Photos of World War I that Will Stay with You for a Long Time

The First World War often conjures up horrific images of a bloodbath fought in the trenches of the Western Front. It’s the first war fought on a global scale – in every ocean and almost every continent.

In honor of its centenary, here are 45 of the most arresting photos from World War I:

1. A soldier paying respects at a colleague’s grave near Cape Helles, where the Gallipoli landings took place (1915)

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PA Photos/PA Archive/Press Association Images

2. British soldiers enjoying possession of a newly captured German trench, pointing to a sign that says “Old Hun Line.”

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National Library of Scotland

3. A combat engineer listening to German movement near Verdun (1915)

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REX USA

4. Indian soldiers digging trenches (1915)

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Charles Hilton DeWitt Girdwood / Crown Copyright

5. Two soldiers inspecting an umbrella.

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National Library of Scotland

6. Tensions thawed when both sides came together for a rare temporary truce and enjoyed a football kick-around (1915)

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PA Photos/PA Archive/Press Association Images

7. German troops playing football behind the lines (1915)

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PA Photos/PA Archive/Press Association Images

8. Portraits of German prisoners

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National Library of Scotland

9. Soldiers peering through a shell hole

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National Library of Scotland

10. A cavalry officer smoking a pipe as his horse picks its way down the steep slope of a mine crater

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National Library of Scotland

11. Two soldiers with a rum jar

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National Library of Scotland

12. British soldiers in a dugout

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National Library of Scotland

13. At a signal station for the Dehra Dun Brigade, the two soldiers in the middle are on telephones, taking messages (1915).

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The British Library

14. Off-duty relaxation

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National Library of Scotland

15. A captured German aeroplane

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National Library of Scotland

16. Soldiers and locals outside a German building with the door daubed with “Gott strafe England,” which means “God punish England.”

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National Library of Scotland

17. French troops throwing rocks at advancing German troops from their hillside trench in the Vosges (1916)

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PA Photos/PA Archive/Press Association Images

18. A Japanese soldier trying to rouse a fallen comrade

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PA Photos/PA Archive/Press Association Images

19. A derelict train with soldiers standing in it, France

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National Library of Scotland

20. In a trench in France wearing paper hats from Christmas crackers while a sentry uses a mirror to keep watch on no man’s land (1916)

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PA Photos/PA Archive/Press Association Images

21. British messenger dogs with their handler, France.

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National Library of Scotland

22. Soldiers standing in mud, France.

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National Library of Scotland

23. Taking a nap, Thievpal, France

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National Library of Scotland

24. British soldiers walking on a shell-cratered winter landscape along the Somme (1916)

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PA Photos/PA Archive/Press Association Images

25. A British soldier transporting shells in Messines, Belgium (1917).

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National Library of Scotland

26. Civilians and soldiers of the Royal Army Medical Corps giving refreshments to the wounded (1916)

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PA Photos/PA Archive/Press Association Images

27. A British soldier gazing out of a dugout with the body of a dead German soldier nearby (1916)

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PA Photos/PA Archive/Press Association Images

28. Brigadier-General J.V. Campbell (on bridge) congratulating soldiers of the 46th Division after their successful crossing of the St Quentin Canal

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PA Photos/PA Archive/Press Association Images

29. The 1st battalion of the 4th Ghurkha Rifles lining up for inspection

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Charles Hilton DeWitt Girdwood / Crown Copyright

30. Soldiers coming out of a trench with their bayonets fixed, ready for attack

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Charles Hilton DeWitt Girdwood / Crown Copyright

31. Soldiers attending a church service in a field

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National Library of Scotland

32. An officer in his hut dug into the side of a trench

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Charles Hilton DeWitt Girdwood / Crown Copyright

33. A sergeant reading a notice that says: “Kindness to animals. 500 horses lamed weekly by nails dropped on roads and horse lines by cookers carrying firewood with nails left in. Please remove nails.”

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National Library of Scotland

34. The 9th British Lancers charging German artillery in France (1916)

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REX USA/Underwood Archives / UIG / Rex

35. Bombarding of Saint-Bertin church (1916)

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REX USA

36. German troops wearing gas masks and throwing hand grenades (23 April 1916)

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REX USA

37. World War I was the first war in which manufactured poison gas was used as a weapon on a large scale.

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Charles Hilton DeWitt Girdwood / Crown Copyright

French troops wearing an early form of gas mask at the Second Battle of Ypres (1916)

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Universal History Archive

38. American infantryman suffocating on the western front.

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REX USA/Mondadori Collection / UIG / Rex

39. A soldier demonstrating an ungainly French gas mask. “French masks were notoriously unreliable,” wrote historian Gerald Fitzgerald.

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Mondador Portfolio / Getty Images

40. A strongman in the French army lifting a cannon overhead along with three of his comrades (1917)

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REX USA/Underwood Archives / UIG / Rex

41. British Army’s 55th Division blinded by a poison gas attack (April 1918)

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Universal History Archive

42. The bodies of hundreds of Italian soldiers from the Ninth Italian Regiment of the Queen’s Brigade strewn across the battlefield. They were victims of a gas and flame attack.

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Hulton Archive / Getty Images

43. A German cavalry unit with both horses and soldiers wearing gas masks advancing during the Second Battle of the Aisne at Soissons, France (June 1918)

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Mondador Portfolio / Getty Images

44. French soldiers making a gas and flame attack on German trenches in Flanders, Belgium (1918)

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DOD / Signal Office /Getty Images

45. German prisoners of war at a clearing station after the successful Allied offensive near Amiens, France. General Ludendorff described it as “The Black Day of the German Army” (1918).

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PA Photos/PA Archive/Press Association Images

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