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Latest update : 2014-08-03

The Depths of Hell: 1914-1918

100 years ago, on August 3rd, 1914, Germany declared war on France. Europe was thrown into chaos, and the world plunged into total war. Machine guns, tanks, toxic gas, planes, artillery: new and increasingly deadly weapons appeared. It was the birth of "modern warfare". From the battles of the Marne to Verdun, our reporters review the Great War, the first major conflict of the twentieth century, which involved over 70 million soldiers, including 60 million from Europe.

International commemorations have begun to honour all those who fought and died in World War One. The so-called 'War to End All Wars' ended up setting the stage for World War Two. It also launched the US as a world super power and fuelled the Russian revolution.

The first global conflict of the twentieth century began almost by accident. A war that was sparked by an assassin's bullet on the streets of Sarajevo.

France 24 looks back at the main moments of World War One along the Western Front, examining the major battles of Verdun and the Somme but also looking at the innovations the war incited.

The Great War was also the first industrial war. It was the first time soldiers were faced with artillery fire and machine guns. It saw the first use of poison gas (at Ypres in 1915) and the arrival of tanks on the battlefields, in 1916. It prompted the world's first ever skin graft as doctors tried to treat injuries that were worse than anyone could have imagined from anything that came before. From the trenches to the munition factories, France 24 takes you on an historic trip of the Western Front.

By Alexandra RENARD , Eve IRVINE

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