Displacement along the three front lines
The Western front
The Western Front, a 750 kilometers stretch of land weaving through France and Belgium from the Swiss border to the North Sea, was probably the most decisive front during the First World War. It is considered as the most acknowledged of all the European war fronts, as it was the sad theatre of some the largest battles of the war such as Marne, Ypres, Verdun, the Somme, Passchendaele. Despite the size, frequency and ferocity of attempts to break through the frontline, the Western Front remained relatively static until 1918. Many aspects of the Western Front became symbolic of World War I: such as mud-filled trenches, poppies, pointless charges and atrocious conditions.
Hundreds of thousands Belgian and French civilians fled the soon to be devastated zone to safe havens in their own countries are abroad (The Netherlands, France, United Kingdom).
The Isonzo Front
When Italy entered the First World War on the Allied side in 1915, one of the most brutal and little-known campaigns of trench warfare started along the current Italian-Slovene border. The death toll was awful. Hundreds of thousands died in defences desperately heaved into the mountain terrain of the Julian Alps.
Ernest Hemingway’s first successful novel, published in 1929, A Farewell to Arms, is set on the Isonzo Front. It is based on his time as an ambulance driver for the Italian Red Cross on the front.
The outbreak of war caused a branched movement of half a million civilian refugees from Austro-Hungarian territories.
The Macedonian front
The Macedonian Front (also known as the Salonika Front or the Southern Font) is often referred to as ‘the forgotten front’. Still, nearly one million soldiers of ten different armies fought and died there between 1916 and 1918. Greece, Bulgaria, Serbia (which encompasses the current territory of the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia) and Albania were at the heart of the Macedonian Front.
Regions close to the Front got entirely depopulated and ten thousands of citizens fled to different parts of Europe. This would repeatedly happen in the following decennia as well and later became known as the ‘Macedonian Diaspora’.