World War I in Photos: Soldiers and Civilians

When looking through thousands of images of World War I, some of the more striking photos are not of technological wonders or battle-scarred landscapes, but of the human beings caught up in the chaos. The soldiers were men, young and old, and the opportunity to look into their faces and see the emotion, their humanity, instead of a uniform or nationality, is a gift—a real window into the world a century ago. While soldiers bore the brunt of the war, civilians were involved on a massive scale as well. From the millions of refugees forced from their homes, to the volunteer ambulance drivers, cooks, and nurses, to the civilian support groups used by all major armies, ordinary people found themselves at war. This entry is a glimpse into the lives of these people, in battle, at play, at rest, and at work, during the war. 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 6 of a 10-part series on World War I.

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

Most Recent

  • HelloRF Zcool / Shutterstock

    A Photo Trip to China’s Qiandongnan Prefecture

    In south central China’s Guizhou province sits Qiandongnan Miao and Dong Autonomous Prefecture, home to nearly four million people, beautiful scenery, and colorful festivals.

  • Marco Longari / AFP / Getty

    Afriski: Lesotho's Only Ski Resort

    High in the Mountains of Lesotho, sits Afriski, one of only two ski resorts in southern Africa.

  • Ilya Naymushin / Reuters

    Photos of the Week: Atomic Art, Moon Pool, Giant Iceberg

    The Royal Air Force celebrates its centennial in London, World Cup emotions run high, the Running of the Bulls begins in Spain, Tour de France riders pass through stage six, and much more.

  • Kyodo / Reuters

    Photos: Death Toll Reaches 200 in Devastating Japan Floods

    Over the weekend, sustained heavy rainfall hit parts of western and central Japan, causing flash flooding, setting off landslides, and submerging floodplains.