Page 179. " I pull myself together, and go with my sister to the slaughter-house to get a pound or two of bones "

During World War I, German civilians were forced to survive on increasingly meagre rations. The government took control of food prices and food supplies, prioritising soldiers ahead of civilians. The blockade established by the Allies prevented supplies from being imported from other countries.

Insufficient food was produced in Germany as most of the nation's farmers had been conscripted, leaving their agricultural lands uncultivated and unproductive. Around 750,000 civilians died from malnutrition. 

Page 190. " They have dysentery; furtively many of them display the blood-stained tails of their shirts. "

Dysentery causes inflammation of the intestines, especially the colon, and results in bleeding during defecation and diarrhea. The disease is spread through a lack of sanitation and malnutrition, especially in filthy places like trenches and prison camps. It is usually fatal if left untreated, and resulted in thousands of deaths during WWI.

World War I was not the only time the disease wreaked havoc on an army.  The Grande Armée of Napoleon Bonaparte lost 80,000 men to dysentery during the invasion of Russia. 

Page 199. " The first aeroplanes appear in the sky. "

Aeroplanes were just coming into military use at the outset of World War I. Initially, they were used mostly for reconnaissance. Pilots and engineers learned from experience, leading to the development of specialized models, including fighters, bombers, and ground-attack aeroplanes.