A Mother's Worst Nightmare: The Horrors Her Son Is Experiencing
A mother's worst nightmares are all becoming a reality in watching her son go off and experience the life of a soldier. This War differs from any other of its time and will impact war forever. the thought of going off to war is exciting and exhilarating, but a miserable experience filled with all the horrors a soldier mother could imagine. The soldiers are living in miserable conditions, fighting disease, dealing with new forms of defense weapons, and every day is new struggle for survival. Soldiers are often spending hours on their feet in waterlogged trenches. They are standing out in the cold, in muddy, freezing cold water for hours at a time; most are unable to change into dry socks and boots. Standing in water all day, in soaking wet boots causes a miserable condition known as Trench Foot. Trench Foot is an infection to the feet caused by cold, wet, unsanitary conditions; many of their feet are blue with numbness. The only way to prevent Trench Foot from occurring is to constantly change into new, dry socks and boots, and many of the soldier's are just unable to do this. If it goes untreated the only option is amputation. Trench Foot is only one of the horrors our soldier's are encountering. Many of the men are also dealing with lice. Besides causing extreme scratching and irritation, the lice are carriers to disease. Lice could cause pyrexia, also known as Trench Fever. Trench Fever causes pain and a high fever; it is not deadly, but it is just one more thing to deal with and suffer through. The soldiers are also going through surprise attacks, of poison gases. Poison gases were always thought to be uncivilized weapons and have never been used in battle. That all changed in this war. Soldier's are experiencing attacks of numerous gases including chlorine and mustard gases. Other are also suffering form a condition known as Shell Shock. If a soldier is often tired, irritable, giddy, has little ability to concentrate, or headaches, Shell Shock is probably the cause. These early symptoms, then lead to severe mental breakdowns enabling them to fight in battle. It is believed that Shell Shock is caused by the use of heavy artillery. Doctors believe the only way to cure Shell Shock is to take full time away from battle to rest. Our soldiers are suffering from all of these things and the list goes on. Going off to war may seem like a rush, but I'm sure if you asked anyone that has been through it, the stories will not be as exciting as you may think.
Encyclopedia of the First World War.