World War I in Photos: The Western Front, Part I

When we think of World War I, images of the bloody, muddy Western Front are generally what come to mind. Scenes of frightened young men standing in knee-deep mud, awaiting the call to go "over the top", facing machine guns, barbed wire, mortars, bayonets, hand-to-hand battles, and more. We also think of the frustrations of all involved: the seemingly simple goal, the incomprehensible difficulty of just moving forward, and the staggering numbers of men killed. The stalemate on the Western Front lasted for four years, forcing the advancement of new technologies, bleeding the resources of the belligerent nations, and destroying the surrounding countryside. 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 2 of a 10-part series on World War I. This installment focuses on Early Years on the front, part II will focus more on the final year of trench warfare.

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

Most Recent

  • Mario Tama / Getty

    Photo Updates From Kilauea: The Lava Meets the Sea

    Since Kilauea volcano began its most recent eruptive activity on Hawaii's Big Island three weeks ago, the situation has evolved and worsened.

  • Thomas Peter / Reuters

    A Changing Way of Life for Mongolia’s Dukha Reindeer Herders

    In north central Mongolia, the Dukha people have lived a nomadic life with their reindeer herds for generations—today, that way of life is under pressure.

  • Richard Seeley / Shutterstock

    Travel Monday: A Photo Trip to Southeast Alaska

    Recent images from across southeast Alaska, a narrow strip of coastal islands and mountains that stretches more than 500 miles along the Pacific Ocean.

  • Mario Tama / Getty

    Photos of the Week: Kyrgyz Horsemen, Shanghai Steeplechase, Giant Bobbleheads

    Participants at the Wave and Goth festival in Germany, attendees at a “Kiss-a-thon” in Mexico City, observations of Ramadan in Indonesia, and so much more.