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Battle of Verdun
|Battle of Verdun|
|Part of the Western Front of the First World War|
A French trench in north-east France
|Commanders and leaders|
| Philippe Pétain|
| Erich von Falkenhayn
Crown Prince Wilhelm
|75 divisions (1,140,000 soldiers)||50 divisions (1,250,000 soldiers)|
|Casualties and losses|
|542,000.-400,000; 163,000 of those died.||434,000.-355,000; 143,000 of those died|
The Battle of Verdun was a battle of the First World War. It started when German troops attacked French positions, near Verdun, on February 21, 1916. It ended on December 18 of that year. The front line had not changed very much. Both sides lost about 337,000 soldiers each, which means about half of them died. Many historians see this battle as the bloodiest of World History. Never before was industrialisation so visible in war. They also speak about the Hell of Verdun or the Blood pump. The Battle of Verdun is considered the biggest and longest in world history. Never before or since has there been such a long battle, involving so many men, fought on such a tiny piece of land. The battle, which lasted from 21 February, 1916 until 19 December 1916 caused over an estimated 700,000 casualties (dead, wounded and missing). The battlefield was not even a square ten kilometres. From a strategic point of view, there can be no justification for these terrible losses. The battle lowered into a matter of prestige for the two nations, and started being fought literally and for the sake of fighting and honor, as said by German High Command Paul Von Hindenburg. The fighting in Verdun was so cruel that a system of rotation of the French army was designed, to let every division on France to fight on Verdun. After the battle the landscape was left as one of the worst battlegrounds on all of France, filled with craters of the artillery, the trenches, the ordor left by the dead, etc. In the mist of battle German High Command Erich Von Falkenhayn, was relieved from duty and sent to Romania to lead a joint Austrian, German and Bulgarian counter-attack, leaving Paul Von Hindenburg as Chief of Staff of The German Army.
- The Encyclopedia Americana, Vol.28, (J.B. Lyon Company, 1920), 283.
- MacKenzie, Donald A., The story of the Great War, (Buck Press, 2009), 142.
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