Essay by PaperNerd ContributorHigh School, 10th grade November 2001

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World War I was a war like none other. In a time when no war had lasted more than a year, World War I spanned from 1914 to 1918. As can be expected, attitudes were spread over a wide range as time passed. New tactics were used, new artillery, and new machines, all made possible by the spread of the Industrial Revolution. In an age of modern weaponry and tactics, the old style of warfare proved to be very ineffective. A bayonet could no longer be a useful weapon when there were machine guns sweeping across the fields. This affected soldiers and civilians alike. For the first time in history, there was a total war. Every nation was involved in the war for one reason or another. The war affected soldiers as well as civilians. World War I changed the definition of combat as we now it today.

Throughout history, there have been many wars in many countries.

World War I, however, was the first example of total war. Because of the prewar alliance system, it meant that all countries were involved in the war. Europe had never experienced a war of such magnitude. The armies were the largest of all time, and this meant that civilians, as well as the armies, felt the effects of the war. The Franco-Prussian War and the Austro-Prussian War were both not even a year long, yet they were the longest wars up to this point in history. At the beginning of the war, everyone thought it would be quick. "You will be home before the leaves have fallen from the trees"�. This is what Kaiser Wilhelm II said to his German troops entering battle. This was the typical attitude of all Europeans about the war. Imagine their surprise when the war lasted from...