In 1914, the world was plunged into perhaps one of the bloodiest human conflicts that would go down in the annals of history. World War One tore Europe apart and it would also fundamentally change world order as well as global politics. July 28 was the start of that turbulent period in 1914 and it lasted until November 11 of 1918. During that time and until the commencement of World War II, that event was simply referred to as the Great War or the World War. In the US, it was at first referred to as the European War.
More than 9 million active soldiers were killed; a casualty rate made worse by the belligerents’ technological and industrial superiority, as well as strategic impasse. In total a staggering 16 million plus combatants and civilians combined perished in addition to more than 20 million injured, making World War One amongst the deadliest of conflicts ever.
Now 100 years removed from that sordid global conflict, people are attempting to memorialize the war as it commemorates its centennial this 2014. Scottish photographer Peter MacDiarmid produced a mesmerizing collection of images that combines photographs shot during WWI with photos of the exact locations as they look today.
The fascinating images present a surreal perspective at the passage of a century. The superimposed images underscore just how little or how much Europe has changed in the past 100 years since the war erupted. Several buildings and streets remain practically frozen in time, while many structures have been obviously repaired and restored from the destruction.
The horrors of war are also much more evident in images of wreckage and rubble juxtaposed against the peace of modern times. The images also humanize a war that we are so far removed from, as we see faces of young men from both sides of the conflict. Men who had their whole lives in front of them, full of hope, but worn down by the ravages of war. It is a sad but priceless reminder that any such conflict should never befall us again.
View MacDiarmid’s thought provoking images here.