Soldiers of an Australian 4th Division field artillery brigade walk on a duckboard track laid across a muddy, shattered battlefield in Chateau Wood, near Hooge, Belgium, on October 29, 1917. This was during the Battle of Passchendaele, fought by British forces and their allies against Germany for control of territory near Ypres, Belgium. (James Francis Hurley/State Library of New South Wales)
“One hundred years ago, in the summer of 1914, a series of events set off an unprecedented global conflict that ultimately claimed the lives of more than 16 million people, dramatically redrew the maps of Europe, and set the stage for the 20th Century.” That’s photo-editor Alan Taylor’s introduction to his 10 part series “World War 1 in Photos.” Alan is the editor of the Atlantic Magazine’s InFocus photo blog, and over the last year he’s been digging through dozens of archives to assemble a visual account of The Great War and how it affected the world.
This Sunday Alan will publish the last installment in his series, and I spoke with him over Skype about some of the photographs he found and what we can learn from them, 100 years later.
All photos and captions via “World War I in Photos”
American troops using a newly-developed acoustic locator, mounted on a wheeled platform. The large horns amplified distant sounds, monitored through headphones worn by a crew member, who could direct the platform to move and pinpoint distant enemy aircraft. Development of passive acoustic location accelerated during World War I, later surpassed by the development of radar in the 1940s.(National Archives)
Turkish troops use a heliograph at Huj, near aza City, in 1917. A heliograph is a wireless solar telegraph that signals by flashes of sunlight usually using Morse code, reflected by a mirror. (Library of Congress)
A pigeon with a small camera attached. The trained birds were used experimentally by German citizen Julius Neubronner, before and during the war years, capturing aerial images when a timer mechanism clicked the shutter. (Deutsches Bundesarchiv)
Sergeant Stubby was the most decorated war dog of World War I and the only dog to be promoted to sergeant through combat. The Boston Bull Terrier started out as the mascot of the 102nd Infantry, 26th Yankee Division, and ended up becoming a full-fledged combat dog. Brought up to the front lines, he was injured in a gas attack early on, which gave him a sensitivity to gas that later allowed him to warn his soldiers of incoming gas attacks by running and barking. He helped find wounded soldiers, even captured a German spy who was trying to map allied trenches. Stubby was the first dog ever given rank in the United States Armed Forces, and was highly decorated for his participation in seventeen engagements, and being wounded twice. (Wikimedia Commons)
German soldiers attend to an upended German aircraft. (CC BY SA Carola Eugster)
Infantry lines North of Jerusalem, near Nebi Samuel, 1917. The Battle of Jerusalem ended up with British forces taking control of Jerusalem from the Ottoman Empire. (Library of Congress)
Western front, a group of captured Allied soldiers representing 8 nationalities: Anamite (Vietnamese), Tunisian, Senegalese, Sudanese, Russian, American, Portugese, and English. (National Archive/Official German Photograph of WWI)
French soldier whose face was mutilated in World War I, being fitted with a mask made at the American Red Cross studio of Anna Coleman Ladd. (Library of Congress)
Panoramic view of almost totally destroyed town; crude sign reads, “this was Forges”, possibly Forges-les-Eaux. (Library of Congress)
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