The ‘mangled earth’ of the trenches (1914–18)
in Mobilizing nature
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This chapter outlines the Western Front's environmental history to show how the First World War was fought in, through, and against nature. If sterility implies the absence of life and infertility, it seemed that the war had sterilized vast swathes of northern and eastern France. The mobilization of terrain and topography had begun before the establishment of trench warfare during the initial war of movement. The military mobilization of animals during the war was, at times, symbolic. As well as featuring on propaganda posters, animal imagery appeared on actual war machines. Bases and training grounds served a variety of purposes during the war. Among them were training troops in trench warfare, testing weapons, and providing places of repose for soldiers recovering from life in the trenches. The mobilization of nature for military training and weapons testing militarized sites beyond northern and eastern France.

Mobilizing nature

The environmental history of war and militarization in Modern France

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