The First World War - The War to End All War

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Preface to The First World War, an illustrated history by AJP Taylor. “The First World War cut deep into the consciousness of Modern man. It reshaped the political order in Europe. It memorials stand in every town and village. ……. My aim has been to see the war in historical perspective. I have tried to explain what the war was about; particularly, to resolve the paradox that men were passionately engaged in the war and hated it at the same time. Each conuntry fought ostensibly to defend itself yet sought also to conquer and to make great gains.” 1966. Too many people still believe the greatness of their nations, of course most people love their own country too. Before the start of the Iraq War in 2003, a patriotic friend called me from the US and ask me “Are you not afraid of the coming Iraq war?”, with her rather blinding enthusiasm for the invasion. I did not answer her. Unknown to her, I was marching against the Iraq war. It was the biggest protest march I have ever seen. On that day, 1 million people marched in London to voice their opposition to the war. At least there were 1 million people who did not believed that Iraq had the Weapon of Mass Destruction neither were they able to stop the war, in an otherwise democratic country. .

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First created 2 Jan 2015 Version 1.0 - 21 Feb 2015. Jerry Tse. London . The First World War All rights reserved. Rights belong to their respective owners. Available free for non-commercial, Educational and personal use. The War to Ends All Wars

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Territorial expansions in Germany & Serbia led to rising nationalism

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Germany was united under Otto von Bismarck of Prussia, into the “Second Reich”, with territories stretching from the border of Russia, through Poland, to the border with France, in the late 19C. By the early years of the 20C, Germany became the industrial powerhouse of Europe and also the dominant power in central Europe, challenging the supremacy of France and Britain . Rising German Industry

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During the Balkan Wars of 1912 and 1913 the Ottoman Empire was defeated. Serbian nationalism was on the rise, as its territory expanded , while the Ottoman Empire crumbled. Above - Anti-aircraft field gun near Belgrade July-August 1915. Rising Serbia and the Declining Ottoman Empire

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The naval Arms Race between Germany and Britain

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The new British Dreadnought battleship

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The German battle fleet challenge

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Interlocking Alliances

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A series of treaties and alliances between European powers, dragged the whole of Europe into a continental war. Of the five main antagonists, Germany, Austria-Hungary and Russia were effectively ruled by monarchy. France and Britain were ruled by democratic elected governments.

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Autocratic monarchs

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Czar Nicholas at the Front - Russian Czar Nicholas II at the Front along with the six-foot-six tall Russian Army Commander-in-Chief Grand Duke Nicholas (standing in car) and Count Dobrinsky . Although the Czar had no military aptitude, he relieved the Grand Duke in September 1915 and took personal command of the world's largest army, with 16 million men mobilized - an army sprawled across the gigantic Eastern Front. The Czar's preoccupation with military matters and his extended absence from the home front led to a worsening of Russia's internal political situation, weakening his power and helping to pave the way for revolution. Autocratic monarchs

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The Assassination

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Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria, heir to the Austrian throne and his Wife leaving the Town Hall in Sarajevo, Bosnia, June 28, 1914. A bomb was thrown at their car but missed. Undaunted, they continued their visit only to be shot and killed a short time later by a lone assassin. Serbia Nationalism vs Autocratic Austrian Monarchy

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War Began

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Austria-Hungarian soldiers executing Serbian women Serbia invaded

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Germany went to war

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Mobilization & Blind Enthusiasm

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The British Lord Kitchener recruitment poster and Canadian Grenadier Guards recruitment poster of WWI.

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1916-17 US Uncle Sam recruitment poster and Russian recruitment poster.

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1916 French poster “Courage we shall get them”. Design by Jules Abel Faivre (1867-1945). 1919 German Recruiting Poster for the Reichswehr.

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Adolf Hitler in crowd outside the Odeonplatz during the mobilization of the German army for WWI.Munich, Germany, August 2, 1914

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The first “People’s War” Nations after nations their entire population were involved in the war efforts.

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The First World War substantially increased the numbers of women in paid work and the range of jobs that they undertook. The majority of women supported the war effort by working in industry.

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Cheerful German reserve-division marches to the front at Verdun. Their aim was to 'bleed the French to death'. Deployed in this war of attrition only a few of these soldiers returned alive. Picture made in the summer of 1915.

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Turkey was Invaded Gallipoli landing

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Technological War

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French soldiers camouflaging a 370 mm railway gun - Picture made by an official photographer of the French army on September 5th, 1917, near the village of Heenkerke in Flanders, Belgium. The deep roar of these enormous guns was terrifying. Conversation was impossible. To speak to a man beside him a soldier had to shout. Though the ears of the gunners were stuffed with cotton they ached and throbbed.

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British Introduced Tanks - The British secret weapon deceptively described by them as a motorized water tank - a name that stuck in part. The first tanks in the war were seen at Delville Wood in the Somme and were met with incredulous looks from the Allied soldiers they were meant to protect and from the Germans, some of whom called them "monsters."

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Giant listening horns used to listen for approaching aircraft during WWI.

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Poison Gas - Unexploded shells, containing deadly mustard gas, are piling up in the Belgian Houthulst Forest. Every day duds are found on the former battlefields of the Western Front. These shells never exploded because when they hit the ground they just disappeared into the muddy clay of Flanders. Getting rid of these rusting and often leaking shells is an enormous problem for Belgium.

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Chemical Warfare

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Gas casualties of the British 55th (West Lancashire) Division, awaiting treatment at an Advanced Dressing Station near Bethune, in France. This is one of the most famous pictures showing the effects of gas warfare. It was made by the official army photographer Second Lieutenant T.L. Aitke on April 10, 1918, during the Battle of Estaires , which was a part of the German spring offensive.

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This is a French medical picture, made on March 31, 1918. The dead man is a French soldier of the 99th Infantry Regt., who was killed by German mustard gas. The gas not only burned his lungs and intoxicated him, but also tore his skin apart.

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Armenian Massacre

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Picture showing Armenians killed during the Armenian Genocide. Image taken from Ambassador Morgenthau's Story, written by Henry Morgenthau, Sr. and published in 1918 . " Those who fell by the wayside. Scenes like this were common all over the Armenian provinces, in the spring and summer months of 1915. Death in its several forms - massacre , starvation, exhaustion---destroyed the larger part of the refugees. The Turkish policy was that of extermination under the guise of deportation"

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Turkish official teases starving Armenian children by showing them a piece of bread during the Armenian Genocide in 1915.

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A global conflict

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Trench warfare and stalemate

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Horrors of War

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French picture made in 1916 in a trench near Verdun, Northern France. The Battle of Verdun was the longest and one of the bloodiest engagements of World War I. Two million men were engaged. The Germans began the battle on February 21, 1916. In December of that year the French had regained most of the ground lost. The Germans intended a battle of attrition in which they hoped to bleed the French army white. In the end they sustained almost as many casualties as the French: an estimated 328,000 to the French 348,000. The real figures are unknown. Nowadays Verdun stands for everything that is cruel and savage in warfare. Soldiers on both sides lost their sense of humanity.

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Shot at dawn. Belgian soldier and war-volunteer Aloïs Walput (21) is tied to a pole and shot by his fellow-men. This execution took place on 3rd June 1918 in the dunes near the Flemish village of Oostduinkerke . The picture was made a few seconds after the soldier died: two soldiers cut the body loose, an officer (the medical doctor?) takes the exact time, the spurred commander of the firing-squad looks on. After the war all armies made their files on their executions top-secret. In a few cases the truth leaked through .

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On May 7, 1917 a French army photographer took this photo of a horrible scene along a railway, somewhere in Northern France.

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Humanity in War

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British soldier gave water to a wounded German prisoner-of-war. Although the picture is probably staged, friendly gestures like this actually happened. In World War One most soldiers did not really hate their enemies. They saw each other as victims of the same incomprehensible world-politics. However, captured snipers and flamethrower-operators did not get much compassion.

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An American Cigar - American Army chaplain offered a cigar to a young German prisoner-of-war. As Germany in 1918 ran out of cannon fodder, the Kaiser and his generals committed very young soldiers to battle.

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British and German football game On Christmas 1914 the war was stopped and an unofficial truce negotiated on the Western Front. British and German soldiers crossed trenches to exchange greetings and food. A football game was also arranged to be played between the British and the German team.

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British and German soldiers exchanged cigarettes , gifts , and addresses during Christmas Truce , 1914. British and German football game

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War ended

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Armistice day celebrations , London, 11 November 1918

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American entered the war in April 1917. Photo shows American soldiers returning home after the war.

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The Treaty of Versailles and its consequences

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A full meeting of the Paris Peace Conference inside the ornate French Foreign Ministry building at the Quai d'Orsay. Representatives from the twenty-seven Allied nations met along with others. The Germans were excluded but kept a close eye on press reports about the proceedings. Allied indecision over what to do about the Russian Bolsheviks kept Russia from being invited .

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The European boundaries were redrawn. We saw the return of the Baltic states and Poland. Yugoslavia was created. Germany shifted westward and mostly at the expanse of the Austria-Hungary Empire. European map redrawn

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Russian Czar in Captivity Nicholas Romanov, who once sat upon the throne as absolute ruler of Russia, now seated on a tree stump following his abdication, subsequent arrest and imprisonment in the Urals by Bolshevik Red Guards, three of whom are seen in the background. All the ruling monarchs lost their power

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Reparations bankrupted Germany

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Germany colonies were taken away In Africa, Germany colonies were shared among the victorious powers. German concessions in China were given to the Japanese, which created a sense of injustice among the Chinese. This led the May Fourth intellectual movement and also the introduction of Marxism in China. Photo of released students, detained by the authority, after taking part on the May Fourth march in 1919

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Other consequences of the war

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Bloody Picnic Corpse of a French soldier blown into a tree Human costs Total killed 15m to 18m including civilians and military personnel. Total wounded between 22m and 23m.

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Maimed Young disabled soldiers at the Fourth London General Hospital. Total wounded between 22m and 23m.

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Unimaginable Destruction

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Daughters of Flanders' Slain. As Belgium was a major battleground in WW 1. Orphans were common. WWI left some 3 million widows and as many as 10 million orphans. Photo shows an orphanage in Northern France , in the summer of 1917, by an unknown American photographer. The picture was published in the National Geographic magazine. .

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Women emancipation

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Group of women working on an automobile engine re shortage of men during World War I. United Kingdom 1916 Society became less rigid and more open

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Optimisms and Hopes The creation of the League of Nations

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He cloned the phrase “The war to end all wars”. He was behind the creation of the League of Nations

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The irony is that the US never joined the League of Nations, a forerunner of the UN today Members of the League of Nations

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Rise of Communism and Fascism

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Hitler salutes to a crowd of soldiers at a Nazi rally in 1938. Fascist parties were formed in Italy and Spain.

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Lenin giving a speech in Moscow in 1917. Chinese Communist Party was founded in 1921 only a few years after the Russian Revolution. There was also strong left wing movements in Germany after WW I.

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The people in the photos had long been dead. The wounds had been healed. But has the lesson been learned? Not by all.

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Nazi leader Adolf Hitler departs Landsberg prison in December 1924 after serving just nine months for his role in the failed Beer Hall Putsch. Sensational news coverage surrounding his trial helped little - known Hitler gain a national following in Germany. After his release from prison, Hitler began to painstakingly rebuild his movement with the goal of getting Nazis elected to the national legislature to destroy Germany's democracy from within and establish a dictatorship, leading up to the Second World War.

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It is easy to forget the lesson learned a century ago. Nationalism is making a come back in parts of the world.

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An old soldier planted one of the 888,246 porcelain roses on the lawn of the Tower of London to commemorated the British fallen soldiers in WW I, one hundred years later on the beginning of the First World War. “They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old.” Ode of Remembrance by Laurence Binyon, published in 1914. All rights reserved. Rights belong to their respective owners. Available free for non-commercial and personal use. The End Music – Sad Romance, composed by Thao Nguyen Xanh and played by Ji Pyeong Keyon

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