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

  • Bulent Kilic / AFP / Getty

    Photos: Closing In on the Last ISIS Stronghold

    A U.S.-backed coalition now surrounds the last remaining ISIS holdout—the final vestige of a so-called caliphate that once controlled vast territories but that is now boxed in and desperate—in a tiny village under siege in eastern Syria.

  • Ozkan Bilgin / Anadolu Agency / Getty

    Photos of the Super Snow Moon

    Last night, skywatchers around the world were treated to views of the so-called super snow moon, and photographers across the globe captured the event.

  • Vincenzo Pinto / AFP / Getty

    Carnival in Venice 2019

    Colorful images from the opening days of the festival—“Tutta colpa della Luna!

  • Kevin Winter / Getty for The Recording Academy

    Photos of the Week: Lego Bugatti, Snowy Seattle, Cattle Dating

    Valentine’s Day among humans and animals, family reunions at an Indian border fence, an icy dinosaur in Latvia, snow kayaking in Estonia, International Condom Day in Mexico City, and much more