Deception World War 1 Summary

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Fraud, or deception, is an important tool in war. In its many varieties, deception is political sleight of hand using psychology, timing and misdirection to accomplish a magical effect. In his book, A Genius for Deception: How Cunning Helped the British Win Two World Wars, Nicholas Rankin explored the clever bits of fraud that allowed the British a strategic advantage in World War I. Rank delightfully tells stories about the development of camouflage, propaganda, and the British military sniper. Camouflage was used extensively during World War I. With the advent of aerial photographic technology and the extensive use of aerial maps to track every move of the enemy, the Allies felt confident the Germans “could not deepen a trench without it being known about” (Rankin, 2009). The urgent need to “deceive [the] eyes in the sky” lead to inventive camouflage techniques. The objective of camouflage was described as “deception, not concealment,” hiding weapons and troops in plain sight (Rankin, 2009). Uniforms were changed. White hats and brightly-colored jackets were replaced with drab earth colors. A French soldier named Victor Guirand de Scevola is credited with the idea of concealing ground…show more content…
The “tidy-minded British” came to see the downside of their “excessive smartness” when such straight lines made their soldiers’ heads easier targets when soldiers peeked over the defensive walls (Rankin, 2009). Recognizing the power of snipers and how effective sniper attacks were on morale, British sniper teams were created. Original British snipers were recruited sportsman whose sport trained them to understand the weather, the wind and how to patiently hunt their game. Proper British soldiers learned to be sneaky, dirty and move slowly and silently (Rankin,

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