World War I in Photos: Introduction

A century ago, an assassin, a Serbian nationalist, killed the heir to the throne of Austria-Hungary as he visited Sarajevo. This act was the catalyst for a massive conflict that lasted four years. More than 65 million soldiers were mobilized by more than 30 nations, with battles taking place around the world. Industrialization brought modern weapons, machinery, and tactics to warfare, vastly increasing the killing power of armies. Battlefield conditions were horrific, typified by the chaotic, cratered hellscape of the Western Front, where soldiers in muddy trenches faced bullets, bombs, gas, bayonet charges, and more. 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. This entry is part 1 of a 10-part series on World War I. In this installment, I hope to give a glimpse of the war's beginnings, and a preview of what is to come.

Read more
Hints: View this page full screen. Skip to the next and previous photo by typing j/k or ←/→.

Most Recent

  • Matt Rourke / AP

    Pennsylvania: Images of the Keystone State

    A few glimpses of the landscape of Pennsylvania, and some of the animals and people calling it home

  • John Minchillo / AP

    Photos of the Week: Turkey Pardon, Deer Hoof, Seattle Owl

    A foggy sunrise in Germany, a fiery protest in Guatemala, a strongman contest in Crimea, the ongoing pandemic worldwide, mourning in Argentina for Diego Maradona, and much more

  • Gary Hershorn / Getty

    Autumn Colors and Autumn Chill

    One last look at the colorful beauty of this autumn, seen in cities and countryside vistas across the Northern Hemisphere

  • Camino Coach / Shutterstock

    Kansas: Images of the Sunflower State

    A few glimpses of the landscape of Kansas, and some of the animals and people calling it home