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History Unplugged Podcast

with Scott Rank

Verdun - The 299-Day Battle That Killed 300K Soldiers And Still Scars The Earth With Unexploded Shells

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The Battle of Verdun--fought from February 21-December 18 1916 in the Western Front of France--was horrifying and hellish even by the standards of World War One. Over a 299-day-period, there were 1 million total casualties. The French were bled white, but so were the Germans.

Of these, 300,000 were killed, which is about 1 death for every minute of the battle. The French most likely lost slightly more than the Germans. About 10% of all French war dead were from Verdun. Half of Frenchmen between 20 and 30 years old were killed. Although more men died at the Somme, the proportion of casualties suffered to the number of men who fought was much higher at Verdun than at any other battle in World War I.  Also the number killed per square mile was the greatest at Verdun. To this day, the battlefield is still cratered and pockmarks.  Many unexploded shells (maybe 12 million) still remain.  Trenches can still be seen. Alistair Horne said, “Verdun was the First World War in microcosm; an intensification of all its horrors and glories, courage and futility.”
October 13, 2020
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Meet Your Host
Scott Rank is the host of the History Unplugged Podcast and a PhD in history who specialized in the Ottoman Empire and modern Turkey. Before going down the academic route he worked as a journalist in Istanbul. He has written 12 history books on topics ranging from lost Bronze Age civilizations to the Age of Discovery. Some of his books include The Age of Illumination: Science, Technology, and Reason in the Middle Ages and History’s 9 Most Insane Rulers.. Learn more about him by going to scottrankphd.com.
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