- Rarely seen images showing the aftermath of First World War are to go on display at the Imperial War Museum
- The stunning collection of 130 photographs show Armistice Day celebrations and refugees returning home
- They are featuring alongside other documents and objects for the exhibition on life after the conflict
- Renewal: Life after the First World War in Photographs is a free exhibition at the museum in south London
Rarely seen photographs showing the aftermath of the First World War are going on display as part of an exhibition on the fallout of the conflict and the wave of hope that swept Europe.
The stunning collection of 130 images were taken in the months following the signing of the Armistice between Germany and the Allies on November 11 1918.
Four years of conflict had claimed around 17 million lives with 10million military personnel dying on the battlefield in some of the bloodiest battles the world had ever seen.
Soldiers' lives were never the same again. Many still suffered from shell shock or were disabled. It was difficult for them to forget about the horrors of the war.
Up to 10 million soldiers lost their lives during the First World War. Pictured here is the first released British prisoners that reached Tournai, a city in western Belgium, near the French border, on 14 November 1918
Four empires collapsed, the Ottoman, Austro-Hungarian, German, and Russian, many countries including Britain were left in financial ruin, and the Treaty of Versailles placed severe penalties on Germany, who were forced to accept the blame for starting the conflict, and had to pay 132 billion gold marks to repair the damage they had done.
It was the decisions made in the aftermath of the First World War that led to the rise of Adolf Hitler and the outbreak of World War Two some 20 years later.
The exhibition attempts to paint a picture of what life was like at the end of the war, showing Armistice Day celebrations in Birmingham, refugees returning to Amiens, France, and the treatments given to the many millions of injured servicemen that spent years fighting in the trenches.
The incredible images will feature alongside documents and other objects from the Imperial War Museum's archives for Renewal: Life after the First World War in Photographs.
Demobilised British men handing in their rifles before boarding the Rhine steamer at Cologne, which took them to Rotterdam, on their way home to England, on April 23, 1919
Also on display will be images of 32,000 destroyed German rifles, a shearing machine cutting sword blades in half and the German battleship SMS Bayern sinking at Scapa Flow in June 1919.
The exhibition at the Imperial War Museum in London charts the initial optimism after the end of the First World War. But it also reveals the extent of destruction and dislocation it left behind, and how the promise of rebuilding the world did not always deliver.
While the French city of Ypres which was devastated by the fighting was rebuilt along its medieval lines, in the UK social measures such as 'homes fit for heroes' ran out of money.
The exhibition also shows the ingenuity employed in helping servicemen injured in the conflict, through plastic surgery and prosthetic limbs.
And it highlights how companies such as aeroplane manufacturers switched tack to survive, in one case initially by bolting wicker chairs inside bombers to develop civil aviation as a peacetime alternative to warplanes.
Alan Wakefield, head of First World War and early 20th century conflict at IWM, said: 'Drawing primarily on IWM's rich and varied photography archive, this new exhibition presents images from both official and personal collections, giving insight into the innovation, opportunism and resourcefulness that shaped the rebuilding and regeneration of the post-war world.
'Both surprising and inspiring, the exhibition highlights the resilience and ingenuity of the human spirit in a time of unprecedented social and political change.'
Renewal: Life after the First World War in Photographs is a free exhibition at IWM London, as part of Making a New World, a season of exhibitions taking place across IWM London and IWM North until the end of March 2019 looking at how the First World War shaped today's society.