World War I: Past as Prologue

One of the deadliest conflicts in history, WWI also marked the genesis of significant progressive social change.

One of the deadliest conflicts in history, World War I also marked the genesis of significant progressive social change. Visit important historical sites in Belgium and France with renowned photographer and tour leader Mike Sheil and learn how Western society was transformed by this “war to end all war”.  And discover how instead the war and its aftermath set the stage for later conflicts throughout the 20th century and beyond.

See the itinerary for complete details. Questions? Contact us via the form at the bottom of this page or call us at 212-209-5401.


  • Located directly in the path of Germany’s march to France, spend time in Ypres exploring important battle sites. 
  • In Souilly learn about the Hello Girls. In 1918, the U.S. Army Signal Corps sent 223 women to Souilly – women who were masters of the latest technology: the telephone switchboard. Discover how America’s first women soldiers helped win WWI, earned the vote the same year they were discharged in 1920, and later how they fought to obtain veterans’ benefits after they were unexpectedly dismissed upon returning home.
  • Learn about the 370th Infantry Regiment, the heroic African American soldiers who, like the Harlem Hellfighters, fought under French command because of segregation in the U.S. military. These soldiers are also credited with bringing jazz to Paris.
  • In Reims, visit the Museum of the Great War. Built within a medieval castle, the museum provides visitors with not only a vision of what life was like for the soldiers at the front, but also that of the civilians.
  • See the Tunnels of Soissonnais, a series of underground caves where soldiers found both respite and an outlet for expression through sculpture. The cave walls are illuminated by the most extraordinary carvings and murals left by the frontline troops who sheltered there.
  • Attend a series of inspired talks with Mike Sheil and learn about the many progressive social changes that were ignited by World War One. Both at sites and through formal discussions, Mike will help travelers gain new insight into the Great War. 


See the itinerary for complete details. Questions? Contact us via the form at the bottom of this page or call us at 212-209-5401.


Tour Leader: Mike St. Maur Sheil spent his career working as a photo-journalist in over sixty countries around the world. In 2005 he began a collaboration with the late Prof. Richard Holmes, the renowned British military historian, documenting the battlefields of the First World War as they are today.

Since 2014 this work has been presented as a series of outdoor photographic exhibitions, entitled ‘Fields of Battle, Lands of Peace’, which have been viewed by an audience of over 10 million people in nine countries. In creating these exhibitions, Mike has visited battlefields and photographed places generally only mentioned in books and has thus acquired an extraordinary knowledge of the ‘battlescapes’ of the conflict.

He has led numerous tours to the battlefields of Ypres, the Somme, the Aisne and Marne and the Champagne regions of France. In 2016 he was commissioned by the US National WWI Museum and Memorial to create an especial ‘Doughboys 1917-1918’ exhibition describing the American experience of the conflict which has given him an especial insight into the US involvement in WWI and the battlefields of Meuse-Argonne, Belleau Wood and the Marne.

Mike is a Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society and a member of the British Commission for Military History.



100% of the proceeds from our travel programs support The Nation’s journalism.

The Nation purchases carbon offsets to cover the emissions generated by our travel program in order to help mitigate effects on the climate.


June 2021: Coming Soon!


From $5,950