Click here for the full size infographic The lamps are going out all over Europe, we shall not see them lit again in our lifetime,” said British minister Sir Edward Grey, on the eve of Britain declaring war on Germany. Many expected the Great War to be brief. “The boys will be home by Christmas” was a popular motto when hostilities commenced. The war was to last over four years: 70 million combatants enlisted, over 20 million were killed or wounded and several empires erased from the map. An 18-year-old German by the name of Erich Maria Remarque was conscripted. In his novel “All Quiet on the Western Front” he described the desolation and horror of the battlefield. “I know nothing of life but despair, death, fear, and fatuous superficiality cast over an abyss of sorrow. I see how peoples are set against one another, and in silence, unknowingly, foolishly, obediently, innocently slay one another. I see that the keenest brains of the world invent weapons and words to make it yet more refined and enduring." 1914 marked the end of an era characterised by colonial greed, ambition and disputes between the great powers… Click here to access our interactive report on the Chinese Labour Corps.