89 Brutal Facts From World War 1 for True History Fans

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51Anti-aircraft warfare

The first use of anti-aircraft fire was not during World War 1 but during the American Civil War. The Confederates used artillery and small arms to attack the Union Balloon Corps. The first specialized anti-aircraft weapon was used by the Germans during the Franco-Prussian War.


52. People did not need passports until World War 1.


53. The Eiffel Tower was due to be demolished in 1909 after its lease ran out, but it became useful during WW1 due to its antenna.


54. Germany finally paid off all of its World War 1 debt in 2010.


55. Canadian troops held the line against the first poison gas attacks along the Western Front in WW1, preventing a German breakthrough after French colonial troops broke ranks and abandoned their trenches witnessing the early casualties.


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56Brushing teeth

Brushing teeth was not a regular practice among Americans before WW1. "So many recruits had rotting teeth the officials said poor dental hygiene was a national security risk."


57. The last surviving Tommy (Harry Patch) of WW1 died aged 111 years, 1 month, 1 week, 1 day. Also, the oddest part is that WW1 ended on the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month.


58. Ormer Locklear, a WW1 pilot, got out of his plane, diagnosed the problem, and repaired it all while still flying the plane and then did this numerous times after that.


59. During WW1, a South African monkey was promoted to Corporal


60. During the Battle of the Frontiers, the first major battle between French and German armies in WW1, over 27,000 French Soldiers was killed in a single day (August 22, 1914). More French soldiers died on that day than during the entire 8 years Algerian War (1954-62)


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61Pilot

In WW1, when a pilot from either side went down behind enemy lines, the "enemy" would drop a note to inform his comrades whether he had been killed in a crash or taken prisoner.


62. The Russians defending Osowiec Fortress in WW1 were attacked by Germans using poisoned gases. The Russians that survived, counter-attacked (covered in blood) shocking the Germans, and making them flee. This was later dubbed "The attack of the dead men"


63. The direct cause of World War 1 was Archduke Ferdinand of Austria's assassination. What many people don't know is that the initial assassination attempt failed when the bomb blew up the car behind Ferdinand's. The only reason he was assassinated is because one of the terrorists named Gavrilo Princip (a Serbian organization called the Black Hand) stopped to buy a sandwich and saw Ferdinand in the store.


64. In WW1 a handful of journalists risked their lives to report on the realities of war. As the Government sought to control the flow of information from the frontline at the start of the war, journalists were banned


65. In 1917, during World War 1, Germans built a 25-foot-tall armor-plated fake tree with a soldier sitting in it to spy on Allied forces. The Germans waited until nightfall and cut down one of the real trees to replace it with the fake one, all while firing artillery so that the British forces wouldn't hear the axes.


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66French villages

Ten French villages were destroyed during World War 1 and deemed uninhabitable afterwards. Today, these ten villages are known as “villages that died for France.”


67. During World War 1, Magician Harry Houdini took 1 year off performing to help sell war bonds and teach American soldiers how to escape from German handcuffs.


68. When the trench gun was introduced by the U.S. during World War 1, the German Government issued a diplomatic protest claiming that the shotgun was prohibited by the law of war.


69. Christopher Robin was a real boy who befriended Winnie, a black bear at the London Zoo, named after Winnipeg, Canada, by a Canadian soldier who bought a real bear cub and took him to Europe during WW1.


70. The American Army during WWI employed champion Skeet Shooters to protect the trenches by shooting enemy grenades out of midair and deflecting them


71F*ck Word

During WWI, the word "f*ck" was used to often, it was considered noteworthy when someone didn't use it. E.g., "Get your f*cking rifles," was considered routine, whereas "Get your rifles," implied urgency and danger.


72. When the US navy banned alcohol on ships in July 1914, they held one last massive party and invited ships from several nations to help drink the last of the booze. Many of the participants in the party would become enemies weeks later when WWI broke out.


73. The commander of the first "Flamethrower unit" used in WW1 named "Bernhard" and that before the war he was a firefighter.


74. In 1914, British WWI soldier Thomas Hughes tossed a beer bottle with a letter to his wife into the English Channel. He was killed two days later. In 1999, a fisherman dredged up the bottle in the River Thames. Although Hughes' wife had died in 1979, it was delivered to his 86-year old daughter.


75. In the US being clean shaven became popular after troops returned as heroes from WWI they had been required to shave so gas masks would securely fit.

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