Brill’s Digital Library of World War I

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Part of the infantry field fortifications. Before the First World War trenches existed only as a provisional, temporary fortification used to defend areas of land. Trenches developed after the early hardening of the fronts into a socially dominant symbol of military technology in the war. Especially on the Western Front, trenches, and the way of fighting that derived from them, marked the character of the war from October/November 1914 to 1918.

After the strategic defeat on the Marne, and the building of the first trenches, between mid-September and early N…

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Ulrich, Bernd, “Trenches”, in: Brill’s Digital Library of World War I. Consulted online on 28 November 2023 <>
First published online: 2015

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