Women of America
The women of America were urged to follow the militant example of Joan of Arc and buy War Savings Stamps. Few would remember the embarrassing detail that it was the English who burned Joan at the stake.
Women of France
This American poster, produced shortly after the USA entered the war, was designed to encourage support for the allied war effort, and remind the public of what the French people were going through. The grimness of the factory, and the sight of heavy work being done by women, were designed to elicit sympathy, but ironically reflected reality for many European munitions workers.
The rape of Belgium in 1914 remained a powerful propaganda tool even in October 1918 and even in the United States. But America’s war loans proved unpopular with private investors: the interest rate of 4.25 per cent seemed low in relation to a long period of inconvertibility. The banks took 83 per cent of the third and fourth Liberty Loans.
A Fokker advertisement depicting a close-up view of a German fighter pilot in his Fokker monoplane, its synchronized machine gun and propeller, with Germany’s highest medal, le pour le mérite, in the top left corner.
Women had formed nursing units for service with the British army in the Crimean War, and continued to do so until 1914. Nonetheless many who volunteered in 1914, and particularly female doctors, found the War Office reluctant to accept their offers of service, and so they joined the French and Serb armies instead. Such resistance was rapidly replaced by a readiness to have women as nurses on all fronts and, as here, as ambulance drivers.
Russia had more abundant supplies of men than any other belligerent in the war, but in addition it had a more relaxed approach to women serving in combat units. After the March revolution, Maria Botchkareva, who served in the tsarist army, was asked by Kerensky to form a ‘battalion of death’, made up exclusively of women. Botchkareva herself said it was designed to shame the men into fighting, but elements did go into combat in the summer of 1917.
The victors of the battle of Tannenberg, Paul von Hindenburg and his chief of staff, Erich Ludendorff, pose for their photograph later in the war. They would consolidate their collective reputation on the eastern front, but struggled to impose themselves in the west after 1916, when Hindenburg succeeded Falkenhayn as chief of the general staff.
A hundred years on, the First World War still shapes the world in which we live. Its legacy survives in poetry, in prose, in collective memory, and in political culture. By the time the war ended in 1918, millions had died. Three major empires – Germany, Austria-Hungary, and the Ottomans – lay shattered by defeat. A fourth, Russia, was in the throes of a revolution that helped define the rest of the century. The Oxford Illustrated History of the First World War brings together in a single volume many distinguished World War One historians. From its causes to its consequences, from the Western Front to the Eastern, from the strategy of the politicians to the tactics of the generals, they chart the course of the war and assess its profound political and human consequences.
This is a slideshow of just a few of the book’s striking images, capturing the First World War in photographs, illustrations, and posters.