The best photos of World War II

The largest invasion in human history begins. 4 million men supported by 600,000 vehicles and 750,000 horses attacked 3,000 kilometer-long front line. Photo: German soldiers crossing the USSR border (June 22, 1941):

german soldiers crossing ussr border

"Blitzkrieg" was going well. German soldiers were having fun. Photo: a German soldier posing on a Stalin's head:

soldier posing stalins head

Famous Russian photo “Death of a Soldier”:

death soldier

Desperate times required desperate measures. The Russians trained dogs to run under the German tanks in suicide attacks. Photo: dogs, wrapped in explosives, are walking into the battle (Moscow, 1941):

dogs wrapped explosives

Fresh, well-equipped troops pushed the Germans back by 100-200 km. This was the first major defeat suffered by the German army in WW2, and the bloodiest battle to date: 1 million soldiers lost their lives in the Battle of Moscow. Photo: German soldiers surrendering (Moscow, January 1942):

german soldiers surrendering

Einsatzgruppen – SS troops tasked with the implementation of Hitler’s occupation policies. SS started by exterminating the Jews. A famous photo made by an SS officer in the town of Vinnytsa, Ukraine: “The Last Jew of Vinnytsia” (August 25, 1942):

einsatzgruppen jew vinnytsia

Partisans became a pain in the Germans' back. In August of 1943, to disrupt German supplies for the Battle of Kursk, 100,000 partisans made a coordinated attack on the German railroads, known as a “Rails War”. Photo: partisans dismantling German railways during the operation “Rails War” (August 1943):

partisans dismantling german railways

The operation was effective: partisans blew up 230,000 rails and 1,000 trains, reducing German supply capacity by 40%. Photo: a German train derailed by the partisans (August, 1943):

german train derailed partisans

One of the most famous WW2 photos: “Combat”. A young Russian officer rallying soldiers for a counter-attack. A few seconds after the photo was taken he was killed (July 12, 1942):

combat - the best photos of world war ii

One of the most iconic photos of Stalingrad – “Barmaley Fountain”. The sculpture of the kids dancing around a crocodile is a scene from a Russian fairy tale. “Barmaley Fountain” became a symbol of Stalingrad and was featured in many movies, such as “Enemy at the Gates”:

barmaley fountain

On June 22, 1944, exactly on the third anniversary of German invasion in Russia, the Soviet Army lunched operation “Bagration” to support the Allied landing in Normandy, which started on June 6. “Bagration” became the largest Allied operation of World War II, almost twice as large as the Normandy invasion. It was also the worst German defeat in World War II – its entire Army Group “Center” was annihilated, opening the road to Berlin. Photo: a squadron of “Katusha”s firing rockets at the German positions during operation “Bagration”.

squadron katushas firing rockets german positions

“Katusha” was a unique weapon that could in 25 seconds release 325 rockets carrying in total 1.6 tons of explosives, and annihilate everything within a 200-by-400 meter area. It was one of the WW2 weapons the Germans feared most. Photo: German military convoy after a Katusha strike (Belarus, July 1944):

german military convoy after katusha strike

Over 300,000 German prisoners were taken in the operation. The Allies did not believe the numbers, and Stalin ordered the captive Germans to be marched through Moscow. Photo: German soldiers captured during operation "Bagration" walking in Moscow. The Russian crowd is watching in total silence. September, 1944:

german soldiers captured during operation bagration

The battle of Berlin was fierce. Most of the city was turned into rubble, and started to look like Stalingrad:

battle berlin

The Russian force was overwhelming, and Berlin finally fell. This is probably The most famous WW2 photo in Russia: Victory Banner is raised on Reichstag, May 2, 1945:

victory banner

On June 24, 1945 Moscow held a Victory parade. Photo: German flags and banners being thrown to the Kremlin wall:

german flags banners being thrown

The marines raising the US flag on Iwo Jima, one of the most iconic ones ever.

flag iwo jima

The crew of the Enola Gay along with Col.Paul Tibbets, just before their flight to Hiroshima.

crew enola gay

The bombing of Hiroshima, captured at ground level, just around 7 KM from the city.

bombing hiroshima

Captured German officers after the Liberation of Paris.

captured german officers

Russian soldiers attacking in Stalingrad.

russian soldiers attacking stalingrad

Soviet troops during the Battle of Kursk, the largest tank battle ever in history.

battle kursk

The Invasion of Normandy : On June 6, 1944, Allied forces attack Normandy in France, with full force. This acts as a major nail in the coffin of the German rule. This picture is iconic as its displays the ferocity of the war that followed while also signalling a definite end of the war shortly.

normandy beachhead

These women are no more. They belonged to the 1077th anti-aircraft regiment of the russian red army. They were stationed in Stalingrad. They are renowned for their fight unto death as they held the German 16th Panzer division completely on their own. They destroyed 83 tanks , 15 infantry vehicles, killed 3 batalions of the army , and shot down 14 aircrafts.

anti aircraft regiment

This photo was serendipitously discovered in Berlin archives just months ago, and is a great piece of the "100 years from WWI" puzzle. On it we can see german officers presenting their gift to Hitler for his birthday. It's a memorial plate to Gavrilo Princip, boy that killed archduke Franz Ferdinand in Sarajevo and gave excuse to Austrio-Hungarian empire to declare war on Serbia and thus start WWI.

german officers presents their gift hitler

Photo of the D-Day landing, a moment in time that no sane person would wish to witness.

day landing

This 2,000-pound bomb falls toward Japanese shore installations in Manila Harbor.

pound bomb falls toward japanese shore installations manila harbor

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  • Slash
  • December 30, 2013, 2:19 pm
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  • 3

    Night Pattern Anti-Aircraft fire...Okinawa...27 April 1945
    anticraft fire

    • Slash
    • January 8, 2014, 12:22 pm
    - Linas January 8, 2014, 1:11 pm
  • 3

    Two severely burned soldiers from the Royal Armoured Command share a smoke, 1944.
    two severely burned soldiers

    • Ensx
    • January 9, 2014, 10:21 am
  • 1


    • coops93
    • December 30, 2013, 7:05 pm
  • 1

    #6 is heavy...

  • 1

    These are breathtaking photos

    • peace
    • December 30, 2013, 9:00 pm
  • 1

    If that was happening to me poop, i would just try to take as many of them with me as possible.

  • 1

    #4 guess some of the soviet dogs were trained too well. Some of them went under soviet tanks and blew them up instead of the german ones (cause they were trained on soviet tanks).
    #7 & #8 Really an under reported part of that war (of course the eastern front is in general under reported in western history). Really terrible part of the war, there were roving SS squads to counter the Russian partisans, operating behind enemy lines on both sides. It was like having the two armies fighting each other and then gangs from each side roaming the country side terrorizing the civilian population.
    Excellent post.

  • 1

    #24 the words "these woman are no more" followed by the rest of the paragraph left a chill on the back of my neck.

  • 1

    Awesome post!
    We need more like this.

    • Math
    • January 7, 2014, 8:15 am
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