A Pile of Donated Christmas Presents Destined for US Troops
This photo from 1917 shows a “Christmas Box Hospital” where boxes containing gifts for U.S. troops donated by the general public were repaired before being shipped to the front line troops. Here we see a pile of boxes containing Christmas gifts awaiting inspection and repair. Statistics from the United States Committee on Public Information indicates that about 11,000 boxes arrived in poor condition and needed to be repaired.
Collection drives for necessities and luxury items for the soldiers were important propaganda tools, helping to maintain the morale of the troops and also create a sense of solidarity between the soldiers and civilians on the homefront.
British Gun Crew
Photo of a British gun crew struggling to get their artillery piece out of the mud during the Battle of the Somme, 1914. Notice the man on the far right busy doing nothing while the rest of the men push and pull the artillery.
Group Photo of the German High Command During World War 1
The German Emperor and His Wartime Generals and Admirals
This is a group photo of the German High Command during World War 1, showing the German Emperor Kaiser Willhelm I surrounded by his generals and admirals. Seated behind the Emperor are such notables as Bulow, Tirpitz, Moltke and Hindenberg. These men collectively had the blood of millions on their hands.
German Prisoners of War Standing Behind Barbed Wire
The picture shows a sea of German soldiers, all prisoners of war, standing behind a barbed wire fence. The fence is a rudimentary one, just a few wires strung along some rough posts. There are a couple of signs, their wording illegible but probably some warning against crossing the fence, nailed to one of the fence posts.
There are so many prisoners of war that the men have no room to move or lie down. There is no visible shelter, just a mass of thousands and thousands of POWs. Judging from their overcoats it is likely that the picture was taken in the Fall and there seems to be a chill in the air.
The conditions must have been very difficult. There is no designated place to go to the bathroom. Hygiene must have been horrendous. Line ups for food must have been very long.
Despite these hardships, the men in this picture were comparatively lucky. For them the war was over, and if they survived cholera and other diseases prevalent in POW camps, they would soon be repatriated with their families.
Here is a close up of some of the men, unidentified persons amidst the masses of nameless and indistinct faces.
A group of French soldiers, guns by their side, rest on a straw bedding laid down on the floor of the church. meanwhile a group of parishioners kneel and pray facing the altar.
Although all of the combatants were majority Christian nations, churches became focal points of fighting and were often commandeered to serve as bases, barracks, and field hospitals. The sturdy stone construction of churches and cathedrals meant that they made good strong points, and so they were often fortified and used as forts. Also their steeples served as good observation posts. As a result churches suffered terrible damage from artillery and infantry fighting, and were desecrated by both sides in the war.