Nearly four years of deadly stalemate on the Western Front slowly came to an end in 1918, as Allied armies pushed into Germany at enormous cost, leading the Central Powers to finally seek an armistice.
In early 1917, British and French troops were launching futile offensives against German lines in Belgium and France, suffering greatly. The Central Powers were building their defensive capabilities, but launching limited offensives — continuing a stalemate costing thousands of lives every month. Over the next year, a treaty between Russia and the Central Powers freed up German resources, but American troops began arriving in France by the thousands, and Allied command became more unified and effective. The tide began to turn decisively in July 1918, beginning with the Battle of Amiens, followed by the “Hundred Days Offensive”, where Allies pushed German and Austro-Hungarian troops beyond the Hindenburg Line, forcing the Central Powers to seek a cease-fire. On November 11, 1918, all fighting ceased on the Western Front, after four years, and some eight million casualties. On this 100-year anniversary, I’ve gathered photographs of the Great War from dozens of collections, some digitized for the first time, to try to tell the story of the conflict, those caught up in it, and how much it affected the world. Today’s entry is part 9 of a 10-part series on World War I, which will be posted every Sunday until June 29. Come back next week for Part 10.