Before World War One, trench warfare was introduced in a large role in the American Civil War. The nineteenth century set a canvas for trench warfare in World War One, because of the importance it played in the American Civil War.
In the beginning of the Civil War the soldiers would not be in protective barriers, but rather they would line up shoulder-to-shoulder and fire muskets and bayonets at the opposing armies. The muskets and bayonets were not very accurate and did not cause as many casualties that a weapon in World War One would have caused, so both sides were able to fight in lines, with no problem. Eventually during the American Civil War, muskets and bayonets became ineffective for the armies and “Minnie Rifles” were introduced. These were designed for more rapid fire and allowed a much faster reload. These were much more effective than the previous weapons and the amount of casualties sky rocketed when soldiers began to use them. The Minnie Rifles were very powerful compared to the bayonets and muskets, and they were much more accurate. The amount of casualties became too high and the two sides needed to change their strategy, so they turned to trench warfare.
Trench warfare was what they needed to help both sides get through the war, and not lose everyone. Instead of being out in the open fire, soldiers were able to stay in bunkers and protect themselves from the open fire of the Minnie Rifles. Moving to the trenches saved the lives of many, and also prolonged the civil war. This is the same effect that it had on World War One. The war took many more years than it “needed” to take, because battles would be extended because of trench warfare.
The American Civil War tactics led the way into Europe and World War One. The Germans, French and British all realized that trench warfare was the best strategy and would preserve the most lives. It gave both sides a good source of protection and stability. The Civil War provided the countries in Europe a good background of how to use trench warfare wisely and most effectively for their individual country.