The trenches of World War One produced their own culture. Soldiers helped each other through the painfully boring periods between battles with comradery, putting on plays and publishing trench newspapers, among other things. These activities kept the soldiers occupied and no doubt kept them from sinking into depression by dwelling too much on their situation.
What Was a Trench Newspaper?
As the name implies, trench newspapers were published by soldiers. They were extremely popular. More than 30 were published by Canadian troops alone. The British published 100 while the French published more than 400.
Although some were handwritten and duplicated with the aid of carbon paper, many were printed on printing presses. Some editions had circulations in the hundreds.
They were generally published by one unit for its own use.
Why Were they Published?
Traditional, civilian newspapers were censored during the war. This means they often contained propaganda, misinformation and political rhetoric. In comparison, trench newspapers only censored information that shouldn’t fall into enemy hands. Soldiers, for the most part, were free to write about the feelings and observations of war, trench life, commanding officers and death.
Examples of Trench Newspapers
Trench newspapers were published by both sides and in several languages.
Trench newspapers often had funny names.
They contained humorous or satirical articles and advice.
They also contained jokes and political cartoons.
Have you ever read an excerpt from a trench newspaper? Leave a comment below.
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