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Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria and his wife, Sophie, leave the Sarajevo Guildhall after reading a speech on June 28, 1914.
Five minutes later, they were assassinated. Their assassination precipitated Austria-Hungary's declaration of war against Serbia which later kicked off World War I.Wikimedia Commons
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A regiment of famous alpine cyclists occupy a garrison during the Battle of the Somme.
Paul Thompson/FPG/Archive Photos/Getty Images
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This is one of the last photos of German pilot Richard Scholl before his death, which were collected and sent to his father. Scholl was reported missing in September 1918.Wikimedia Commons
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French soldiers on the battlefield during an offensive on the French fortress of Verdun. In total, more than 700,000 people were killed or injured on both the French and German sides during this battle, with casualties split almost evenly between them.Hulton Archive/Getty Images
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Some of the men of the 369th infantry regimen from New York. The U.S. did not participate in the World War I until late 1917.
Before then, an American soldier named Harry Butters had faked his British identity so that he could help their armed forces in the war. Later, British Prime Minister Winston Churchill wrote a memorial to Butters in the newspaper, writing "We realize his nobility in coming to the help of another country entirely of his own free will."Wikimedia Commons
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A French soldier at the Battle of Verdun wears a gas mask.
Historians have dubbed World War I "modern history's first battle of attrition," in which the goal was simply to take as many enemy lives as possible, no matter the time or the cost. Brutal methods like flamethrowers and poison gas were often used to achieve that goal.Keystone/Getty Images
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French soldiers launch gas and flame attacks against German troops in Flanders, Belgium. Getty Images
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An Armenian woman kneels beside her dead child in Syria during the Battle of Aleppo in 1918 after Prince Feisal's armed forces captured the city in the last days of the Sinai and Palestine Campaign in the First World War.Wikimedia Commons
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The average soldier had to carry 66 pounds of equipment during the Battle of the Somme. But major new technologies for warfare were also introduced in this battle, including the first use of tanks in combat.Photo12/UIG/Getty Images
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British 55th Division troops blinded by tear gas await treatment at an advanced dressing station near Bethune during the Battle of Estaires on April 10, 1918.Wikimedia Commons
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Soldiers with anti-aircraft gun during a battle in the First World War.Getty Images
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Gas-masked men of the British Machine Gun Corps with a Vickers machine gun during the first battle of the Somme. It was the first instance of chemical weaponry use.General Photographic Agency/Getty Images
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The French cavalry cross a swollen stream on the front lines of the Battle of the Somme which began on July 1, 1916.
The battle remains one of the bloodiest in the history of the British armed forces which lost roughly 60 percent of its troops on the first day alone.Ullstein Bild/Getty Images
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The Battle of Verdun was grisly. According to one French soldier whose unit was bombarded by a German artillery attack, the horrors were unimaginable: "I arrived there with 175 men... I left with 34, several half mad... not replying anymore when I spoke to them."The Print Collector/Getty Images
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Doctors would use masks to cover areas near the eye for those severely injured in the war. The eyeglasses this man is wearing aren't meant to improve his vision but to hold the mask in place. The picture on the left shows what the man looks like without his mask post-surgery.Internet Archive
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French soldiers take advantage of a peaceful moment on the Western Front to have a meal, complete with flowers and a bottle of wine.Hulton-Deutsch Collection/Corbis via Getty Images
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French troops wearing an early form of gas masks in the trenches during the Second Battle of Ypres. This was during Germany's first mass-use of poison gas on the Western Front. Hulton Archive/Getty Images
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The arrest of Gavrilo Princip, the 19-year-old who assassinated Austrian Archduke Franz Ferdinand. Princip and his accomplices were arrested as members of a Serbian nationalist secret society which led eventually to World War I.Wikimedia Commons
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Thousands of German soldiers arriving at a prisoner of war camp.Universal History Archive/UIG via Getty Images
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A unit of German soldiers during World War I with a young Adolf Hitler supposedly on the left. Wikimedia Commons
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A woman offers a flower to Indian soldiers fighting on behalf of the British Empire.
Giving flowers to soldiers was a traditional sign of welcome and support.Imperial War Museum
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Canadian soldier with burns caused by mustard gas. Wikimedia Commons
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Workers amid rows and rows of shells in a large warehouse at the National Filling Factory in the former village of Chilwell. The facility was a UK-owned explosives filling factory.Imperial War Museum/Flickr
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Soldiers playing football in no man’s land during The Christmas Truce, a series of unofficial ceasefires along the Western Front of World War I around Christmas 1914.Universal History Archive/UIG/Getty Images
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Soldiers of the Royal Irish Rifles, an infantry rifle regiment of the British Army, rest during the beginning hours of the Battle of the Somme.
Besides World War I, the regiment also served in the Second World War, the Korean War, and the Second Boer War.Royal Engineers No 1 Printing Company/IWM/Getty Images
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A sentry in the trenches looking through an improvised periscope at the Somme.Historica Graphica Collection/Heritage Images/Getty Images
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A skull dubbed "The Crown Prince" serves as a nighttime point of reference for soldiers fighting in the Battle of Verdun.
The Print Collector/Getty Images
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Two U.S. soldiers wear gas masks while walking through plumes of smoke.
While poison gas was responsible for less than one percent of deaths during the war, the new chemical warfare created a psychological terror that had never been known before.Hulton Archive/Getty Images
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War cinema crew working on the Western Front.Wikimedia Commons
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Wounded soldiers after the recapture of Fort Vaux during the Battle of Verdun. The battle lasted 303 days in 1916.Roger Viollet/Getty Images
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"This is a war to end all wars," is one of the more famous quotes widely associated with the carnage of World War I. It was made famous by President Woodrow Wilson, but he was not the first one who used it.
The British futurist writer and social commentator H.G. Wells invented the phrase in his article 'The War That Will End War' which was published in The Daily News on Aug. 14, 1914, predicting that it would be the last war of its kind. He was, of course, gravely mistaken.Hulton Archive/Getty Images
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Delegates of Germany and the Allies sign the Treaty of Versailles in the former palace's famous Hall of Mirrors. The treaty brought an end to World War I on June 28, 1919.Helen Johns Kirtland/Lucian Swift Kirtland
32 Colorized World War I Photos That Bring The Tragedy Of The ‘War To End All Wars’ To Life
Dubbed The Great War, a tremendous amount of blood was shed over the course of World War I that lasted four years from July 1914 to November 1918.
In addition to being the first fully mechanized war and the first to introduce the use of chemical weaponry, World War I was the deadliest conflict human history had yet seen with an estimated nine million soldiers and 10 million civilians killed.
The conflict is often underrepresented in favor of the more recent World War II, but the realities of the Great War were every bit as horrific. But these colorized photos of World War I may help you to truly understand just how inhumane it was.
Behind The Conflict Of World War I
Wikimedia CommonsBy the end of the Battle of Somme, more than a million soldiers were killed or wounded. A colorized version of this photo is in the gallery above.
With the assassination of the Austrian Archduke Franz Ferdinand and his wife, Sophie, on June 28, 1914, the world was launched into war.
Austria-Hungary declared war on Serbia. Russia joined Serbia and Germany declared war on Russia to join up with Austria-Hungary. France, in support of Russia, was therefore in support of Serbia and Great Britain, in support of France, was therefore also in support of Serbia.
Eventually, all of the armed forces across Europe mobilized with Serbia, Russia, France, the British Empire, and the United States on the allied side. On the opposing side were Austria-Hungary, Germany, Bulgaria, and the Ottoman Empire.
World War I stands out not only because of how many countries became involved but also because it was the first conflict where chemical weapons and heavy machine artillery were introduced. These methods famously unleashed a worldwide pandemic of disease and ultimately death.
Scenes from the Battle of Verdun between February and December 1916.
The true extent of the war's horrors is strongly captured in the writings of those who fought — and died — in it. As Captain Daniel Hickey of the Eighth Battalion Tank Corps wrote in his memoirs:
"He at once put up flares which made the night as bright as day. Then hell was let loose!... Machine-gun bullets cracked all round like a thousand whips... one of the tanks was lit up like a blacksmith's fire by the quantity of bullets striking it."
One of the most enduring first-hand accounts of World War I are the works of Wilfred Owen, a young poet who served in the war.
Topical Press Agency/Hulton Archive/Getty ImagesThe enormous bloodshed from the First World War earned it the moniker "the war to end all wars."
In his poem Dulce et Decorum Est, Owen describes the death of a soldier in front of him and the terrifying nightmares that followed:
In all my dreams before my helpless sight,
He plunges at me, guttering, choking, drowning.
If in some smothering dreams, you too could pace
Behind the wagon that we flung him in,
And watch the white eyes writhing in his face,
His hanging face, like a devil's sick of sin.
Owen's poems portray the deep ugliness of war and are regarded as poignant depictions of the conflict. Sadly, he died a week before the "war to end all wars" ended on Nov. 11, 1918.
Displaying World War I In Color
Ullstein Bild/Getty ImagesOriginal photo of cavalry troops at the Battle of Somme. Find the colorized version of this photo in the gallery.
Much of the archival footage from the First World War is in black-and-white. But thanks to advances in film technology, we can now see World War I in color. These restored photographs inject viewers with a deeper sense of pain for those lost in battle.
Modern computerized colorization was invented in 1970 by former NASA engineer Wilson Markle. The basis of his process was quite simple: black-and-white footage was copied and placed into a computer to determine the exact shade of grey of every object in the footage. Then, a palette of 4,000 shades matched each gradient of grey to color.
One of the most ambitious restoration efforts of World War I footage was the 2018 documentary film They Shall Not Grow Old by blockbuster director Peter Jackson who is best known as the force behind the Lord of The Rings saga.
See World War I in color through Peter Jackson's astounding documentary They Shall Not Grow Old.
What's unique about Jackson's rendition of World War I in color is that it took hundreds of hours of black-and-white archival footage from the war to create a 90-minute film using modern colorization techniques.
Jackson's producers for the film also converted the images into 3D, reduced the speed of the film, and added sound, bringing the stories of the movie's late soldiers to life in an utterly compelling way.
"I wanted to reach through the fog of time and pull these men into the modern world, so they can regain their humanity once more – rather than be seen only as Charlie Chaplin-type figures in the vintage archive film," Jackson, whose grandfather fought in the war, told the BFI. "I felt that I was learning about what my grandfather went through."