Nieuwkerke, Belgium • A century after the start of World War I, Belgium and France are still scarred by over 1,000 graveyards, countless bomb craters, rusting gas shells, bunkers and trenches that tore apart the Western Front for four years.
The 1914-18 conflict was so unprecedented in its scope and savagery that it became known simply as "The Great War." The front line of death and destruction burned through the Alps, Central Europe, the Balkans and Russia, spilling into present-day Turkey and reaching beyond to the Middle East and as far as China.
World War I claimed some 14 million lives 5 million civilians and 9 million soldiers, sailors and airmen from 28 countries, from India to South Africa to the United States. At least 7 million troops were left permanently disabled.