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In his two-volume book series, “In the Centennial Footsteps of the Great War,” photographer and author Attila Szalay-Berzeviczy not only recreates famous battle scenes but revisits former battlefields and key war-related sites around the globe.

His photography collection creates an immersive experience of World War I, taking the reader on a poignant and informative journey from the wildernesses of the Western Front to the deserts of Saudi Arabia. Szalay-Berzeviczy’s images succeed in capturing the essence of both the triumphant and tragic milestones of this sweeping conflict, which he believes deserves greater attention.

“The world we are living in was created by the First World War,” he told MHQ. “It was important for me to remind people of its importance by using a totally new approach. I wanted to bring a new visual effect to history lovers.”

MHQ highly recommends Szalay-Berzeviczy’s book series and is pleased to share a selection of these outstanding images which bear witness to how the scourge of the Great War touched all corners of the earth. 

Original trenches northeast of Reims, restored by volunteers, form the historic frontline of La Main de Massiges in France where the Germans and French fought. “This is probably the best-quality World War I trench system that has been preserved. It’s a very exciting place to visit.” (Attila Szalay-Berzeviczy)
The ruins of a portion of a train and the Hejaz Railway lie in the desert near Hadiyah, between Medina and Mdain Salih, in Saudi Arabia. “These are huge inaccessible deserts,” noted Szalay-Berzeviczy. “You can still find the ruins of the Hejaz Railway that were the casualties of the Arab Revolt and Lawrence of Arabia.” (Attila Szalay-Berzeviczy)
Riders of the Equestrian Department of the Hungarian military’s Honvéd Zrínyi Sports Association reenact the Hungarian hussars’ decisive role in the 1914 Battle of Krasnik on location in present-day Poland. “This is one of my favorites,” Szalay-Berzeviczy said of the image. “The red-trousered hussars are the pride of Hungary.” (Attila Szalay-Berzeviczy)
The ruins of a church formerly on no-man’s-land stand “totally out in nature in splendid isolation,” near Smarhon, Belarus, according to Szalay-Berzeviczy. The area was a hotspot for heavy fighting on the Eastern Front from 1915-18. (Attila Szalay-Berzeviczy)
The Tolmin bridge crosses the Isonzo River in Slovenia in a formerly fiercely contested region of the Italian front. “This was a scene of major bloodbaths,” said Szalay-Berzeviczy, noting that 12 battles were fought in the area. (Attila Szalay-Berzeviczy)
Reenactors wearing Cossack attire that would have been seen during battles against the Ottomans in the Caucasus pose for Szalay-Berzeviczy’s lens during 2017 centennial commemorations near Minsk, Belarus, marking the anniversary of the Russian Kerensky offensive in 1917. (Attila Szalay-Berzeviczy)
At the Stelvio Pass in Italy, bordering Switzerland, Austro-Hungarian and Italian troops battled and also succumbed to mountain perils. “It’s a really scary drive up there. You have the abyss on your left side and rocks on your right.” (Attila Szalay-Berzeviczy)
A small local fishing boat lies on the beach at Anzac Cove in Gallipoli, Turkey, at the site where Australian and New Zealand troops famously landed on April 25, 1915. The famous rock formation known to the troops as “the sphinx” is visible on the right. (Attila Szalay-Berzeviczy)
A 149mm Italian artillery gun sits on Cresta Croce in the Adamello-Presanella Alps. “They pulled it up there with horses with tremendous effort onto a glacier, but the glacier melted, leaving a huge abyss behind the cannon so nobody can ever take it down again,” said Szalay-Berzeviczy, who camped on the ridges. “You can only get up to see the cannon if you are a trained mountaineer.” (Attila Szalay-Berzeviczy)
Local reenactors dressed in German uniforms relax at Gizycko, Poland amid a reconstruction of the First Battle of the Masurian Lakes in 1914. Pyrotechnics and cavalry charges feature at yearly battle reenactments at the nearby Boyen Fortress. (Attila Szalay-Berzeviczy)
Fort Verena in northern Italy was armed with four 149mm guns, but was hit by a powerful Austro-Hungarian 305mm Skoda mortar that killed most artillerymen inside in June 1915. (Attila Szalay-Berzeviczy)
The St. Julien Canadian Memorial, also known as the Brooding Soldier, stands in Langemarck, Belgium, honoring Canadians who faced the war’s first poison gas attacks. “There was a storm. I waited for this special situation where two clouds were somehow creating a ring around the head of the statue. It gives you the feeling that there is a gas cloud.” (Attila Szalay-Berzeviczy)

this article first appeared in military history quarterly

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