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What Was Hygiene Like For Soldiers In WWI Trench Warfare?

Updated 15 Oct 2019 10.9k views13 items

How did WWI soldiers keep clean in the trenches? The answer lies somewhere between "with great difficulty" and "they didn't." Although WWI was known as the Great War, trench hygiene was anything but great. Soldiers in the trenches spent their time in unsanitary conditions among open latrines, others who went days without bathing or changing their clothes, and the remains of many men who lost their lives. Although WWI hygiene and medical issues were notoriously inadequate, the lessons learned during WWI helped improve conditions and responses to sanitation and medicine for future generations, both on and off the battlefield.

Although most people know the war had an enormous body count and saw the beginnings of chemical warfare, the answers to everyday issues like how did soldiers go to the toilet in WWI are almost as terrible. Diseases were plentiful, and those who weren't killed directly from combat may have very well perished due to their living conditions. Although WWI cost many their lives, the fighting forced doctors to come up with better ways to treat and prevent illness, and led military units to create more effective methods of personal hygiene and sanitation. 

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