World War I was a total war, affecting not just battlefields and soldiers but also civilians, cities, and the countryside. Many parts of Europe, particularly along the Western Front, were destroyed.
By the end of the war, an estimated 8.5 million people died from wounds or disease. This is a far greater number than any previous war. As the war progressed, it grew increasingly mechanized and impersonal, with cannons and poison gas killing huge numbers of people without any face-to-face combat. This trend in warfare continues to the present day, as militaries today guide missiles and drop bombs from behind computer screens.