History KS3 / KS4: Attrition

War turned ordinary people into killers, which raised a variety of emotions among them.

A German soldier vividly recalls his terrible guilt at killing a French soldier with a bayonet, whilst some of his fellow soldiers boasted about killing during the First World War.

A British soldier recalls refusing to execute deserters from his own side, feeling sympathy for their shellshock.

Another explains in detail how he planned to injure himself to get away from the front, an offence which could result in death by firing squad.

This is from the series: I Was There: The Great War Interviews

Teacher viewing recommended prior to use in class

Teacher Notes

Key Stage: 4

Students use this clip to develop contrasting arguments on the merits of pardoning soldiers who were executed for desertion during the war.

This exercise can then lead into a piece of work on how life in the trenches affected soldiers.

Curriculum Notes

This clip will be relevant for teaching History at KS3, KS4/GCSE, in England and Wales and Northern Ireland

Also at Third Level, Fourth Level, National 4 and National 5 in Scotland.

This topic appears in OCR, Edexcel, AQA, WJEC, CCEA GCSE and SQA.

More from the series: I Was There: The Great War Interviews

Life as a munitionette
video
Life as an officer during WW1
video
One woman's loss
video
Recruiting soldiers in WW1
video
Respite
video
How did shell shock affect soldiers?
video
The Christmas truce, 1914
video
The Gallipoli campaign
video
War in the air
video
Being a pilot in WW1
video
Fighting in the trenches
video
Death and survival
video
Going over the top
video
Horace Leslie Birks interview
video
Changes on the home front during WW1
video
John Willis Palmer interview
video