Accurately called the Great War, WWI saw the loss of over 16 million lives and the reformation of international boundaries and treaties. The devastation and severe hardships were felt all around the world. At the same time, the precursors to the modern weapons we use now were being tested in action during the many long battles of the Great War. It was a strange time for many: loved ones were missing, battles seemed never-ending, and women had to pick up slack where they could. The numerous photographs we have today are testaments to what happened and how people lived their lives in spite of a world-wide war. These photographs give us a window into that unusual time.
The Western Front became the scene for the intense and lengthy trench warfare between the Allied Forces and the Central Powers. Troops were confined and stalemate battles drew on for months.
Women were called upon to do many of the jobs that had previously only been held by men. This included many forms of manual labor and nearly all jobs were done in skirts.
As the first major war in which airplanes and tanks were used, the stakes were higher. But, since the technology of plane-building did not yet produce durable and reliable aircraft, many a light-weight plane went down during reconnaissance flights. Using airplanes for bombing was not yet possible, but single-fighter planes were used by the major players in WWI. The “Ace” fighter pilots as they were known were pilots who had successfully claimed five victories against enemy planes, the most famous of which came to be known as the Red Baron (with eighty reported victories).
Tanks were developed as a tool to cross the trenches that had become endemic to the war. The new-fangled track vehicles were created both in France and England and could traverse terrain that no previous military vehicle could cross. Germany was slow to produce tanks, viewing them as “dishonorable” and ineffective.
“Sergeant” Stubby was one of the most-decorated dogs to help in the war effort. Over the course of eighteen months, Stubby participated in seventeen missions, bringing news of impending mustard gas attacks, finding wounded soldiers, and even once capturing a German spy. Working within the 102nd Infantry Regiment, this Boston Terrier started his life as a stray puppy and ended it as a war hero. Stubby died in 1926.