Out of some desire to become not just more knowledgeable but more emotionally attached to WW1 and military history, I paid a visit a few days ago to the Imperial War Museum in London on Lambeth Road. I spent around two hours working my way through the First World War Galleries which narrated both visually and in writing the story of WW1 (from its causes to its catastrophic end). Far too often are we dismissve of such a fundamental part of world history. Exhbitions like these can put an end to our dismissiveness and spark in us a necessary interest in what came before us.

Arriving at 12.00 after a scrumptious meal deal featuring a Twix, I entered the war museum and went straight to the free exhibition I was there to visit. The exhibition was long, vast and detailed. During my hours in the exhibition, I was going at about half the pace of everyone else, yet I still didn't get see a number of items. The exhibition was that extensive. Throughout the exhibition there were pieces of WW1 weaponry, propaganda, diaries, a tank, a mock trench, and much more. These items, accompanied by information boards, made it easy to follow the story of WW1.

I was reminded in particular of the international nature of the war. Too often, in Britain, we understandably look no further than British and German troops on the Western Front when it comes to our acknowledgement of WW1. But there is a reason why this is a 'World War'. It not only included British troops, but also French troops, Russian troops, Italian troops and so on. And then there were troops from the British Empire who fought (such as over 1 million Indians). There were battles in the Middle East, in Africa, and in Asia between colonies of different European powers. At Gallipoli, for example, there was a military campaign seeking to weaken the German-supporting Ottoman Empire. This is very much an international war, as you will notice if you ever have the opportunity to visit the WW1 War Graves in France and Belgium (as I did just over 2 years ago). This only intensifies the depressing nature of the war. It was a moment of global despair and hostility.

Learning about the diseased conditions of WW1, the seemingly unnecessary loss of life in battles such as the Battle of the Somme (which was one of history's deadliest battles, seeing the wounding or deaths of one million men), and the merciless weapons developed throughout the war, you become more aware of the extent to which men sacrificed their lives for their country's cause. Furthermore, it inspires great gratitude in me that, whatever groans or complaints I may have about the current state of affairs in Britain, I live in a very safe and comfortable nation.

I believe I actually visited the same exhibition with my school some years ago. I remember very little from that trip. Maybe that indicates my youthful ignorance of such a major event. But now, visiting the Imperial War Museum with a new, determined mindset (with the aim of deepening my knowledge of and attachment to WW1), I will never forget this fantastic exhibition.