40 Fascinating Facts about World War 1 – Part 2

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26 Commission for Relief

Commission for Relief

During World War 1, Germany refused to feed occupied Belgium, which was blockaded and unable to fulfill its food demands. In response, Herbert Hoover established the Commission for Relief in Belgium. The CRB shipped 5.7 million tons of food and fed 11 million Belgians between 1914 and 1919.

27. During World War 1, the British executed soldiers inflicted with Shell Shock (Combat Stress Disorder) on the basis of cowardice because Shell Shock wasn’t considered a psychiatric disorder.

28. The first tanks in World War I were held together by rivets until it was discovered that explosions would turn the rivets into shrapnel, injuring soldiers in the tank even if the explosion did not penetrate the armor.

29. In Germany during World War 1, horses were considered army reservists. Owners had to register them regularly, and the army kept detailed records on the locations of all horses. In the first weeks of the war, the German army mobilized 715,000 horses.

30. During World War 1, the 369th Infantry Regiment spent 191 days under fire, never lost a man through capture, lost a trench or a foot of ground to the enemy, but was not allowed to march in the victory parade.

31 Tanks


Tanks from World War 1 were originally to be called Landships but the factory workers who were building them referred to them as Tanks because they resembled steel water tanks and the British concerned with secrecy kept that name.

32. A British soldier named Patrick Fowler spent most of World War 1 hiding in a wardrobe. A French family in German-occupied France had taken him in, however, 16 German soldiers were then billeted at the residence, spending their time in the same room as the wardrobe. Every day he was silent and still to avoid being detected.

33. During World War 1, German zeppelins had a “spy basket” which was a small capsule that would be dropped from above the clouds to spy on the allies. Despite it being cold, isolated and cramped, crew members would volunteer to be in it because it was the only place they were able to smoke.

34. During World War 1, Belgium opened its sluices to allow seawater to flow in and flood their country to prevent German occupation. They held their front for the duration of the war.

35. In World War 1, British and American fighter pilots were not issued parachutes because they were considered cowardly apparatus.

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36 Black Tom Explosion

Black Tom Explosion

During World War 1, German Saboteurs set off bombs on Black Tom island in New York harbor. The blast could be felt as far away as Philadelphia and caused over $100,000 in damage to the statue of liberty and is the reason its right arm is still closed to tourists today.

37. During World War 1, female art students joined the National League for Women’s Service and trained to serve in the Camouflage Department of the United States Navy. They designed camouflage patterns and tested them in various locations in New York City including the NY Public Library and Union Square.

38. During World War 1, soldiers were not issued helmets until the summer of 1915, after nearly a million and a half were killed or wounded. Before that they wore headgear made of felt, cloth or leather.

39. Italy’s World War 1 special forces were some of the best in the world. They were called Arditi, which means “Daring Ones.” They specialized in mountain warfare and fought with knives, flamethrowers, grenades, and machine pistols.

40. During World War 1, after protests, the British army lowered the minimum height requirement from 5 feet 3 inches to 5 feet and created ‘Bantam Battalions’- units of small people.

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