With a collection of over 6,500 photographs at the time of this writing, each and every one reviewed and added personally by myself, I noticed that each of these photos told a story. Below is a list of ten photos, among many more, that stood out to me. Photos that made me think.
End of Life as He Knew it: Not long before this photo, he was most likely loved and treasured by his parents.
Suddenly, bombs started to rain all around him, and when the flames died down, he was all alone. War with Japan would continue for another 8 years; did he make it through?
The Desert Fox: Erwin Rommel stared into the desert landscape, calculating his next moves against Allied forces in North Africa. One could not help but to wonder exactly what went on in his mind that made him such a feared opponent.
Brief Moment Before Death: This photograph had been used for Allied propaganda all over, but politics and the war aside, what was this Australian sergeant thinking as he sat helpless at the feet of his executioner?
Pride and Patriotism: Being an African-American and a woman in the United States in 1943, this "Rosie" had little social stature. Nevertheless, we see her patriotism and her pride in her work as she posed for this photograph in the Vultee factory.
Memorial For a Fallen Comrade: The Normandy beaches in France became the site of an epic battle in 1944, and with that, the site where thousands of people, German, American, British, and Canadian, lost their lives. In this photograph, an American soldier was buried by lost comrade in a makeshift grave, marked by his helmet sitting atop his weapon.
We Lost Everything Else, But We've Got What Really Matters: The Germans made the Allies fight for every inch of ground from Normandy all the way to Germany, and the French civilians were the true victims. Two French boys looked on as American troops moved through the remains of their hometown. They might have lost a lot, but they had what really mattered -- each other.
The Divine Wind: When the two Zero fighters began their dives at Bunker Hill, the attack was so sudden that some of the sailors were just getting up from their meals in the mess, wondering what was going on. 373 Americans were killed aboard the aircraft carrier as the result of that attack, and the ship was placed out of commission for the remainder of the war.
I am Become Death, the Destroyer of Worlds: With a bright flash, thousands of Nagasaki residents were literally vaporized, and the city was reduced to rubble. We still debate whether the death of tens of thousands of Japanese civilians was justified; were those lives worth less than the hundreds of thousands of lives that would be lost had there been an invasion on Japan?
Reunion of Old Friends: When MacArthur left the Philippine Islands in 1942, he had no choice but to leave behind his deputy and friend Wainwright to defend Bataan. They would be separated until the end of the war in 1945. The reunion was bitter sweet; MacArthur was all smiles as he met his old friend, but deep down, his heart wrenched as he saw the evidence of Wainwright's suffering as a prisoner of war.
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Last Major Update: May 2009
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Thomas Dodd, late 1945
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The World War II Database is founded and managed by
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