistance by their families, if their families were alive.
They were often denied medical care, shunned, and even murdered. Those who commit rape during war are often so confident of their immunity from the law after all, they receive immunity and even praise for mass murder, so surely rape must be sanctioned too that they brag about their crimes and, where possible, display photographs of them.
In May , we learned that photos of U. Numerous reports have surfaced of U. While not all accusations are true, such incidents are not always reported, and those reported to the military are not always made public or prosecuted. Crimes by U. Sometimes we learn after-the-fact that the military has investigated rape allegations and dropped the case. In March , the Guardian reported:. Army documents reveal.
Four soldiers were alleged to have raped two women while on guard duty in a Baghdad shopping precinct. Army investigator interviewed several soldiers from the military unit, the th battalion of the 3rd Infantry Brigade, but did not locate or interview the Iraqi women involved before shutting down the inquiry for lack of evidence. Then there was the gang rape participated in by Paul Cortez, mentioned in chapter five.
According to a sworn statement by one of the accused,. They stalked her after one or more of them expressed his intention to rape her. Finally, they murdered her, drenched the bodies with kerosene, and lit them on fire to destroy the evidence. Then the GIs grilled chicken wings.