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Morale and Manpower

Those who fought in the war recall the sense of impending collapse in 1918: the British desperately short of men on the front line, and the Germans bolstered but exhausted.

Oral History tells a very different story to the propaganda of contemporary accounts when it comes to the state of morale in 1918. On the British side, the army that had sailed to Europe with a roar in 1914 now moved through a shattered landscape with a whisper. Across Europe, units, armies, even societies were under intolerable strain. But the front line needed reinforcements, so the system continued: young men were given new uniforms and rifles and sent to training depots. Dan Snow hears the recollections of those who were still serving in 1918, including Officer Charles Carrington, who was training up new drafts. He turned sickly adolescents into warriors, and then sent them off to die.

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15 minutes

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