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The ruins of the cloth hall and cathedral in Ypres during WWI

A History of the First World War in 100 moments: A visit to the Front Line by the Prime Minister's wife

Continuing our centenary series, Margot Asquith, the wife of the Prime Minister, describes a haunting trip through the ruins of Ypres

Survivors from SMS ‘Gneisenau’ in the sea off the Falkland Islands, with HMS ‘Inflexible’ in the background, 8 December 1914

A History of the First World War in 100 moments: A forgotten naval victory in which even Nature played a part

It began with disaster at Coronel – but turned into Britain’s one true maritime triumph of the war. Robert Fisk on the  Royal Navy’s biggest day since Trafalgar

Up to 12 million letters a week were sent to the front line via the wooden sorting office hastily set up in Regent’s Park in 1914

A History of the First World War in 100 Moments: When the world’s biggest shed took over Regent’s Park

The Post Office’s Home Depot was crucial to the British war effort. Jamie Merrill explains how

Carl Hans Lody, who spied in Britain

A History of the First World War in 100 moments: The first execution at the Tower of London for 167 years

No.12 London, 6 November 1914: Carl Hans Lody was an inept agent. But he impressed his British captors with his dignified bearing as he faced a firing squad of Guardsmen, writes Cahal Milmo

German soldiers in Wirballen, a border town between the German Reich and Russia

A History of the First World War in 100 Moments: Massacre at Wirballen

No. 11, The Eastern Front, 8 October 1914: Karl Henry von Wiegand, Berlin correspondent of United Press International, reports on the Germans’ lethal use of machine guns near Wirballen in Russian Poland

A French firing squad escorts a deserter to his execution in November 1914

A History of the First World War in 100 Moments: The French general and the deserter

Even early in the war, desertion was punishable by death. Edward Spears, a British liaison officer, saw the macabre spectacle of an execution

French General Joseph Joffre (second right), Commander- in-Chief of the French Armies, and General Michel Joseph Maunoury (right) on the front during the First Battle of the Marne. Six hundred scarlet taxis were requisitioned, at a cost of Fr70,102, to ferry reservist troops to the Battle of the Marne in 1914

A History of the First World War in 100 moments: The legend of 'the taxis of the Marne'

No.9 Paris, 7 September 1914: In the early weeks of the conflict, getting troops to the right place quickly could be a matter of life or death. One particular episode has passed into French legend. John Lichfield continues our daily series marking the centenary of the First World War

Crowds gather outside a recruitment office

A History of the First World War in 100 Moments: The call of King and country sees a rush to enlist

Within weeks of war breaking out, it was clear that Britain needed many more fighting men. A series of recruitment initiatives produced an unprecedented surge of volunteers – and some enduring myths. Andy McSmith tries to unpick fact from fiction

Wounded and exhausted British and Belgian soldiers retreating after the Battle of Mons

A History of the First World War in 100 Moments: The defeat that turned into a rallying legend

The Battle of Mons was a shocking setback for the British Expeditionary Force. Yet somehow, like Dunkirk 26 years later, the defeat and subsequent retreat became a cherished symbol of heroism and hope. John Lichfield examines the making of a military myth

Captured soldiers of the Russian 2nd Army after their defeat at the Battle of Tannenberg

A History of the First World War in 100 Moments: Russia loses an army at the Battle of Tannenberg

For Russians, it was one of the great military disasters: an episode of epic incompetence that spawned at least one literary masterpiece. Richard Askwith reflects on the events in East Prussia in August 1914

Civilians near the Austrian lines in Serbia are strung up – probably as a reprisal for guerrilla resistance to the invaders

A History of the First World War in 100 Moments: Austro-Hungarian army executes civilians in Serbia

No.5 Serbia, September 1914: Any illusions about the romance of war rapidly evaporated when the  Austro-Hungarian army invaded Serbia. Overwhelming force was met with implacable resistance, spawning a vicious cycle of atrocities. Tony Paterson continues our series by focusing on a moment that stood for all too many more

German infantry advance through Belgium in August 1914

A History of the First World War in 100 Moments: The Germans advance into Brussels

No.4  Belgium, 21 August 1914: Our 100-day series marking the centenary of the First World War continues with a report by US journalist Richard Harding Davis on the German war machine’s unstoppable progress into neutral Belgium

The innocents: New recruits, with bicycles, training with the British Army in 1914

A History of the First World War in 100 Moments: The first British fatality

In the third part of a 100-day series marking the centenary of the outbreak of the Great War, John Lichfield tells the moving story of Private John Parr, the first of a million soldiers fighting for Britain to die in the first industrialised conflict

Crowds in central London cheer Britain’s declaration of war on Germany

A History of the First World War in 100 moments: The day the lights went out

No.2  London, 4 August 1914: Britain declares war on Germany - news that Britain was joining the conflict in Europe was greeted with a delight that would seem inexplicable once the fighting had started. Andy McSmith continues our 100-day series marking the centenary of the First World War

Supporting troops of the 1st Australian Division walking on a duckboard track near Hooge, in the Ypres Sector

A History of the First World War in 100 moments: Sarajevo, 28 June 1914 and the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand that started it all

How do you remember a war that destroyed four empires, killed 18 million people and left tens of millions of other lives irreparably broken? Today, as the world prepares to mark the centenary of a conflict that left no corner of the planet untouched, we begin a unique daily series that attempts to make sense of an incomprehensibly huge chapter in human history by distilling it to a mere 100 'moments': episodes, big or small, that in one way or another capture a sense of what it was like to be caught up in the catastrophe of the First World War. Boyd Tonkin introduces our first moment

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