War, Resilience, and Victory: The Global Story of World War II

By Jack Ripley | April 16, 2024

Soldiers Raise the American Flag During the Battle of Iwo Jima

Every picture indeed tells a story, and none are more telling than those taken candidly. Some of the most memorable photos in history have been taken in times of a country's greatest tribulations. We've all seen the haunting picture of the California migrant mother snapped in 1936, the 1951 photo of Albert Einstein sticking his tongue out to a goading photographer, and the 1954 photo of Marilyn Monroe in a little white dress standing atop a New York City street grate. While there are plenty of other iconic photos we can all call to memory, some of the most haunting are those shot during wartime.

What makes these photos memorable are the emotions they stir. Folks can step back into some of the world's most historic moments. As our forefathers, who experienced these events firsthand slowly pass on, all that remains are photos and written accounts. The photos herein give you a glimpse of some of the most historic moments in wartime history. Check out these haunting photos taken during World War II and the often untold stories they tell.

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Joe Rosenthal/The Associated Press/U.S. Navy/National Archives and Records Administration

Similar to the Battle of Normandy, the Battle of Iwo Jima was an amphibious attack launched on Japan by the U.S. A major battle of World War II, the Battle of Iwo Jima saw the attack of nearly 18,000 Japanese soldiers by approximately 70,000 U.S. Marines. The 36 days of fighting that ensued during this battle came at the cost of approximately 7,000 American lives and all but 1,083 Japanese lives.

Situated on the southwest side of the island of Iwo Jima is Mount Suribachi, from which the Japanese unleashed rampant fire for a good part of this battle. In a show of victory, five American Marines and one Navy corpsman raised our nation’s flag atop the mountain as shown in the picture above. This photo, which was snapped by American photographer Joe Rosenthal, is one of the most recognizable photos of World War II; Rosenthal was awarded a Pulitzer Prize for this image in 1945.

Freezing Temperatures Couldn’t Hold Back Charging Soviet Soldiers

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Vsevolod Tarasevich/Russian International News Agency via Wikimedia Commons

If it weren’t for the rifles pointing in the air, this photo might be mistaken for a group of chaps playing in the snow. Dressed in warm parkas and thick mittens against a snowy backdrop, these soldiers are far from a bunch of men engaged in a snowball fight. Instead, these Soviet soldiers were storming Nazi forces who had overtaken the city of Leningrad.

This photo depicts the Soviet forces’ attempt to break the blockade created before their city. Nazi-occupied Leningrad is considered an unmatched humanitarian tragedy. Nearly 1 million civilian lives were lost as a result of starvation, freezing temperatures, and enemy bombardments. In this picture, Soviet soldiers charge the Nazi blockade in hopes of reclaiming their city.