American Soldiers Dancing at a Service Club, World War I

Dancing

A Group of American Soldiers Dancing With their Sweethearts at a Service Club

During World War service organizations such as the Red Cross, Salvation Army and Rotary International devoted themselves to meeting the needs of American service men. They organized many social events to help soldiers cope with the stress of war and keep up morale, including dances such as the one pictured above.

Canadian Troops Cheering the British King

Canadian Troops

World War I – 1914 – 1918) Canadians cheering the British King George V, at Salisbury Plain, England. These troops likely felt a real sense of pride and joy to be reviewed by their monarch.

King George V, on horseback, reviews Canadian troops at Salisbury Plain, England.

King George V, on horseback, reviews Canadian troops at Salisbury Plain, England.

Although Canada had attained semi independent Dominion status by the time World War 1 came about, the country was very much still tied to Britain, and many anglophones felt a strong connection to Britain culturally and through family ties. Today the king or queen of England remains the head of the Canadian government, but this is a constitutional fiction only; all decisions are made by the Canadian government which has since matured into a fully independent and vibrant country of its own. But when these men had the privilege of saluting their king, they were not just saluting a figure head. For them King George tuly represented the unbreakable bond between England and her colony and they were glad to fight for him and for the mother country.

Large Allied Ammunition Dump During Battle of Verdun

ammunition dump WW1

The Tools of Death

 

Pictures above is a large allied ammunition dump, with thousands of artillery shells piled up and waiting to be fired against the enemy during the Battle of Verdun. Verdun was one of the bloodiest battles in human history. Total casualties amounted to almost a million men on both sides. Undoubtedly many of the shells in this photo found their mark and were responsible for some of the dead and wounded.

Belgian Soldiers Fighting in World War 1

Belgian Soldiers WW1

Belgian Soldiers Firing on German Troops, 1914

 

In this photograph, a squad of Belgian soldiers have taken cover in a shallow ditch or depression and are firing at a German patrol near a windmill. This scene was photographed in 1914 near the start of the war, when both sides were still employing tactics of movement and maneuver. The front was still fairly fluid and involved in many areas skirmishes between relatively small groups of soldiers, who would hold or yield positions as necessary. As the war developed, the fighting bogged down into relatively static trench warfare involving hundreds of thousands of men facing each other across a no man’s land between the opposing trench systems.

 

Belgium, a small and relatively unarmed country, has expected to remain neutral during the War. But it was invaded by the Germans who hoped to march quickly through Belgium in order to outflank the French frontier defences, and rapidly capture Paris and bring the war to a quick end. The German mistreatment of Belgium galvanized world opinion against Germany. And the heroic and stubborn resistance of the small Belgian army slowed the German advance, throwing their schedule of invasion off schedule. One has to wonder how the history of the world might have been different if the Belgian army had collapsed more quickly, and the Germans had been able to score a quick knock out blow against France as they had done in 1870. While one cannot help but sympathize with the Belgians, the world might have been better off if the world war had never really developed into a world war, and remained basically a conflict between Germany and France and Russia. A quick end would have saved the lives of millions of people and prevented the second world war, at least in the form that it took in our timeline.

German Prisoners of War

POWS

German Prisoners Western Front

Set of photographs showing groups of German prisoners of war being escorted through a French village. These men were captured during the Battle in Champagne which was a French attempt to counter attack the invading German armies and push them back. The battle lasted from September 25, 1915 until November 6, 1915.

The French outnumbered the Germans in the area almost two to one, and the offensive met with initial success. But the Germans had anticipated the French attack and had dug in. The French met with determined German resistance and resulted in the French suffering heavy losses.

Of the 450,000 French soldiers that participated in the battle, 150,000 became casualties. The Germans had 220,000 men and suffered 72,500 casualties, including 25,000 who were taken prisoners.

 

Prisoners of War

A group of German POWS Captured During the Battle in Champagne

German POWS

Closeup View of the German POWs

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