Digging In
Some 8.5 million French were mobilized to fight in World War I. Following the conflict, the wounded were mobilized to work. A 1918 Red Cross report put it bluntly: “Disabled men will have no difficulty in obtaining employment immediately after the war when there will be the greatest good-will…the difficulty will come…when the way in which the disabilities were acquired has been forgotten.” Amputees like this man fitted with a shovel belt were trained to compensate for their lost limbs. Noted the report, “Ingenuity quickly devises appliances for making easy operations which a mutilation has made difficult.”

—Margaret G. Zackowitz

Photo: American Red Cross/National Geographic