A lot has been said, read and talked about World War I. But most of us have read the tedious and concise point of view that the government wanted us to present. The information shared by textbooks has been very limited. Some fascinating facts are not yet known and might surprise you.
We present to you nine surprising and lesser known facts about World War I:
1. Heroin was openly sold as a cough treatment
Heroin was not illegal until World War I. In fact, it was marketed as an effective cough treatment to the soldiers and was discovered by a pharmaceutical company called Bayer. Being openly sold and marketed is completely harmless, more and more soldiers got addicted it. It was after extensive use that the harmful effects of the drug were noticed, and it was labeled illegal. Though the real problem started after that when people realized they just couldn’t live without the drug.
2. German Airships brutally bombed London
There was a major blitz during the World War I in London when the Nazis bombed London for an important part of a year. Since only Germany was technically proficient and had airships that could travel to London; they bombed London from 1916-1917. The airships looked like giant metal aircraft, but were huge, floating bags that were filled with ludicrously flammable gas.
3. World War was a global issue
Unlike the popular belief, World War I affected people beyond the continent of Europe. But that was completely untrue. As the war became bigger and bigger, more and more countries were forced to take sides. The war was initially declared by Austria and Hungry against Serbia. But soon the Japanese got involved, and they captured German colonies on the Japan-China border.
4. Plastic Surgery was invented during World War I
Soldiers of the war often underwent horrendous facial injuries due to the shrapnel. If you have ever watched an Iron Man movie, you would know that shrapnel is an extremely powerful tool and it can damage the facial tissues.
Watching the plight of several soldiers, Surgeon Harold Gillies decided to help them and devised early techniques for facial reconstruction.
5. A fake Paris was constructed to combat the German bombing
During World War 1, the French government built a fake Paris to fool German pilots. The roads were built along with the damaged railway line, and they were lit in the midnight to confuse German attackers. The plan was to save Paris from any life loss. This is one of the weirdest tactics adopted by France to fool the German Army, and it worked.
6. World War I led Britain to a financial meltdown
Britain was an economic superpower before the World War I and it was also one of the few financially stable countries during that phase. But the expenditure of the first modern war was heavy and drained the country of its wealth. The costs reached over the spending powers and Britain being a crucial part was majorly affected. It faced a financial crisis and was bereft of vital economic resources.
7. Many journalists faced execution
The flow of information during the World War I was highly concealed and controlled. The governments focused on condemning the freedom to report, and journalists were banned initially on the frontline. Reporting the war was treated as providing information to the enemy. If any journalist was caught doing the same, he was sentenced to death.
8. Lances and guns were part of the same Battlefield
World War I was called the Modern War for its technical advanced modern tools. But, it was a perfect blend of old and new techniques. Though there were tanks, airships and guns; both the sides also used some conventional tools.
Germany, which was one of the most high-tech countries at that time, had horse-mounted troops that used a ten-foot lance as their primitive tool. Britain relied on horses for the movement of supplies.
9. World War I started the development of Blood Banks
As soldiers were severely wounded and needed treatment; British relied heavily on blood transfusion for treatment. Back in the day, instead of storing blood, it was directly transferred from one person to other because people didn’t know the way to store blood for longer. It was actually Captain Oswald Robertson, a US Army doctor who gave the idea of combining sodium citrate with blood to prevent it from becoming unusable.
Which is your favorite part of the history – World War I or World War II ?