We’ve all seen numerous images from World War II that make our hearts jump or sink. As the most well-documented war at the time, the range of emotions captured by photographers during WWII is truly astounding. The contrast between victory and loss is apparent in the thousands of images that tell the story of WWII. They speak to us from across decades and express what our parents and grandparents lived through. Here we have gathered together ten of the most iconic and historic photographs from WWII.
D-day Baby Carriage
The Normandy landings on D-day (June 6, 1944) were a huge cause for hope for most of the world. In France street celebrations were documented by an American pathologist, Major Sylvester F. Crynes MC, in this amazing color photograph showing the allied flags strung like bunting on this baby’s stroller. What a symbol of unity!
The Battle of Tarawa
The rescue of their fellow soldiers by guiding an inflatable raft to shore is an extremely moving scene. The Battle of Tarawa in November of 1943 resulted in over 6,000 deaths (between the American and Japanese losses). Most of us can only imagine what a wounded solder in the water might have been feeling at that moment.
German Troops at the the Arc de Triomphe
A clear sign that the Germans have taken control: lines of Nazi soldiers at the Arc de Triomphe. It must have seemed like the world was ending and that France would surely cease to exist. This photo from June 1940 is what Parisians in the street would have seen as their city was rendered nearly unrecognizable.
Parisian Man Mourning
A Parisian man weeps as the Germans take control of the city in 1940. This photo speaks volumes about the impending sense of doom they felt. Invasion was the fear of all Allied nations.
Any soldier stationed in the South Pacific would have needed to be on top of their anti-malaria medications. Soldiers were reminded in no uncertain terms what consequences lay ahead for those who did not. This sign was posted at the 363rd Station Hospital in Papua New Guinea.