World War II Photography


Figure 1.--Hitler remarked after ordering the invasion of the Soviet Union."When Barbarossa begins, the world will hold its breath .... He was right. The War was decided in the tiatanic struggle between the Deutsche Wehrmacht and the Soviet Red Army. Hitler predicted another quick victory. Here he was wrong. The German Panzers drove deep into the Soviet Union and encirled whole Soviet armies. The Soviet winter offensive before Moscow, however, reaked havoc with the invading Germans. The losses of men and material were such that the the Germans could no longer win the War. Here a Red Army rear echelon soldier inspects a destroyed German Mark IV Panzer.

No war was photographed more extensively than World War II. Photograpohy including by World War II had become common place. We have a detailed photographic record from thousands of official and press photographers. A few became well known because of their photographs. The offical and press record is, however, only one part of the photographic record. We also have the work of millions of individual soldiers and civilians who took photographs during the War era, both in the varius theaters and on the home front. There is a massive record of millions of images--both still and motion pictures in the archives of combatant countries and in the homes of people around the War. Most of the photographs were back and white, but color photograpjy had been developed. All sides of the War were photographed and virtually every aspect of the War. The only two topics not covered by the photographic record are 1) the NKVD and Red Army attrocities and 2) the Japanese treatment of internees. The NKVD had tight controls over photography and fewer Japanese and Soviet soldiers had cameras. The Germans in contrast seemed to be proud of what they were doing and many wanted to have a record of their historic 'accomplishments'. Many German soldiers compiled detailed photographic albums. We have drawn on this massive photographic record to compile our history of World War II. Here are some very valuable sites offering images of the War. Please let us know if you know of any valuable sites to add to this list.

In Focus

World War II is the story of the 20th Century. The war officially lasted from 1939 until 1945, but the causes of the conflict and its horrible aftermath echoed for decades in both directions. While feats of bravery and technological breakthroughs still inspire awe today, the majority of the war was dominated by unimaginable misery and destruction. In the late 1930s, the global population stood at approximately 2 billion. In less than a decade, the war between the nations of the Axis Powers and the Allies resulted in some 80 million deaths -- killing off about 4 percent of the whole world. This series of entries was published weekly on TheAtlantic.com from June 19 through October 30, 2011, running every Sunday morning for 20 weeks. In this collection of 900 photos spread over 20 essays, I tried to explore the events of the war, the lives of the people fighting at the front and working back home, and the effects of the trauma on everyday activity. These images still give us glimpses into the experiences of our parents, grandparents and great grandparents, moments that shaped the world as it is today.

Military History of the 20th Century

The name of this site is militaryhistoryofthe20thcentury.com and we will be posting military stories and photos mostly of WWII but will cover anything military from 1901 to 2001. I decided to start this website because of a life long interest in military history. This is a Canadian site but we will be posting about many countries' military history during war and peacetime. There is a Contact Us page with an email address where you can ask about any thing you read or see on this site and if we have more details we will send them to you if you provide us with an email address. We have received thousands of photographs from fans of my ex blog many of which are from Russian sources. There are hundreds of photos of German army troops, tanks and aircraft that have ended up in Russian hands after WWII and they have been sent to me for publishing on line on an English language website. Many of these photos have never appeared on any website in any language before now. You can download as many photos as you want but if you repost them we ask you to please mention the name of this site as the source of the photos. A direct link back would be nice.

Spiegel OnLine Internatiinal

Der Spiegel is an important German news magazine. It has an enormous collection of imges, including images from World War II. They are from German sources about the war in Europe.

United States National Archives

The Second World War was documented on a huge scale by thousands of photographers and artists who created millions of pictures. American military photographers representing all of the armed services covered the battlefronts around the world. Every activity of the war was depicted--training, combat, support services, and much more. On the home front, the many federal war agencies produced and collected pictures, posters, and cartoons on such subjects as war production, rationing, and civilian relocation. The pictures described in this list are from the holdings of the Still Picture Branch (NNSP) of the National Archives and Records Administration. Most are from the records of the Army Signal Corps in Record Group (RG) 111, the Department of the Navy in RG 80, the Coast Guard in RG 26, the Marine Corps in RG 127, and the Office of War Information in RG 208. Others were selected from the records of 12 additional agencies. Pictures are listed by subject and campaign. Original captions are in quotation marks. Photographers, artists, locations, and dates, when known, are also included. This information is followed by identification numbers in italics.

World War II Archives

This is a large collection of photographs about World War II, with dicriptive contents.

World War II in Color

Welcome to a great collection of World War II photographs on the Internet. Experience World War II like you never seen it before by viewing some of the most dramatic photos taken during the war. Contribute to history by posting your comments on each photo. Videos are coming soon.








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Created: 9:18 PM 4/25/2012
Last updated: 9:18 PM 4/25/2012