The Great War Seen from the Air - Stichelbaut, Birger; Chielens, Piet - Yale University Press

Art and Architecture

Distributed for Mercatorfonds, in cooperation with the In Flanders Fields Museum, Ypres; the Imperial War Museum, London; and The Royal Museum of the Armed Forces and of Military History, Brussels 

The Great War Seen from the Air

In Flanders Fields, 19141918

  • Birger Stichelbaut and Piet Chielens
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Aerial photography was a relatively new technology at the onset of World War I and was embraced as an indispensable tool of wartime intelligence by all nations involved in the conflict.  As a result, thousands of photographs taken from the air over the battlefields of the Great War have survived in archives throughout Europe, Australia, and the United States. These pictures present the war from a unique perspective, clearly showing the developing trench system, artillery batteries, bunkers, railway lines, airfields, medical evacuation routes, and more. They reveal the expanding war in Flanders Fields as the hostilities spread, kilometer by kilometer, devastating the environment and resulting in the complete destruction of the landscape at the front.


This illuminating volume, the results of a collaboration between the In Flanders Fields Museum, Ypres, the Imperial War Museum, London, and the Royal Army Museum, Brussels, features hundreds of photographic case studies, illustrating in unprecedented detail the physical extent of World War I and the shocking environmental damage it left in its wake. Supplementing aerial images with maps, documents, and photos taken from the ground, this one-of-a-kind visual record stands as an important contribution to World War I history, revealing the wartime landscape of Flanders Fields as rarely seen before.

Birger Stichelbaut is a postdoctoral researcher based in the department of archaeology, Ghent University, Belgium. Piet Chielens is coordinator of the In Flanders Fields Museum in Ypres.