The First World War (1914 to 1918) was the greatest armed conflict in history, involving all of the industrialized nations as well as their colonial empires.

It was a war of firsts: the first use of poison gas, the first use of extensive air power for reconnaissance and ground attack, the first use of submarines as a strategic weapon, and the first total war.

World War 1 would claim the lives of millions of soldiers and civilians; and even greater number would have lasting psychological and physical injuries. Empires that had seemed impregnable would vanish in the turmoil of WW1: by the time it was over, the German, Russian, Austrian and Ottoman Empires would be gone. Britain would emerge victorious, but weakened, and the United States would assume the mantel of world superpower.

The world would never be the same as a result of World War 1. And the seeds of a new conflict, only twenty years later, were already sown.

WorldWar1Archive.com is dedicated to preserving a visual history of this pivotal moment in history by assembling compelling and awe inspiring photographs of World War 1.