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Verdun Ossuary - 1964 Most Americans are barely aware of it, but one of the most terrible battles in history occurred near the northern French city of Verdun from February through November 1916. The Germans launched a massive attack on February 21 with both numerical superiority and the element of surprise. Verdun was supposed to be a quiet French sector on the Western Front and was held largely by lightly regarded territorial troops. The Germans hoped to bleed the French army to at least force an armistice on the Western Front. The embattled French considered the defense of Verdun to be symbolic of resistance. "They shall not pass!" became the rallying cry of the defenders. At some point during the battle virtually every able-bodied French soldier served at the Verdun front. The carnage was atrocious as positions sometimes changed hands several times each day. Eventually the German High Command called off the attack. In those nine months of ceaseless fighting casualties approached one million, with at least 500,000 killed. In 1964 Life magazine published a pictorial feature about what Verdun looked like 48 years after the battle. Perhaps the most shocking photo was the one shown here: An ossuary containing the bones of about 130,000 unknown soldiers from both sides. Interestingly, Life's photographer was Alfred Eisenstaedt--a German veteran of the war.
Tags: Verdun  battle  ossuary  First  World  War 
Added: 22nd July 2015
Views: 1369
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Posted By: Lava1964

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