May 5, 2014

In Focus: World War I, the Western Front, Pt. 1

When we think of World War I, images of the bloody, muddy Western Front are generally what come to mind. Scenes of frightened young men standing in knee-deep mud, awaiting the call to go “over the top”, facing machine guns, barbed wire, mortars, bayonets, hand-to-hand battles, and more. We also think of the frustrations of all involved: the seemingly simple goal, the incomprehensible difficulty of just moving forward, and the staggering numbers of men killed. The stalemate on the Western Front lasted for four years, forcing the advancement of new technologies, bleeding the resources of the belligerent nations, and destroying the surrounding countryside. On this 100-year anniversary, I’ve gathered photographs of the Great War from dozens of collections, some digitized for the first time, to try to tell the story of the conflict, those caught up in it, and how much it affected the world. Today’s entry is part 2 of a 10-part series on World War I, which will be posted every Sunday until June 29. This installment focuses on Early Years on the front, part II will focus more on the final year of trench warfare. Come back next week for Part 3.

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