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From the trenches to the apocalyptic battlefields, these World War I photos capture the tragedy of the conflict that was unlike anything the world had ever seen before.
World War I was not, as it’s commonly known, “the war to end all wars.” It was just the beginning of the kind of modern mass violence that would come to define the 20th century. For the first time, the armies of Europe used such tools of slaughter as the flamethrower, poison gas, the tank, and war planes. But the image that most often haunts World War I photos is that of soldiers in the trenches.

From the trenches to the lesser-known terrors of this cataclysm that left some 40 million dead, see the photos from World War I.

The so-called Royal Irish Rifles pose for a picture at the beginning of the 1916 Battle of the Somme, one of the war’s largest battles.

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