WWI: On The Front Lines Of History

The enormity of what was at stake from July 1914 to November 1918 is perfectly encapsulated in the historical epoch's name: World War I. For the first time, countries around the globe aligned themselves as allies or enemies to engage in some of the most brutal battles on the books. Militias went to great lengths to proclaim success. The French government constructed a fake replica of Paris in an effort to confuse German pilots, patients suffering from cataracts were used to detect ultraviolet flashing lights, and the U.S. Navy outfitted their ships with funky zig-zag designs to distract their opponents. One solider shot in the frontal lobe even carried on in battle (and lived for years to come) after his injury left him unable to fall asleep. No matter what side soldiers and citizens pledged allegiance to, life undoubtedly changed forever. Plastic surgery was invented to treat facial wounds inflicted in combat, women were allowed a spot in the workplace (those who worked with TNT were called "canaries" because their skin turned yellow), and blood banks were founded to help save soldiers' lives.

Yet despite the bloodbath, opposing sides surprisingly took pause and found common ground on a certain day: Christmas. Soldiers emerged from the trenches to exchange pleasantries, food, songs—even gifts—as part of a Christmas Truce in the weeks leading up to the holiday. However, the giving spirit was quickly forgotten and war raged on throughout Europe and Asia. One hundred years later, the implications of WWI continue to linger. Watch history unfold as this playlist takes you through the war from start to finish, honoring fallen heroes along the way.

Written by Curiosity Staff July 28, 2014

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