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

  • Marcia Straub / Getty

    Indiana: Images of the Hoosier State

    A few glimpses into the various features of Indiana, and some of the animals and people calling it home

  • Simon Bruty for OIS / IOC Handout via Reuters

    Photos of the Week: Impeachment Trial, Virtual Singer, Bat Clinic

    The annual Women’s March in New York City, the Tour Down Under cycling event in Australia, a firefighting robot in India, anti-government protests in Iraq, the 2020 Winter Youth Olympics in Switzerland, and much more.

  • Carl Court / Getty

    Juhyo: The Snow Monsters on Japan’s Mount Zao

    Windblown ice and snow build up hulking shapes on the trees atop Mount Zao.

  • Eloisa Lopez / Reuters

    The Colorless Landscape Around Taal Volcano

    In the Philippines, parts of the landscape near Taal have gone completely gray, covered in a blanket of volcanic ash.