MOSCOW, July 04 /ITAR-TASS/. A photo exhibition devoted to centenary anniversary of the start of World War I (1914-1918) that opened at the Moscow Multimedia Art Museum on July 3 will work until October 19.
The Russian Culture Ministry, the Russian Historical Society, the London-based Imperial Military Museum, the Vienna-based Museum of Military History, the Royal Museum of Army and of Military History, the International Committee of the Red Cross (Geneva-Moscow) provided the materials for the exhibition. They show WWI through the eyes of all participants in that unprecedented historical conflict. Visitors will also see wartime caricatures, posters and leaflets.
"This war which everybody expected to be very quick turned into a terrible tragedy for the whole world. Our task is to create an integral picture of events that took place on all the fronts and show the immense suffering that fell to the lot of soldiers and peaceful civilians,” Olga Sviblova, the Multimedia Art Museum’s director, said at the opening ceremony.
Russian State Duma Speaker Sergei Naryshkin said that the exhibition’s name “A War that Put the End to Peace” has a deep symbolical meaning. “The world ‘Mir’ (peace) has several semantic meanings in the Russian language: apart from meaning a state of living without a war, it also means humanity in general,” the Duma speaker stressed.
“In this sense, the exhibition has several deep, symbolic and urgent meanings,” Naryshkin went on to say.
“The exhibition convincingly reminds us of the horrors of any war, the more so if it’s a war of such a scale,” he added.
Black-and-white and colored photos and stock footages are forming the bulk of the exposition. Visitors can see scenes on the battlefields, soldiers sitting in trenches, cities lying in ruins, hospitals filled with wounded soldiers and POW camps. One photo shows soldiers placing bombs into operational readiness prior to a plane flight. A photo next to it depicts a plane torn to pieces with the pilot’s remains lying around on the ground. At the same time, cameras also caught some moments of truce - soldiers bathing horses, playing snowballs or waiting for letters from home.
Some photos were made by professional war correspondents; others were made by photo fans, including Sergei Vavilov, a famous physicist and the president of the USSR Academy of Sciences, as well as Italian Princess Anna Maria Borghese. Like many other women of her time, the princess started working for the Red Cross from the first days of war. She rescued the wounded and became one of the first women photographers working on the frontline.
The exposition has six screens which run newsreels illustrating the most vital events of each year of the war. Another seven video screens show video materials united by various themes such as “Marching soldiers from various countries,” “Trenches”, “The Attack” and “Death”. Besides, the exposition features Russian and French war journals; leaflets, caricatures as well as posters and lithography created by painters Kazimir Malevich and Aristarkh Lentulov and poet Vladimir Mayakovsky.
World War I broke out on July 28, 1914 and ended on November 11, 1918. It became the first global catastrophe that divided the history of mankind into “before” and “after”. WWI involved thirty-eight countries. The death toll exceeded 22 million people, of whom over 11 million were civilians. Chemical and biological weapons of mass destruction were first used on WWI fronts. World War I brought about the fall of four empires - the Austro-Hungarian, Ottoman, Russian and German.