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

  • Brook Mitchell / Getty

    Photos of the Week: Pony Man, Ancient Sword, Foam Fight

    Container ships at the Port of Los Angeles, morning light on mountains in Switzerland, a wearable soft toy in France, drag racing in Tennessee, glacier exploration in Austria, and much more

  • Saul Santos / AP

    The Ongoing Volcanic Eruption in the Canary Islands

    A month of lava flows and ashfall has taken a toll on several small towns on the island of La Palma.

  • Johan De Ridder / cupoty.com

    Winners of the 2021 Close-up Photographer of the Year

    Some of the winning and honored images from this year’s competition in close-up, macro, and micro photography

  • © Mauricio Narea / The 12th Epson International Pano Awards

    Winners of the 2021 Epson International Pano Awards

    The 12th annual panoramic-photo competition has just come to a close, and the winning images and finalists have been announced.