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The First World War: Color photographs of the German Front 1914-1918
04:22 am


World War I
J. B. Priestley

These incredible color photographs of the German battlefront during the First World War, 1914-1918, were taken by Hans Hildenbrand.

The novelist and playwright, J. B. Priestley, who fought in the war, described the difference in strategy and the folly of attitude between the opposing armies in his memoir Margin Released:

The British Army never saw itself as a citizens’ army. It behaved as if a small gentlemanly officer class still had to make soldiers out of under-gardeners’ runaway sons and slum lads known to the police. These fellows had to be kept up to scratch. Let ‘em get slack, they’d soon be rabble again. So where the Germans and French would hold a bad front line with the minimum of men, allowing the majority to get some rest, the British command would pack men into rotten trenches, start something to keep up their morale, pile up casualties and drive the survivors to despair. This was done not to win a battle, not even to gain a few yards of ground, but simply because it was supposed to be the thing to do. All the armies in that idiot war shovelled divisions into attacks, often as bone-headed as ours were, just as if healthy young men had begun to seem hateful in the sight of Europe, but the British command specialized in throwing men away for nothing. The tradition of an officer class, defying both imagination and common sense, killed most of my friends as surely as those cavalry generals had come out of the chateaux with pol mallets and beaten their brains out…

...I still feel today and must go on feeling until I die, the open wound, never to be healed, of my generation’s fate, the best sorted out and then slaughtered, not by hard necessity but mainly by huge murderous public folly.

More color photos from World War One, after the jump…

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Leave a comment