Daily Life in the Trenches: Morale and Mundane Needs

Matthews James

in Reluctant Warriors

Published in print June 2012 | ISBN: 9780199655748
Published online September 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780199949953 | DOI:

Series: Oxford Historical Monographs

Daily Life in the Trenches: Morale and Mundane Needs

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  • Modern History (1700 to 1945)


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This chapter examines daily life in the army for conscripted soldiers and the effects of different mundane factors on their morale. It looks at conscripts’ day-to-day experience in the trenches. Despite the complex mobilizing constructs discussed in the previous chapter, combatants’ morale was often more dependent on daily needs and comforts than on an ideological understanding of the conflict, even if this was painstakingly highlighted by both sides’ propaganda campaigns. Mundane needs such as food, shelter, pay and leave therefore played a more immediate role in capturing and maintaining the troops’ loyalty than the ultimate consequences of the war.

Keywords: daily life; mundane needs; experience in the trenches; combatants’ morale; food; shelter; pay; leave

Chapter.  15039 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Modern History (1700 to 1945)

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