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The Fading Battlefields of World War I

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April is the cruellest month, breeding

Lilacs out of the dead land, mixing

Memory and desire, stirring

Dull roots with spring rain. – T.S. Eliot, The Wasteland

Eerie yet beautiful photos, via The Atlantic.

This year will mark the passing of a full century since the end of World War I—a hundred years since the “War to End All Wars.” In that time, much of the battle-ravaged landscape along the Western Front has been reclaimed by nature or returned to farmland, and the scars of the war are disappearing. Some zones remain toxic a century later, and others are still littered with unexploded ordnance, closed off to the public. But across France and Belgium, significant battlefields and ruins were preserved as monuments, and farm fields that became battlegrounds ended up as vast cemeteries. In these places, the visible physical damage to the landscape remains as evidence of the phenomenal violence and destruction that took so many lives so long ago.

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