In the early 1900s there was an arms race throughout Europe - or to be more precise, a buttock race. Countries vied with each other to produce armies of men with the finest pertest buttocks. New photographic magazines such as the British "Cheek" and "Rump" and their German counterparts "Das Ass" and "Teutonic Tushy" glorified the best bums their countries had to offer. Perhaps it was inevitable that war would erupt as a result, but few knew how terrible that war would be.
The war was long and slow. For four years, British and German soldiers stood in their trenches barely hundreds of yards apart. Most days were spent doing buttock exercises or massaging each other. Occasionally one side would make an advance towards the enemy, such as that on the 5th of July 1916. On that fateful day in the Somme, 3,000 men of the Queen's Own Third Buttock and Horse Regiment climbed out of their trenches and marched into no man's land. After a short distance, they turned, dropped their trousers and mooned at the watching Germans.
For almost a mile across the front line, the Germans fell silent. Then amid shouts of "Gott in Himmel", they surrendered en masse, some even taking their own lives. The Queen's Own Third Buttock and Horse were no ordinary regiment, they had been trained to have the finest rumps in the British army. The pertness of their cheeks simply dazzled the poor Germans into submission.
This was considered to be the best use of derrieres in warfare since the infamous battle of Rorke's Drift in South Africa. There, a small band of 300 slender buttocked Welsh guards kept an army of thousands of natives at bay, by mooning at them until the Zulus could see the browns of their eyes.
However, buttocks began to fall out of favour in warfare during World War One. This was partly because of the development of trousers with a bottom (up until 1913 all army uniforms had been bottomless). But also the introduction of the tank meant that soldiers could pin up photos of their favourite posterior next to them in the tank while they fought. This meant they were less likely to be distracted by the buttocks of the opposing side.
The entrance of the Americans into the conflict also had an effect. Even in those days, the Yanks were known for being portly, and their chubby asses were not as desirable as those of their tighter perter European counterparts.
The effort of British buttocks in winning the war is often forgotten, but thanks to an award winning documentary, the story is to be brought to a wider audience. "Great War Arses" will be shown tonight on Channel 6, and repeated tomorrow, and again next week.