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

  • Vadim Ghirda / AP

    Photos of the Week: Water Festival, Candy Candidate, Uruguayan Gaucho

    Fashion in Pakistan, Ivanka Trump in Ethiopia, Holy Week celebrations in Spain, an aircraft with the world’s longest wingspan, Notre-Dame cathedral ablaze in Paris, spring skiing in Siberia, and much more

  • Wang Zhao / AFP / Getty

    Mars in the Gobi Desert

    Photographers were on hand as some of the first student groups arrived to tour this vision of Mars in China’s Gobi Desert.

  • Ludovic Marin / AFP / Getty

    After the Fire: Photos From Inside Notre-Dame Cathedral

    Investigators and photographers were able to get a first look at the damaged interior.

  • Francois Guillot / AFP / Getty

    Photos: The Devastation of Notre-Dame Cathedral

    A massive fire burned through the roof of one of Europe’s most visited historic landmarks today.