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The day that killed optimism

A century after the Battle of the Somme a new collection of images shows the First World War as we have never seen it before

By Geoff Dyer   July 2016

The First World War: "The 'glory' that is celebrated lies not in the magnitude of victory but in the scale of loss" ©City Archive Bruges

The morning of 1st July, 1916, the opening of the Battle of the Somme, “marked the end of an age of optimism in British life that has never been restored,” as historian John Keegan puts it. But the four years…

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