This is the pictorial story of the triumph of the human spirit through conflict and the sacrifice made by the few for the benefit of many. In spite of the great turmoil and the strife through the period, starting with the Second Boer War with which the century opened and the World War with such a devastating loss of life that followed, never the less humanity triumphed.
These thought-provoking images demonstrate that even during the worst of times mankind can behave with compassion, and men, women and animals work together in harmony.
These pictures show those who played their part in this rich tapestry from the leaders of men and women, to the ordinary soldiers, sailors and airmen in the trenches, on the high seas and in the air, as well as those who were committed to their care and healing.
This book will provide biographies of many of those featured in the pictures and a general background of the scenes portrayed. It will follow the pictorial history of the war on land, at sea and in the air, as well as showing the roles played by women and the formation of the women's' service arms. The introduction of the new technologies of tank and aircraft, motorised vehicles and machine guns will also be covered.
These memorable images are gathered from the great UK photographic archives. Foremost among them is the Hulton, now part of Getty images, where in the past throughout the 1940s and 1950s Picture Post gathered from many earlier collections the picture stories of our history.
The Keystone library is another great resource at Getty which was added to the Hulton-Deutsch Collection in the early 1990s. Alamy is the next important source of images as it represents the rights of many other smaller historic collections and add another dimension to the pictorial history.
The Imperial War Museum, that great repository of our military history, is represented through the above two photo libraries, the National Library of Scotland is a source of many of the charming and personal images, many taken by ordinary soldiers rather than official war photographers.
The selection of pictures has been made to show many images that are little known; and it is hoped that people will realise the great treasures of our picture history hidden in these collections.