Battlefields Then and Now: Verdun, France

Verdun Battlefield Today


verdun-battlefield-3 (Images: F. Lamiot; Schreibkraft; Clicgauche; cc-sa-3.0)

Today, peace has returned to Verdun. Trees grow where once they were decimated and grass covers the gentle contours of shell craters. Historic fortifications, including Fort Vaux, stand nearby. Preserved in nearby woodland are the winding remains of the trench system, while the Verdun Memorial offers a poignant reminder to the 362,000 dead and many more casualties of both sides.



verdun-memorial-3 (Images: Gvdbor; Bel Adone; public domain; Wolfgang Staudt, cc-3.0)

Various monuments appear across the battlefield, some in memory of those who fought and died, others marking the spots where destroyed villages and buildings once stood. Nearby, the Douaumont Ossuary contains the bones of 130,000 unidentified soldiers killed at the Battle of Verdun. But perhaps the most poignant reminder of the bloodshed is the transformed topography of the landscape, and the fact that Verdun is now considered a symbol of Franco-German reconciliation dedicated to the ideals of peace and human rights.

Keep Reading – 10 Stories of Chivalry from the Battlefields of World War One



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