This photograph shows three dead horses next to two wagons. It is not clear whether the horses have died from exhaustion, or have been caught up in the fighting. Recent historical accounts reflect on the place of animals within pre-war European societies to consider the impact their use had on soldiers. French society, for example, was largely rural when war broke out, and the psychological effect on soldiers of watching the mass slaughter of familiar animals such as horses was significant.
L’historiographie française récente porte une attention renouvelée à la place des animaux dans les armées, notamment au cours de la Première Guerre mondiale. Dans une société encore très largement rurale, l’impact psychologique sur ces paysans devenus soldats de la disparition en masse des animaux de traits qui étaient les compagnons de leur horizon familier fut très certainement beaucoup plus important que ne le laisse supposer l’étude classique des sources.
- Article by:
- Stephen Badsey
- Historical debates
From portraits of soldiers to official government images, Professor Stephen Badsey examines the private and public use of photography in World War One and its value as a historical source.
- Article by:
- Matthew Shaw
- The war machine
Millions of animals were relied upon by all sides in World War One. Curator Dr Matthew Shaw discusses the role of animals in transport, logistics, cavalry and communications, and considers their psychological function for troops and as propaganda.