Photo Gallery Images from the World War I Battlefields

Tuesday marks the 90th anniversary of the end of World War I. The war marked one of the bloodiest chapters in European history.
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Europe marked the 90th anniversary of the end of World War I on Tuesday with somber ceremonies at memorials and battlefields to commemorate the 20 million people killed in the conflict that shaped the 20th century. Here, a scene from Ypres, Belgium.

Foto: Corbis
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Political leaders from France, Britain, Germany and Australia are holding a ceremony near the fortress town of Verdun, where 300,000 French and German soldiers died in one of the bloodiest battles. Here, a scene from near Gheluvelt, Belgium.

Foto: Corbis
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They will stand amid the field of 15,000 crosses of Douaumont Cemetery, in front of an ossuary containing the bones of 130,000 unidentified soldiers. Here, a shot of thousands of dead Italian soldiers, victims of a gas and flame attack.

Foto: Getty Images
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In London, three of the four surviving British veterans of the war -- Henry Allingham, 112, Harry Patch, 110, and Bill Stone, 108, will take part in a wreath-laying ceremony at the Cenotaph in Whitehall. Here, wounded German soldiers at a field hospital.

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A two-minute silence was observed there and in other ceremonies across Britain at 11:00 a.m. to mark the moment -- at the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month -- when the Armistice signed by the Allies and Germany to end the four-year conflict took effect in 1918. Here, British soldiers help a wounded comrade.

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This year's anniversary is likely to be the last major anniversary to take place in the presence of survivors of the war. Here, British POWs search for valuables on the bodies of their dead comrades.

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In the countries that emerged victorious, there has been increasing interest in the conflict, especially in Britain and the Commonwealth countries that fought on its side. Here, British soldiers man a machine gun during the first battle of the Somme.

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Battlefield tourism to the main sites of the Western Front -- such as the small Belgian town of Ypres, the Somme region of northern France and Verdun -- has been booming. Here, French troops advance under fire.

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Ypres, the center of some of the most intense trench warfare, has seen visitor numbers triple since the mid-1990s, with about half the tourists coming from Britain but many also from Canada, New Zealand and Australia, which had thousands of troops in this sector. Here, German soldiers dressed the wounds of an injured British soldier.

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The majority of soldiers killed in World War I were never identified or found because they were blown apart by shellfire, sucked into the mud or buried under tons of falling earth. Here, a German officer ties up a Russian POW.

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The Internet has fuelled the interest by making it easier to locate the graves of relatives. The wealth of history books published towards the end of the 20th century may also have played a part. Here, British soldiers blinded by mustard gas.

Foto: Getty Images
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The men fought knee-deep in mud, infested with lice and surrounded by rats and the body parts of their comrades. They would march across open fields into machine gun and artillery fire, driven, at least initially, by the love of their country. Here, an indication of the war's brutality.

Foto: Corbis
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Many went on fighting not for "King and Country" but because they feared the firing squad and did not want to disgrace themselves in front of their comrades and their families. Here, a German victim.

Foto: Corbis
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In Germany, there is no such culture of remembrance because the war carries the stigma of defeat and is viewed as the precursor to the rise of Adolf Hitler, World War II and the Holocaust. Here, Allied soldiers make slow progress in a devastated no-man's-land.

Foto: Corbis
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The death this year of the last two surviving veterans to have fought for the German and Austrian Armies, and elicited no official response. The German government does not even keep records of surviving soldiers from either war. Here, representatives of the allies and the German government pose outside the railway car in which the armistice that ended the war was signed.

Foto: DPA