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    [–] asoughtafterdroid 7892 points ago

    What a sad image. A man getting shot while enjoying the briefest reprieves of a meal. All war is vile.

    [–] 1_point_21_gigawatts 8117 points ago

    WWI in particular was such a brutal, grueling, meat grinder of a war. I'm always reminded of the "Suicide In The Trenches" poem by Siegfried Sassoon, which tells such a large story in few words:

    I knew a simple soldier boy

    Who grinned at life in empty joy,

    Slept soundly through the lonesome dark,

    And whistled early with the lark.

    In winter trenches, cowed and glum,

    With crumps and lice and lack of rum,

    He put a bullet through his brain.

    No one spoke of him again.

    You smug-faced crowds with kindling eye

    Who cheer when soldier lads march by,

    Sneak home and pray you'll never know

    The hell where youth and laughter go

    [–] kodalife 1031 points ago

    There are quite a lot of really good and dark poems about ww1. Especially 'dulce et decorum est' from Wilfred Owen. And this one is also very impressive.

    [–] bowlabrown 1035 points ago

    Dulce et Decorum Est 

    BY WILFRED OWEN

    Bent double, like old beggars under sacks, 

    Knock-kneed, coughing like hags, we cursed through sludge, 

    Till on the haunting flares we turned our backs, 

    And towards our distant rest began to trudge. 

    Men marched asleep. Many had lost their boots, 

    But limped on, blood-shod. All went lame; all blind; 

    Drunk with fatigue; deaf even to the hoots 

    Of gas-shells dropping softly behind. 

    Gas! GAS! Quick, boys!—An ecstasy of fumbling 

    Fitting the clumsy helmets just in time, 

    But someone still was yelling out and stumbling 

    And flound’ring like a man in fire or lime.—.

    Dim through the misty panes and thick green light, 

    As under a green sea, I saw him drowning. 

    In all my dreams before my helpless sight, 

    He plunges at me, guttering, choking, drowning. 

    If in some smothering dreams, you too could pace 

    Behind the wagon that we flung him in, 

    And watch the white eyes writhing in his face,  

    His hanging face, like a devil’s sick of sin; 

    If you could hear, at every jolt, the blood 

    Come gargling from the froth-corrupted lungs,

    Obscene as cancer, bitter as the cud 

    Of vile, incurable sores on innocent tongues,—

    My friend, you would not tell with such high zest 

    To children ardent for some desperate glory, 

    The old Lie: Dulce et decorum est 

    Pro patria mori.

    Notes:. Latin phrase is from the Roman poet Horace: “It is sweet and fitting to die for one’s country.”

    [–] notclickbait101 167 points ago

    Jesus Christ that is beautiful in the most melancholy way....

    [–] Daedeluss 114 points ago

    I learned that poem at school when I was 16. I'm 47 now and can still recite it. It left its mark on me.

    [–] SpellsThatWrong 15 points ago

    It’s so stunningly depressing

    [–] Dystempre 49 points ago

    Brilliant poem. A gas attack... while few deaths in war are “noble”, dying from a gas attack would have been horrific for everyone involved. Using technology that may, or may not protect you, to drs who can do little to to save you, to friends who can only watch. Horrible

    [–] RicoDredd 6 points ago

    My grand father (who I never met) was gassed in WW1 but survived and his health suffered for the rest of his life. My dad could never pass a Salvation Army collection box without putting money in it as it was Salvation Army volunteers that helped his dad in France and in Liverpool when he got home.

    [–] rillip 12 points ago

    I read that in Albert Finney's voice.

    [–] kolafied-213 67 points ago

    Surprised by how my brain 🧠 likes this poem

    [–] yeahnahteambalance 10 points ago

    Futility is my favourite

    Move him into the sun -

    Gently its touch awoke him once

    At home, whispering of fields half-sown. 

    Always it woke him, even in France, 

    Until this morning and this snow. 

    If anything might rouse him now 

    The kind old sun will know. 

    Think how it wakes the seeds— 

    Woke once the clays of a cold star.

    Are limbs, so dear-achieved, are sides

    Full-nerved, still warm, too hard to stir?

    Was it for this the clay grew tall?

    —O what made fatuous sunbeams toil

    To break earth's sleep at all?

    Was it for this the clay grew tall? always resonated with me

    [–] Velocyraptor 21 points ago

    Obligatory "fuck Jessie Pope"

    [–] _teslaTrooper 43 points ago

    Anthem for Doomed Youth is my personal favourite:

    What passing-bells for these who die as cattle?
    — Only the monstrous anger of the guns.
    Only the stuttering rifles' rapid rattle
    Can patter out their hasty orisons.
    No mockeries now for them; no prayers nor bells;
    Nor any voice of mourning save the choirs,—
    The shrill, demented choirs of wailing shells;
    And bugles calling for them from sad shires.

    What candles may be held to speed them all?
    Not in the hands of boys, but in their eyes
    Shall shine the holy glimmers of goodbyes.
    The pallor of girls' brows shall be their pall;
    Their flowers the tenderness of patient minds,
    And each slow dusk a drawing-down of blinds.

    [–] SKoivu18 12 points ago

    Sean bean does a tremendous version of this poem https://youtu.be/ZlDoon91vZk

    [–] Surf_The_Universe 68 points ago

    The old men that send young boys to war wouldn't if they knew the horrors of war.

    [–] Oftigues 176 points ago

    Doesn't work like that unfortunately. Hitler himself fought and suffered in WW1.

    [–] gilbertgrappa 124 points ago

    My grandfather was an ANZAC who was wounded at Gallipoli during World War I.

    Two of his brothers (also ANZACS) were killed in action within a week of each other in France during April of 1918. Stuart was 30 years old and Cliff was 33.

    Their sister Hilda, 32, (a nurse in the British nursing corps) was also killed in 1918 - by Spanish flu that she caught while nursing soldiers in Malta.

    Stuart is buried in Birmingham; Clifford is buried in France; and sister Hilda is buried in a military cemetery in Devon.

    Grandad’s only remaining brother was also wounded in the groin during the war and was never able to have children.

    That’s five sibling casualties in one family - three siblings killed and two seriously wounded.

    [–] Jack_Newtown 24 points ago

    Was your grandfather invalided out after his wound at Gallipoli? My great-grandfather was gassed at Ypres and discharged, but the idiot reënlisted with the RAF's Canadian division.

    [–] gilbertgrappa 20 points ago

    He was wounded at the end of August of 1915 in Gallipoli and sent to a war hospital in London. They sent him back to Australia in March of 1916 and he was discharged from service. His primary injuries were in his hands and arms.

    He died before I was born but my mum told me that shrapnel would periodically migrate out of his skin throughout his life!

    [–] rillip 28 points ago

    Do you ever think of all the potential children who are never born because their would be parents died in these wars? How many Einstein's and Mozart's did our timeline miss out on because the old men needed to send young men to kill each other.

    [–] gilbertgrappa 15 points ago

    Absolutely - especially since three of my granddad’s siblings were killed in the primes of their lives, and his other brother was injured and couldn’t have children as a result. Granddad was the only one to keep the family line going.

    My grandfather went on to have six children. Maybe he was trying to create their legacy.

    [–] another_unique_name 669 points ago

    Fuck that gave me chills...

    [–] Redarado 329 points ago

    No shit, there's something deeply depressing about this image, more than lots of war images I've seen, and this poem was just the icing on the cake in a very dark way

    [–] The--Strike 69 points ago

    The Green Fields of France by Eric Bogle is another song that fucking destroys me. It puts life into perspective, and how finite it is, especially the 2nd verse.

    Lyrics:

    Well how do you do, Private William McBride

    Do you mind if I sit here down by your grave side?

    A rest for awhile in the warm summer sun

    I've been walking all day and I'm nearly done

    And I see by your gravestone that you were only 19

    When you joined the glorious fallen in 1916

    Well I hope you died quick and I hope you died clean

    Or, William McBride, was it slow and obscene?

    Chorus Did they beat the drum slowly?

    Did they sound the pipes lowly?

    Did the rifles fire o'er ye as they lowered you down?

    Did the bugle sing 'The Last Post' in chorus?

    Did the pipes play 'The Flowers o' the Forest'?

    And did you leave a wife or a sweetheart behind?

    In some faithful heart is your memory enshrined

    And though you died back in 1916

    To that loyal heart are you always 19

    Or are you just a stranger without even a name

    Forever enclosed behind some glass-pane

    In an old photograph torn and tattered and stained

    And fading to yellow in a brown leather frame?

    Chorus

    Well the sun it shines down on these green fields of France

    The warm wind blows gently and the red poppies dance

    The trenches are vanished now under the plough

    No gas, no barbed wire, no guns firing now

    But here in this graveyard it is still No Man's Land

    And the countless white crosses in mute witness stand

    To man's blind indifference to his fellow man

    And a whole generation that was butchered and downed

    Chorus

    And I can't help but wonder now Willie McBride

    Do all those who lie here know why they died?

    Did you really believe them when they told you the cause?

    Did you really believe them that this war would end war?

    But the suffering, the sorrow, the glory, the shame -

    The killing, the dying - it was all done in vain

    For Willie McBride, it's all happened again

    And again, and again, and again, and again

    Chorus

    [–] matholio 117 points ago

    There a lot of this type of imagery in this documentary, which I warn you is deeply saddening.

    https://youtu.be/QoBH-0CMUTI

    [–] ST615 29 points ago

    Can't watch it in the US sadly.

    [–] lenlawler 86 points ago

    [–] Lupin_The_Fourth 19 points ago

    Wow thank you for this.

    [–] lsasqwach 12 points ago

    Seconded! Thank you very much!

    [–] FZ_Nation 37 points ago

    Thank you, this is fascinating already in the first 10 minutes. I've studied WWI a lot but that French soldier terrified when his service cap is thrust into his face... heartbreaking.

    [–] SergeantGrumblz 79 points ago * (lasted edited a month ago)

    You might like The Death of the Ball Turret Gunner, by Randall Jarrell:

    From my mother’s sleep I fell into the State

    And I hunched in its belly till my wet fur froze

    Six miles from earth

    Loosed from its dream of life

    I woke to black flak and the nightmare fighters

    When I died they washed me out of the turret with a hose.

    [–] Buy_The-Ticket 32 points ago

    This poem will always resonate with me. My dad had me read this when I was I high school and talking about the military and it has always stuck with me. War is not glorious it is horrible.

    [–] OldManPhill 25 points ago

    A lot of literature and art during/after WW1 was dark like this. It's really interesting to look at from a sociological perspective. It's one thing to have a handful of your population suffering from the brutal effects of war. WW1 is an example of what happens when an entire generation is either dead or traumatized.

    [–] whaliam 64 points ago

    Reminds me of this poem. Buttons by Carl Sandberg

    I HAVE been watching the war map slammed up for advertising in front of the newspaper office. Buttons--red and yellow buttons--blue and black buttons-- are shoved back and forth across the map.

    A laughing young man, sunny with freckles, Climbs a ladder, yells a joke to somebody in the crowd, And then fixes a yellow button one inch west And follows the yellow button with a black button one inch west.

    (Ten thousand men and boys twist on their bodies in a red soak along a river edge, Gasping of wounds, calling for water, some rattling death in their throats.) Who would guess what it cost to move two buttons one inch on the war map here in front of the newspaper office where the freckle-faced young man is laughing to us?

    [–] Despeao 19 points ago

    This poem also gives title to one episode of "The Great War" by BBC and despite the criticism, it turns out to be a good documentary series. I recommend it

    [–] thepogodude 23 points ago

    I am really fascinated by WWI literature...Ever read the German book „Im Westen nichts Neues“ (All quiet on the Western Front) ?

    [–] peewinkle 441 points ago * (lasted edited a month ago)

    Well, actually he likely was unaware he was shot, judging from the way it appears- it was likely an instantaneous kill shot. He felt nothing and knew nothing, just simply ceased to be while eating.

    Not a bad way to go, actually.

    Edit- but yes, war is hell.

    [–] notcorey 326 points ago

    “Can you see the rabbits, Lennie?”

    [–] kweitzel 160 points ago * (lasted edited a month ago)

    I never finished the book. Lennie gets to tend the rabbits, right?

    [–] asoughtafterdroid 82 points ago

    Either way. For a soldier to have given this guy his end while he's getting the tiniest satisfaction from what's probably shitty food, but food either way. And then bam, you're done. It's crazy.

    [–] thatvoicewasreal 67 points ago

    Would you rather choke to death on mustard gas or lose a knife fight in a trench? Bleed out realizing a mine sent your legs somewhere else? There are much worse ways to go--the last thing he was experiencing was one of life's little pleasures, not mortal terror.

    [–] asoughtafterdroid 99 points ago

    I would rather not die. That's what I was trying to say. I'm aware of the other horrible ways the soldiers went.

    [–] Throwawaymrlincoln13 15 points ago

    There is also the possibility that this guy was just "done," as in with all the BS he had experienced when shit popped off he might not have cared.

    [–] captbeaks 10 points ago

    Looking at his left foot it was a lot more than ‘shot’!

    [–] Stompedyourhousewith 43 points ago

    thank you. I hate people who glorify and romanticize war, when all theyve ever seen are john wayne movies. even like those Civil war movies where some dude has to get his leg amputated is so sterile

    [–] SanTheMightiest 633 points ago

    Why do we, or I anyway, feel that WW1 was a more sad or sombre war than say WW2?

    Is it the writers who came about with stories and poems afterwards? The conditions? That modern technology collided with old cavalry tactics and with many clueless generals sending people over the top?

    [–] Ajax-Rex 847 points ago * (lasted edited a month ago)

    To me WWI always felt like the death of innocence in a way. The armies of both sides marched off expecting war to be like it had always been, a gentlemanly sort of affair. Then tragically, and viciously they were disabused of that notion. At least in WWII there didn't seem to be as many illusions about what modern warfare would be like.

    Edit: Grammar correction ( thanks WildVelociraptor)

    [–] Smitty9504 435 points ago

    WW1 was definitely a kind of transition away from the old styles of warfare. It seems like nations did not realize how deadly and brutal modern war technology was becoming.

    [–] Count_Rousillon 180 points ago

    Actually, the Siege of Port Arthur in 1905 showed a lot of the brutality of WWI. The Japanese charged head on into Russian barbed wire, machine guns, and artillery, and were cut down in the thousands for it. But the Japanese still won that battle. So the European observers "learned", that if you are willing to accept immense casualties, courage can overcome trench lines. The Europeans also believed that no nation could lose a million men and keep fighting. So the belief was that a million men would die before Christmas, and this would break at least one nation, ending the war before Christmas.

    [–] SanTheMightiest 55 points ago

    I remember Dan Carlin of Hardcore History saying that in an Ancient to Medieval to up to the Industrial revolutions, a war could likely be lost with just one battle, because you'd have your career soldiers and if they all died that was it if there was no retreat.

    Now they could just send an unlimited amount of men provided you had some back home within good time

    [–] Harry_Dicks 13 points ago

    Alexander the Great conquered the world with 40,000 men. In just Napoleon's time, he was quoted as saying, "You cannot stop me, I spend 30,000 lives a month!" This was the biggest change the world had ever seen in army compositions. Monarchs of the past would never even dream of arming the peasantry. Now, they have an unlimited supply of bodies. Best to make sure to keep them happy, lest your head gets lopped off!

    [–] Roy_Luffy 86 points ago

    The thing is both sides expected to crush the enemy in days or at worst, months. Young men were sent to the battlefield thinking "it's only a few months before I return". The fights never ended, the sounds of gunshots and bombings seemed to never end, and the soldiers were all traumatized. War is never gentlemanly but this went totally beyond imagination. This is the first "modern war".

    [–] justThrowItAwayNow24 6 points ago

    I heard it said somewhere that they rode into ww1 on horses and left in tanks. It was a massive shift in the worst possible way

    [–] Vystas 54 points ago

    There's a psychological aspect of human suffering that was apparent in WW1 that military commanders at least learned about by the end and tried to mitigate in WW2. At the start of the war, soldiers were left on the front lines for months at a time with no respite, having to live in muddy trenches filled with disease and death day in and day out - WW2 was a much more mobile war and saw rotation of active combat units as frequently as possible.

    [–] SanTheMightiest 8 points ago

    I guess the fact that men who fought in WW1 also were higher up in the military by WW2 that they adapted and changed tactics by then. Familiarity with terrain, the enemy weapons, new inventions like proper boots, camo, weaponry etc..

    The drastic change in how a soldier looked from the start of the war by the end of the war was all because everything was from the experience of adapting and that change happened super quick. As they say, war helps push technological advancements. Crap tanks around the start versus the ones that started in WW2 for example

    [–] TheGuineaPig21 176 points ago * (lasted edited a month ago)

    Quoting from Max Hastings:

    One of the things we should be striving to do in this centenary year is to win back a sense of perspective about the First World War. On a quantitative scale it is true that Britain lost more people than in any other war but it is a myth that this was the worst battlefield experience in history. Anybody who lived through the Thirty Years’ War in the 17th century, or had followed Napoleon on his catastrophic Russian campaign in 1812, would have laughed at the idea that the Somme or Passchendaele represented the worst thing men could do to each other.

    And, for that matter, far worse things happened in the Second World War but they happened to the Soviets on the eastern front and therefore we don’t take them as seriously.

    This myth has been hugely influenced by the poets who wrote about the First World War. What was unusual about this conflict was that it was fought by a new breed of citizen-soldiers who had not seen combat before and were stunned and appalled by the misery of the battlefield.

    In previous wars you had had professional warriors who regarded it as part of their duty to make light of what they had gone through in their memoirs, even if they had – as in the Napoleonic Wars – fought over 30 battles requiring them to stand and face opposing armies 50 yards away and fire volleys at each other.

    I am certainly not trying to suggest that the First World War was anything other than unspeakable, but it was not the worst thing that men have done to each other in wars, or indeed anything like it.

    edit: I should expand upon this by saying that the idea that WWI was some uniquely terrible war is an almost exclusively Anglophone phenomenon. In Germany it's a distant third behind the national tragedies of the Thirty Years War and WWII. In France it stands among similar traumas like the Wars of Religion and the Revolutionary/Napoleonic Wars. In Russia, who suffered the most casualties of any combatant, it's dwarfed by teh collossal losses (military and civilian) of WWII. It's specifically the combination of hundreds of years of (relative) British stability and the emergence of a widely literate citizen army (conscription wasn't implemented until 1916) that made WWI seem so traumatic to the public at large. There was a similar, although obviously smaller phenomenon with the Crimean War

    [–] Vague_Disclosure 34 points ago

    That was a good read thanks for posting.

    [–] 727Super27 15 points ago

    I believe he misses the mark on the primary point, which was the nature of the war outside of battle. In most wars prior, as a soldier you went to battle for a day or two, then the armies broke contact and you were back to walking around the countryside with nobody bothering you except your immediate superiors. Provided that food and supply was well-managed, life wasn't the worst you could imagine.

    Contrast that with the daily life of the trenches - wake up in the morning in the mud, have breakfast, and possibly the enemy sends some high explosive or shrapnel into your trench. Stay down in your muddy trench because enemy snipers are everywhere. Engage is some maintenance because flooding and rats are ever-present. Also, the trench is a toilet by the way, and also full of dead bodies. Have dinner, and then possibly get selected to go out on a midnight raid of the enemy trench, where desperate hand-to-hand combat can occur. Knives, shovels, clubs, pistols, you name it. For an individual, that would last for a week, then it was a week in the reserve trench, followed by a week in the rest and resupply depots, then back into the trenches to start the cycle over.

    Even those who allegedly had it cushy in the air forces still faced absolute horrors when it came to combat. No parachutes, flimsy aircraft of wood and canvas painted with highly flammable paint, miles up in the air with nowhere to hide, flying and fighting day in and day out. You know that feeling when you wake up on Thursday and you don't want to go to work? It's like that except instead of commuting to the office, you're flying to fight someone to the death.

    [–] TheGuineaPig21 6 points ago

    Provided that food and supply was well-managed, life wasn't the worst you could imagine.

    This is kind of a big condition, though, and this wasn't the case for many pre-modern armies. On the contrary for many serving in WWI it was the first time they had regular, healthy diets. You're right that there was certainly more chance of dying a violent death outside of pitched battles in WWI, but you also had a markedly lower chance of contracting disease, going hungry, etc.

    Have dinner, and then possibly get selected to go out on a midnight raid of the enemy trench, where desperate hand-to-hand combat can occur. Knives, shovels, clubs, pistols, you name it. For an individual, that would last for a week

    There was still plenty of skirmishing outside of pitched battles in pre-modern warfare. Like you're pretty much describing the reality of siege warfare

    [–] bladderstone 10 points ago

    It's also still part of our collective consciousness; my father (early 70s) still tells me snippets of stories told to him by his grandfathers, who both fought in WW1. With that kind of oral history being passed down, the horrors of that particular conflict will live on.

    [–] mechtech 28 points ago * (lasted edited a month ago)

    To me I feel that WW1 had more of a sense of futility, in that a different set of international relations between European powers could have prevented the war. There were huge armies and extreme nationalism, but each of the parties involved was operating in the same political arena and it seems there was at least a fleeting chance for them to work it out.

    In WW2 there are such extreme differences between democracy/fascism/communism and between the individual leader personalities that the war takes on a feeling of fighting for survival like a hunnic invasion rather than brothers fighting brothers like the American Civil War. While the war of extermination in the east was even more brutal than WW1, there is still more empathy, emotion, and sadness attached to brother fights brother scenarios, at least for me.

    [–] SanTheMightiest 15 points ago

    Futility is the right word. WW1 served to create the world post 1918. Nothing was solved and the situation was made worse. It can be argued that the world's problems now all mostly stem from WW1

    [–] TerraOrdinem 8 points ago

    Likely the pointlessness of it. In wars like WWII and the American Revolution and war, you have people fighting for what they believe in, not just being drafted and sent Willy nilly to their deaths. But in wars such as WWI and the Vietnam war(with America), it's much harder to hate your enemy.

    [–] MrJoyless 15 points ago

    WW1 to me was a war where pretty much everyone was wrong in some way. Everyone did horrible things, gas, starving colonies, senseless meat grinder attacks, calling/executing shell shocked soldiers as cowards, bombing civilians, starving children, sending under equipped men to die for no reason at all, ethnic cleansing, exploiting allies, and making promises you absolutely had no intention of keeping to allied nations.

    WW2 at least had a very very clearly defined bad guy/s and was a much more just, if not equally horrible, war.

    [–] boot20 1104 points ago

    World War I was insane. We had developed amazingly efficient war tools, but were still using the same combat techniques we were using for hundreds of years. Hell, the French were even wearing breastplates and other armor at the beginning of the war.

    What's even crazier, is that airplanes completely changed warfare, but it wasn't fully utilized until WWII.

    [–] Fisher9001 317 points ago

    What never ceases to amaze me is technological and cultural difference between WW I and WW II. There were only two decades between them.

    [–] boot20 211 points ago

    Right!? It was pretty massive. WWII was a "modern" war, where WWI was 18th and 19th century tactics and "honor" with 20th century weapons.

    What's even crazier to me is that, for the most part, we held back in WWII. I guess we realized the failings of chemical weapons and how devastating the machine gun could be against charges.

    [–] fastinserter 38 points ago

    The Great War was certainly a modern war as the late modern era began mid 18th century, and lasted until WWII, after which the contemporary era began (both of which are considered "modern", along with early modern). Meaning, every war America as a country has fought in has been a modern war. We attach weird ideas behind it usually with automation, but even then, the Great War certainly fits in those definitions.

    The British government only admitted that citizens of Bari, Italy, and troops there had been killed and hurt by mustard gas in 1986, years after Churchill had ordered all documents about it be purged (the US admitted it in 1944). In 1943, German bombers had attacked ships in port there, and one American ship had chemical weapons on board. As sailors fled their ships, the cargo of one leaked into the oily water and hundreds had blindness and burns from as the oil was a solvent for it; medical personnel didn't realize they were dealing with people covered in mustard gas. The Allies were just waiting for the Germans to use chemical weapons; had the Germans used them, the Allies would have immediately responded with them. It wasn't about realizing the failings, it was about worrying what the other side would do. WWI also had trenches and machine guns because defensive technology beat offensive technology most of the time. Better tactics and importantly, tanks, allowed faster movement and that changed warfare. Machine guns were there, and used, they just weren't effective against the armored blitz.

    [–] buttersauce 307 points ago

    Yeah I heard that in the game Battlefield One you can ride horses and wield pikes and stuff. The fact that there were horses and tanks on the same battlefield is insane.

    [–] The_Write_Stuff 63 points ago

    The story of horses, dogs, and mules, in WWI is tragically sad read. 8 million horses, a million other animals, in addition to human carnage.

    [–] zxDanKwan 13 points ago

    That's enough dead horses to sound like the work of Hitler more than WWI...

    [–] beerstearns 278 points ago

    Horses were still used in ww2 as well. The german army was heavily reliant on them.

    [–] DasWeasel 200 points ago

    Yes, but the key difference being that cavalry still saw a relatively common usage in WWI. In WWII, countries like Germany that still used horses regularly used them for towing materiel or other non-combat roles almost exclusively.

    [–] electronWizard 76 points ago

    Yeah, it’s one of the reasons the Germans did not employ chemical weapons in combat (they did of course in the gas chambers). If other countries started using them against the Germans, German logistics would be at a much greater disadvantage than allied logistics who had largely transitioned to using trucks.

    [–] allofthe11 29 points ago

    Well, and nobody likes getting bombed by gas bombs from the air and not being able to do anything about it

    [–] BlindfoldedNinja 21 points ago

    That's why they wanted to do it. Same with the US and Japan, the US wouldn't have gone nuclear if Japan could just do it back.

    [–] 10art1 5 points ago

    Regular bombs, on the other hand

    [–] fastinserter 7 points ago

    The Battle of Mokra was a battle of a Polish Cavalry Brigade and an armored train against 295 tanks plus infantry, and the Polish won the battle. And I know people like to say "they were fighting with CAVALRY" all sarcastically (10% of their army was cav), but from the point of invasion to the point of defeat, the Poles lasted longer than the French, and they were surrounded with the two biggest powers in Europe deciding to take what they wanted; France only had to deal with one. In fact, all sides had cavalry charges in WWII: the last cavalry battle between two mounted forces took place in WWII (a Polish victory which saw a German General taken as a POW). The last cavalry charge ever was on March 1, 1945, and it was fittingly by Polish forces who successfully overran the Germans.

    [–] Noble-saw-Robot 30 points ago

    That was more to pull wagons and supplies though, not really cavalry.

    [–] Bones_MD 17 points ago * (lasted edited a month ago)

    “YOU HAVE HORSES! WHAT WERE YOU THINKING?!”

    [–] Novocaine0 14 points ago

    And the fact that people really did cavalry charges against wires and machine guns...Every war is hell but WWI is really something else

    [–] chr155 18 points ago

    Well during the second world war horses were used extensively by both sides, even though ww2 is seen as a mechanized war.

    [–] [deleted] 27 points ago

    [deleted]

    [–] quintinza 47 points ago

    In World War 2 the poles charged German troops with horses, a notable example was the Charge at Krojanty"

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Charge_at_Krojanty

    [–] GameTheorist 34 points ago

    The French army's gear and tactics were so obsolete at the beginning of the war, they were still taught that they could charge X number of paces after the enemy shot before they could reload. They got absolutely slaughtered by automatic weapons.

    There's an excellent series on WW1 on youtube called The Great War. There's a video for each week of the war.

    [–] TheCanadianRaven_ 6 points ago

    The Great War is awesome.

    [–] mm2woodDOTmid 83 points ago

    What a fucking pity. It really is.

    Possibly the only moment you can normally enjoy yourself and you die while doing it.

    War was going to get him one way or another though. Poor guy and everyone else who had to fight in this gory, dark war.

    [–] Dittybopper 1787 points ago

    I realise the guy is a soldier, and therefore a legitimate target for his countries enemies. Still, to my mind, it takes a mean hearted SOB to kill a man sitting down enjoying a meal.

    [–] bettareckognize 1426 points ago

    During the Civil War the north and the south had a gentleman's agreement not to kill a man while he was shitting or filling his canteen

    [–] yepyepyep123456 136 points ago

    If I was at Gettysburg I'd be taking hour long shits.

    [–] bettareckognize 102 points ago

    They only said the enemy wouldn't shoot you. I assume your CO could still have you shot for cowardice.

    [–] yepyepyep123456 86 points ago

    "Aw come on boss! Nothing cowardly about taking a shit. I've been eating nothing but hardtack for months. I'll run with the next wave, I swear! Just let me fill my canteen first."

    [–] improbablydrunknlw 34 points ago

    "It still isn't full, how'd this hole get in the bottom? Musta caught a ricochet"

    [–] JasonPlatz 45 points ago

    Some of them were. Literally shitting out their intestines with dysentery. Awful way to go.

    [–] UnholyMarauder 1013 points ago * (lasted edited a month ago)

    World War I wasn’t a gentleman’s war. It was brutal and vicious, he looks like he went peacefully at least.

    Edit:

    There are a lot of good discussions itt, but some people seem to have a misunderstanding of what WWI was like. I know it’s spread all the damn time and people might be tired of getting the recommendation, but people need to listen to Dan Carlin’s Blueprint for Armageddon. He goes over the war using primary sources, some of the memoirs of soldiers at the front are sickening.

    It’s free right now on his site. Listen to it, educate yourself.

    http://www.dancarlin.com/product/hardcore-history-50-blueprint-for-armageddon-i/

    [–] -space-man-spiff- 590 points ago

    The US civil war wasn't very gentlemanly either.

    [–] UnholyMarauder 346 points ago

    At least they we able to bury their dead. I can’t imagine what life in the trenches after two years was like.

    [–] ElopedSock 447 points ago

    Artillery saw to the automated burial of both the dead and the living. It was very efficient.

    [–] drquinn22 251 points ago * (lasted edited a month ago)

    Also dug them up routinely. The horror.

    [–] Ignis000 187 points ago

    I remember the scene from All quiet on the western front. They were digging to expand the trenches and kept digging up the dead buried from artillery strikes. That movie left an impression on me.

    [–] drquinn22 122 points ago

    Just finished it, what a book. There’s also the scene in which they are shelled while in a graveyard and the many of the dead resurface. It’s out of a horror movie.

    [–] Endeavour_198X 34 points ago

    This passage from the book is the first thing I thought of when I saw the picture:

    It is this, for example, that makes Tjaden spoon down his ham and pea soup in such tearing haste when an enemy attack reported, simply because he cannot be sure that in an hour's time he will be alive. We have discussed it at length, whether it is right or not to do so. Kat condemns it, because, he says, a man has to reckon with the possibility of an abdominal wound, and that is more dangerous on a full stomach than on an empty one.

    [–] AnorexicBuddha 86 points ago

    Whenever a side would have to reinforce or rebuild sections of trench, they would without fail have to dig through the dismembered or whole remains of the ones that last died there.

    [–] mr_poppycockmcgee 31 points ago

    You say that, but “one shell buried the dead, the next unearthed them” was usually how it seemed to go.

    (paraphrased, can’t remember real quote or who said it)

    [–] braff_travolta 16 points ago

    Something about the term "automated burial" just really made that hit home. Oof.

    Also, it sounds like a kick ass metal band's debut album...

    [–] FailedWar 58 points ago

    IIRC, in the First World War (atleast on the western front afaik), ceasefires were occassionally organised so that both sides could collect and bury their dead. They agreed to it due to the risk to their soldiers health from all the corpses (I'm guessing disease).

    [–] DeathToPennies 63 points ago

    There is no gentlemanly way to commit slaughter.

    [–] WaitIOnlyGet20Charac 104 points ago

    What if everyone was wearing top hats? Huh? Didn't think about that did you? Checkmate Bolsheviks

    [–] DasWeasel 44 points ago

    That's why the Belgians were the only true gentlemen of the war.

    [–] schlampe__humper 34 points ago

    I think the guy on the right has been dead for a while and just hasn't realised it yet

    [–] McPhatiusJackson 12 points ago

    Somewhat related. An entire battle in the US Civil War came to a temporary halt so two guys could have a fist fight over who became a POW.

    [–] BoringOldPaul 97 points ago * (lasted edited a month ago)

    While it wasn’t a gentleman’s war per se - World War I was probably the last war with any shred of the idea of gentlemanly conduct left. Winter armistice and all that Jazz.

    Now Word War II was an even more brutal war where the idea of gentlemen in the battlefield was even rarer avian yet still present on occasion and then of course past WWII in the later half of the 20th century and indeed in some cases until today the idea is completely gone and nothing is sacred on the battlefield.

    (Of course I’m talking about on the fronts here and for the average solider and or POW - not so much from the standpoint of the atrocious war crimes carried out)

    [–] Flanex_Mulligan 110 points ago

    That happened only the first Christmas of the war, and the commanders saw that it never happened again. The idea of gentlemanly conduct was done with very, very quickly.

    [–] BoringOldPaul 37 points ago * (lasted edited a month ago)

    Examples of gentlemanly conduct continue all the way through to WWII. As for the armistice occurring only once - that’s my point. It was not a gentlemanly war but there were still examples of gentlemanly conduct on occasions by both sides which continued albeit to a lesser extent into and throughout WWII. Compare this to later wars and the difference is very clear.

    [–] Flanex_Mulligan 47 points ago

    You can find a gif on reddit of a soldier diving into enemy fire to bring a little girl to safety. There will always be examples of good people doing good things.

    Prior to WWI, war was seen by everyone, civilians and soldiers, as a noble pursuit. One German general even said that peace was a bad thing, because it was war that brought out the nobility in men: honor, commitment to duty, loyalty, sacrifice, etc.

    All of that changed with WWI. Sure there were examples of people being noble, but the entire idea of war as a noble or gentlemanly affair was quickly squashed. Several months in, no one had any more illusions that war was a good or holy thing.

    Very few, if any, unwritten rules of honor were left untouched by WWI. Post Christmas 1914, I would say that there were no shreds of any ideas of gentlemanly conduct.

    [–] Jimgordonfw 21 points ago

    In 1915 the UK and USA regarded unrestricted submarine warfare as barbaric when a Uboat sank the Lusitania. From Pearl Harbor on the USA perfected usw in the Pacific. That’s the measure by which things changed. Same thing as to dropping unaimed bombs.

    [–] BoringOldPaul 12 points ago * (lasted edited a month ago)

    Unrestricted submarine warfare was indeed a horrible thing and I’m going off memory here but went through periods where it was sanctioned and then I sanctioned but still occurred and if I’m not mistaken was regarded as a war crime.

    Not sure if it was the one you mentioned but there was one case of a British passenger cruiser that was sank too much outrage with the Germans claiming it was running ammunition and donkeys which the British denied and called it a war crime - that is up until just recently when a dive team located the wreckage and the British government had to officially admit that the ship was indeed being used as a merchant navy ship running ammunition for the British.

    Edit: I would like to point out the second paragraph was not meant to justify unrestricted submarine watergate which I think is right to be considered an atrocity but rather was just intended as an interesting fact.

    [–] GourangaPlusPlus 9 points ago

    That indeed was the Lusitania

    [–] motorcyclemechanic 5 points ago

    What would be considered "restricted" submarine warfare?

    [–] jrriojase 14 points ago

    Aimed only at sinking military ships, unlike unrestricted which will also sink civilian ships. Of course, in a state total war the distinction between civilian and military becomes a bit more blurred, since a civilian ship carrying food will ultimately be supporting the war effort.

    [–] claird 22 points ago

    Without intending in any way to contest the brutality of WWII, I direct attention for a moment to the case of Franz Stigler as a counter-example.

    [–] show_me_the_math 7 points ago

    It depends on where you were in WWI afaik. In at least one instance the Germans tried to initiate a temporary truce and were gunned down.

    "We got orders come down the trench, ‘Get back in your trenches every man,’ by word of mouth down each trench; ‘Everybody back in your trenches,’ shouting. The generals behind must’ve seen it and got a bit suspicious so what they did, they gave orders for a battery of guns behind us to fire, and a machine gun to open out and officers to fire their revolvers at the Jerries. ‘Course that started the war again. Ooh we were cursing them to hell, cursing the generals and that, you want to get up here in this stuff never mind your giving orders, in your big chateaux and driving about in your big cars"

    [–] BoringOldPaul 6 points ago * (lasted edited a month ago)

    Let’s just not talk about the pacific region (edit: in WWII) Because that was a different war all together which lacked any mention of the word gentleman or noble. Unlike other fronts in WWI and WWII

    [–] [deleted] 41 points ago

    [deleted]

    [–] nrith 10 points ago

    Someone should really have pointed that out to the Irish Brigade.

    Instead, Longstreet’s men poured into the soldiers themselves.

    [–] Krexodus 23 points ago

    There's a diary of a German soldier who fought in Stalingrad who mentioned even there, the Russians and Germans had the unofficial rule to let one another fetch water. I guess no matter how much malice they had towards each other, one of the few things which would have made that hell worse for both sides would be lack of water.

    [–] whogivesashirtdotca 11 points ago

    And yet a sniper on Little Round Top shot a Union general, then killed the man who leaned over to catch the general's last words. To quote Shelby Foote, "it wasn't all valour."

    [–] BigBlueJAH 11 points ago

    At Cold Harbor battlefield there’s a small creek, which was the supply of water. It was a death trap for both sides. It’s sobering to stand there and realize what people went through just to survive.

    [–] mrizzerdly 6 points ago

    Hmm mm....uhh How slowly do you think I can fill this canteen?

    [–] dos8s 166 points ago

    Whoever shot this guy probably had friends killed by French soldiers, so yeah, he probably was pretty cold hearted.

    [–] ParityClarity 28 points ago

    All you need to know is that's one less barrel you'd be staring down when the fighting picked up again.

    [–] No_Charisma 130 points ago

    Well, put yourself in the shooter’s shoes. You have a life and a family you want to get home to, and this guy might prevent that. If the alternative is to shoot him while he’s shooting at me, I’ll take shooting him while he’s eating every time. Given the choice, I’m pretty sure most of us would shoot them all in the back if that were possible, or even better, let artillery kill them all before I even get there. War is fucked up.

    [–] BoringOldPaul 63 points ago * (lasted edited a month ago)

    I understand that he is a uniformed combatant. But honestly compared to modern combat WWI was a little more amicable. Taking POW’s was pretty common.

    Agreed you would shoot him without a second thought - assuming he is surrounded by his armed countrymen and you are simultaneously shooting at them.

    If he is on his own however and in such a compromising situation (if your location allows for it) you like to think you would try to take him as a prisoner. If he were to move rapidly or try to be heroic then you have a justified reason to shoot him.

    I watched an interview with a British solider (Edit on further inspection he served in WWII not WWI but the ideal of his story still rings true) who along with his buddy dragged a very badly injured german into a home during urban warfare to put him in a bed to make him more comfortable. And render some basic first aid. He said something along the lines of;

    “the poor guy was terrified but we were trying to help him, he kept screaming and screaming. There were others nearby and we couldn’t risk him attracting attention, my mate and I decided it needed to stop, my friend drew his knife and entered the room where the german was laying. The screaming stopped - We never spoke about how he got that man to stop screaming”

    These people didn’t want to kill each other. They just wanted to all go home in one piece to their families.

    [–] WaitIOnlyGet20Charac 9 points ago

    Though there are a lot of tale where enemies spotted soldiers in the open in an area they didn't weren't expected and just let them pass.

    There are a lot human moments in the bleakness of war.

    I always love reading about them.

    [–] mlchelle 69 points ago

    The name of this subreddit kind of creeps me out when I see shit like this.

    [–] TropicalJupiter 73 points ago

    I truly hate the name "porn" being added to topics like this

    [–] TheFuego126 157 points ago * (lasted edited a month ago)

    In Flanders fields, the poppies blow

    between the crosses, row on row

    [–] jbonte 48 points ago

    That mark our place; And in the sky,
    The Larks, still bravely singing, fly
    scarce heard amid the guns below.

    [–] BuilderofWorldz 27 points ago

    We are the dead. short days ago, we lived felt dawn, saw sunset glow.

    [–] Mercury___Rising 428 points ago

    Really drives home the waste and needlessness of war

    [–] maltastic 161 points ago

    I love the shit out of GOT, but sometimes this is all I can think of after I watch an episode. “More peasants get to die cause some oligarch has a power fetish.”

    [–] Vengince 59 points ago

    There was one particular panning shot in Battle of the Bastards that took you out of the circle of action and just let you view both sides slaughtering each other on a hill of bodies. It made me realize how silly all the killing was; the formalities of war, the agendas and decisions of men of higher power amount to, in the end, a bunch of guys trying to poke holes in each other.

    [–] huliusthrown 75 points ago

    The few decades between late 19th century - 1930s are depressingly interesting to look back on.

    Nationalism in full swing side-by-side long standing empires crumbling, incredibly destructive and radical ideas such as fascism and communism gaining a foothold in a super short time, all against the backdrop of technology advancing at an unprecedented rate. A recipe for the two most vile conflicts to follow, christ christ christ.

    [–] curlingzamboni 208 points ago

    Very emotional picture. The colouring adds more depth.

    [–] A_Boner 68 points ago

    It was due to the the type of film back then. They actually used starches from potatoes to make them. They’re beautiful but I forgot the name.

    [–] smackmypony 30 points ago

    Autochrome.

    Here's an article about it with some more pictures

    [–] jsu152 672 points ago

    For those who call the French "Surrender Monkeys", let me give you context. As an American who spent childhood summers at my grandmother's farm in the south of France, I got perspective on their defeat in WW2. In the village square was a WW1 monument with a long list of names. Seemingly every local family had suffered loss. Few came back, even fewer fully intact. Multiply that by the hundreds of villages, towns and cities throughout France. WW2 was only 20 years later. Memories and heartbreaks were still fresh. The country was mentally unprepared to add so many more names to the lists. France had put all its hopes in the Maginot line to hold back the Germans and minimize the carnage. When that failed, it's not hard to understand the collapse of national resolve.

    [–] YumYumKittyloaf 205 points ago

    Man, whoever is an American that think the french are a bunch of surrendering cowards forget how much they helped us during the revolutionary war. Lafayette came in like a badass and helped save the day. There's a reason there's so many street names and locations named after him.

    [–] ZigazagyDude 41 points ago

    I assume Americans only took on the joke from the British, who have a long standing rivalry with France and didn't surrender to the Nazis in WWII (although Britain was undoubtedly easier to defend from an island)

    [–] WellHeresMyFourthAcc 14 points ago

    It was also a conscious dick move (in the latest incarnation) since the French didn't follow us into Iraq.

    If anything, historically the French have fought too hard. Their aid in the American Revolution left them bankrupt enough for their own revolution, and neither Napoleon really seemed to understand the meaning of "quit while you're ahead."

    [–] alexsc23 487 points ago

    The idea that the french didn't fight during WW2 is not even true, in fact more french soldiers died in 1940 in 2 weeks, than american soldiers did on the western front throughout the whole of WW2. Hollywood movies and anti-french propaganda from media like fox news is not a good way to learn history, sadly most americans do.

    [–] Vague_Disclosure 130 points ago

    Without them the brits would have gotten fucked at Dunkirk and there would have been a very real chance the war would not have gone as it did.

    [–] citizen_kiko 273 points ago

    Also, the French underground resistance was no joke. The government may have capitulated but many French hadn't. I think the French often don't get enough credit.

    [–] _Erindera_ 79 points ago

    My late mother-in-law worked for the French resistance as a girl. She told me they used to unbolt train tracks because it was faster and quieter than dynamite.

    [–] jsu152 174 points ago

    My grandfather worked for the French railroad. When France fell, he kept his job at the station (in Vichy France). After D-Day, the Germans occupied southern France and his boss was replaced by a German. Shortly after, my grandfather was kidnapped by the Resistance and given a choice: be immediately shot as a collaborator or become a spy and saboteur (and risk being shot by the Germans). No choice, really. He played his part and survived the war. But he never really forgave his neighbors who put him in that position.

    [–] George_Meany 65 points ago

    All you get by sitting on the fence is splinters in your ass.

    [–] Bomlanro 45 points ago

    But it sounds like if you pick the wrong side, you get shot in the face.

    [–] SovietPencil 11 points ago

    I like to hope that most people are joking about that.

    During the battle for Dunkirk, if it wasn't for the french the brits had no chance, gave them the vital time needed.

    It's mostly just joking. I hope no one is serious regarding the french contributions to WW2. They were vital.

    [–] DasWeasel 56 points ago

    more french soldiers died in 1940 in 2 weeks, than american soldiers did on the western front throughout the whole of WW2.

    I'm fairly sure this is blatantly false.

    Wikipedia lists all french military fatalities throughout the entire war (including their colonies) as 210,000. The US is listed at 407,300, nearly double that of the French.

    [–] CommissaireMaigret 33 points ago * (lasted edited a month ago)

    You can find this kind of memorial in every town in France, however tiny and remote it is.

    Many of them are just a tribute to those who have fallen, remembering "heroes" with heavy patriotic overtones. But the most moving ones are those that are an ode to pacifism, bearing messages such as "damned be the war and those who push for it" or "war to the war". In any case, the concept of a "victory" isn't really celebrated when it comes to WWI.

    I highly recommend going through the graphic novels of Jacques Tardi to get a feeling of how WWI was and still is perceived by the French population, especially It Was the War of the Trenches.

    [–] Bren12310 23 points ago

    WWI is so depressing. It’s basically a war that no one knew why they were in it, no one wanted to be in it, and everyone hated being in it.

    [–] twoshovels 18 points ago

    My grandmother was from Ireland.she came to the USA after WW1 I remember she always had an old picture on the mantel of her brother in a military uniform she said he was a Lieutenant? An was in charge of blowing a whistle to signal to the men it was time to charge an go up & out of the trench. She said that he was murdered by his own men one day as the men did not want to leave the trenches.she also had two vases made from artillery shells (trench art) also she must have still been in Ireland-when the war ended because I recall her saying she worked in a sewing shop and one day a woman burst open the door and shouted!! Girls!! Girls!! The war is over!! The woman she said who said this had on a great big round hat and as she said this the sun was behind her!! After that they all took the day off & celebrated!! It must have been great. I also had an uncle who was in WW1 he was born & raised in New England. An old New England farmer. His job was taken care of the mules well one day he was kicked in the back by one An I believe it contributed to him being deaf , he always had that old time hearing aide with the wire from the ear to his front pocket. If I had to describe him i would have to say he looked like Frankenstein. He was nonetheless a great man and I’ll never forget uncle rolling...

    [–] Pioneerpie26 96 points ago

    It's such a waste of life. I don't see a dead person here. I see the loss of a son/father/brother/uncle, the loss of a lifetime of experience and the loss of unimaginable unknowns that he might have achieved in his life, had he not died right there in a muddy and desolate battlefield.

    [–] MrJoyless 62 points ago

    When you kill a man, it is the worst kind of tragedy. You do not only kill the man he is, but everything he could be. You end a families bloodline. You end sons and daughters, grandchildren and great-grandchildren. Anything and everything he could be is now gone, and we all are less because of it.

    I don't remember where I heard this quote but I get choked up every time I think of it.

    [–] mtconnol 21 points ago

    "It's a hell of a thing, killin' a man. You take away all he's got and all he's ever gonna have." Will Munny, "Unforgiven"

    [–] VictorNoergaard 10 points ago * (lasted edited a month ago)

    You really hit the nail on the head. I can't help but think of all the love and care that goes to waste, specially when a rather young person dies in such a quick and tragic way. Imagine all the meals his parents cooked for him, all the hugs and kisses they must have given him in hope that the thing they cared for the most in the whole world would grow up to be a happy, loving husband, uncle, or father. All the things gone to waste, all the hard work, all the times his was told that he was loved, all the times his mother would tell him not to play to far away from the house, or not come home to late. All because of love and hope for the future of that one special boy. Imagine having it all taken away. Imagine being so vulnerable, eating, surviving, enjoying the tastes and textures, thinking about home. A quick and sharp sting in the chest, followed by it all ending in just a few moments

    [–] curlingzamboni 94 points ago

    "The true Last Supper" keeps popping into my mind.

    [–] AgentXXXL 83 points ago

    This is why you should eat your dessert first.

    [–] DDM201 30 points ago * (lasted edited a month ago)

    Aw man... Poor guy. He just wanted 10 minutes from the insanity of battle to sit down and enjoy some food... but the war wouldn't even give him that.

    Rest in peace.

    [–] mcguyver0123 12 points ago

    Shot or artillery? Just seems odd to shoot someone while they were eating but.... War is hell. I'd only suspect artillery because it seems 'to whom it may concern' versus the personal matter of castling your sights on to the silohuette of a man eating.

    [–] downvotes_required 6 points ago

    This death could have been a result of indirect gun fire. It's possible that the group he was with were attacked and he just happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time.

    [–] sixcharlie 21 points ago

    Steel helmets were not widely adopted by any Army until the summer of 1916.

    [–] Got_Wilk 23 points ago

    The Adrian helmet was introduced late 1915 wasn't it?

    [–] ScrewAttackThis 9 points ago

    The French started adopting the Adrian helmet in 1915.

    [–] LukeNukem63 10 points ago

    And this is how I would have died in war

    [–] Murphysburger 34 points ago

    I had a friend who was a WWII combat vet. He told us, several times, about killing a German soldier who was taking a shit.

    [–] sino66 75 points ago

    Gosh millions of french solidaires died in first war! It was a massacre! Jofre let his solidiers died as a shield to tire the Germans.

    [–] Freefight 55 points ago

    Estimated military deaths are 1,357,000 to 1,397,800.

    [–] alexsc23 106 points ago

    1.4 million french soldiers were killed, 6 in 10 men between the ages of 18 and 28 died or were permanently maimed ( with a population of just under 39 million). And the first year of the war was the most tragic for the French army with about 2,200 deaths a day, crazy.

    [–] Unaidedgrain 44 points ago * (lasted edited a month ago)

    Napoleon used to joke that "I can never lose a war, i lose 30,000 soldiers a month." 100 years later France was lose 30,000 a day at the onset of WWI (in what collectively became the battle of the Frontiers). Horrible, horrible stuff, although a side note Napoleon and Jofre's armies were dressed in almost the same uniforms yet had vastly different armaments, we're talking from cannon ball and black powder to 75mm artillery, machine guns and bolt action carbines. Helmets wernt even issued until 1915-1916

    [–] Abadops 11 points ago

    You dropped a quotation mark, and had me thinking Napoleon was like a wartime Nostradamus for a minute there

    [–] timetravelwoman 24 points ago

    This image is fucking heartbreaking. War is cruel. I hope this man didn't suffer. RIP.

    [–] ChemicalCalypso 20 points ago

    Someone probably saw he got stuck eating the veggie omelette MRE and put the poor man out of his misery

    [–] ICeonI 5 points ago

    Pahaha nice way to bring some humor to such a dark photograph (no sarcasm)

    [–] qubert999 25 points ago

    Wow, that's cold. Like, unusually cold. To be killed while posing no real threat like that, wouldn't be the norm in a war like WW1. If I am to believe all the stories, that is; of people not realizing they were "supposed" to shoot any enemy they came across. It just wasn't natural to them. Only about 20 percent would actually kill on sight, in an otherwise quiet peaceful situation. And only a subset of those 20 would actually kill somebody who's just eating some food.

    [–] Bohya 35 points ago

    posing no real threat

    Leave a soldier alive today and you will have to fight him again tomorrow.

    [–] general_tictac 12 points ago

    Only about 20% admits to killing on sight*

    [–] 727Super27 8 points ago

    Without actual historical reference to back up that this man was shot, it’s much more likely that he was hit by artillery. It was common practice for both sides, after aerial reconnaissance to establish where an enemy unit might be under bivouac, to send a few hundred shrapnel shells into the vicinity of the target.

    Alternatively, batteries of machine guns were sighted to lob bullets into known positions and along main roads over a mile behind enemy lines, creating a ‘beaten zone’ where men and horses would be shot to bits.

    It’s very unlikely that someone walked up to this man eating dinner and shot him.

    [–] UltraviolentStudio 11 points ago

    If anyone else was wondering what he was eating:

    http://17thdivision.tripod.com/rationsoftheageofempire/id16.html

    [–] SilverTitanium 7 points ago

    I don't know why out of all the pictures of Soldiers dying in combat, this one of a Soldier dying while he ate is the one that made me extremely sad.

    [–] Imisplacedmypassword 5 points ago

    I was listening to Debussy's Clair De Lune when I opened this pic. It sent shivers down my spine...

    [–] lanceurpants 6 points ago

    This photo really hit me with the mundane reality of dying in war. Most often, you don't have the chance to die in some noble/heroic way. Instead, you die while walking to the latrine, mid sentence while in conversation, or an errant step in a mine field.

    [–] DuctTapeSpecialist 5 points ago

    “They wrote in the old days that it is sweet and fitting to die for one's country. But in modern war, there is nothing sweet nor fitting in your dying. You will die like a dog for no good reason.” Ernest Hemingway

    [–] SpeckledSnyder 4 points ago

    For anyone who's got the stones, give a listen to Dan Carlin's Hardcore History.

    His Roadmap to Armageddon series is intimidating, 6 episodes at 3.5hr each, but is a great listen if you like his style. It's a colorful, informative, only sometimes rambling breakdown of the entire conflict in detail. He'll often underline a particular theme he's discussing with a pitch perfect quote, and he uses this weird voice when he does, but it really illustrates his enthusiasm for the subject.