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S Grade - Credit level questions
Unit 2, International Co-operation and Conflict (Context B, 1890s - 1930s)
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Section 2: The Western Front

Source A is taken from a letter written by an army officer in 1914.

Imagine a broad belt [of land], ten miles or so in width, stretching from the Channel to the German frontier near Basle, which is positively littered with the bodies of men…in which farms, villages, and cottages are shapeless heaps of blackened masonry; in which fields, roads and trees are pitted and torn and twisted by [artillery] shells...

Extract from letter by Valentine Fleming MP (who was serving in trenches) to Churchill, 1914 (Baroness Spencer Churchill Papers, CSCT 2/17/19)

Source B is taken from a letter from Churchill to the Prime minister, January 1915. Churchill had been an army officer on the Western Front.

The question to be solved is …the actual getting across of 100 or 200 yards of open space and [barbed] wire entanglements…. It would be quite easy in a short time to fit up a number of steam tractors with small armoured shelters, in which man and machine guns could be placed, which would be bullet-proof.

Extract from letter by Churchill to the Prime Minister (Asquith), January 1915 (Reference: Churchill Papers, CHAR 15/97/10-12)
© Crown copyright

  1. How useful are Sources A and B as evidence of the importance of technology on the conduct of the war?
  2. How fully do Sources A and B show the reasons why there was deadlock on the Western Front during most of the First World War? You should use the Sources and your own knowledge to answer this question.

    Source C is taken from a letter sent to Churchill by a senior army officer justifying recent offensives on the Western Front.

    ... the modern attack takes a deal of mounting which can only be learnt by practical experience. We have now put most of our heavy artillery and practically all our divisions in France through the mill and doubled their value.

    Extract from letter by Lieutenant-Colonel Tom Bridges to Churchill, 19 December 1916 (Churchill Papers, CHAR 20/74/112)
    © Crown copyright

  3. Discuss the attitude of Source C towards British military tactics at the Battle of the Somme.

S Grade - General level questions
Unit 2, International Co-operation and Conflict (Context B, 1890s - 1930s)
Section 2: The Western Front

Source A is taken from a report written by Churchill in 1916 about the problems of fighting on the Western Front. Churchill had been an army officer on the Western Front.

When it became apparent in December and January that a dead-lock had been reached on the Western Front and that trench warfare had become permanent I cast about for new methods of attack. …I directed various experiments to be set on foot* at Wormwood Scrubbs….The object…was to overcome the deadly obstacle presented by a combination of barbed wire and hostile machine guns.

*set on foot - begun

Extract from report by Churchill on the development of the tank, 1916 (Churchill Papers, CHAR 2/89/39)
© Crown copyright

Source B is also taken from a letter from Churchill to the Prime Minister, January 1915.

It would be quite easy in a short time to fit up a number of steam tractors with small armoured shelters, in which men and machine guns could be placed, which would be bullet-proof. …The caterpillar system would enable trenches to be crossed quite easily, and the weight of the machine would destroy all wire entanglements. If the experiment did not answer, what harm would be done?

* did not answer - did not work

Extract from letter by Churchill to the Prime Minister (Asquith), January 1915 (Reference: Churchill Papers, CHAR 15/97/10-12)
©Crown copyright

  1. How useful is Source A as evidence of the difficulties of attacking enemy trenches?
  2. How fully does Source A describe the reasons for deadlock on the western front?
  3. Why is Source B valuable as evidence about the development of the tank?
  4. Do you agree with Churchill that If the experiment did not work what harm would be done? Explain your answer fully.

S Grade - Foundation level questions
Unit 2, International Co-operation and Conflict (Context B, 1890s - 1930s)
Section 2: The Western Front

Source A is based on a letter written by an army officer in 1914. The officer describes the effects of artillery.

The officer asks Churchill to imagine a wide area of land stretching from the coast to near the German frontier which is covered with the bodies of men and newly dug graves. Fields, roads and trees are torn up and twisted by explosions. Trenches are dug to protect soldiers from the artillery fire.

Summary of letter by Valentine Fleming MP (who was serving in trenches) to Churchill, 1914 (Baroness Spencer Churchill Papers, CSCT 2/17/19)

  1. Why is Source A useful as evidence about the effects of artillery attacks during the First World War? Give three reasons.

    Reason 1 _____________________________________________
                   _____________________________________________
    Reason 2 _____________________________________________
                   _____________________________________________
    Reason 3 _____________________________________________
                   _____________________________________________

    Source B is about a letter written by Churchill to the Prime Minister, January 1915. Churchill had been an army officer on the Western Front.

    Churchill wrote that the war had changed all ideas about modern warfare. Churchill thought that the problem to be solved on the western front was how to get across no-mans land and barbed wire entanglements.

    Summary of letter by Churchill to the Prime Minister (Asquith), January 1915 (Reference: Churchill Papers, CHAR 15/97/10-12)
    ©Crown copyright

  2. What did Churchill think were the TWO main problems to be solved?

    Problem 1 _____________________________________________
                    _____________________________________________
    Problem 2 _____________________________________________
                    _____________________________________________