The First World War. What images spring to mind when you read those four words? Trenches? Mud? Young men, armed with bayonets, charging into machine gun fire? Poppies? These images of the horror of the Western Front have come to define what many of us think about this conflict. They tell a powerful and tragic story of death and waste across the heart of Europe.
But this is only one story, of a war that enveloped the whole world. What happened in countries and territories as far from Flanders’ fields as it is possible to go: from Ascension Island to Burma, Zanzibar to Newfoundland, Cyprus to Hong Kong? How did experiences and perceptions of the war differ in these far-flung corners of the world?
Here at The National Archives, we hold records on the First World War from across the globe. We wanted to represent the global nature of the conflict, and feature these records. Out of our discussions came the idea of a map, which would enable users to explore our records in a visually engaging and intuitive way, as part of our First World War centenary programme. Continue reading »