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

By Jack Ripley | April 23, 2024

Freezing Temperatures Couldn’t Hold Back Charging Soviet Soldiers

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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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.

British Soldiers Shake Hands From Atop Their Tanks in Tobruk, Libya

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Getty Images

Libya was an important Axis country that was used as a shipping base during World War II. In September, Allied nations launched an attack on Tobruk known as Operation Agreement. This attack was intended to thwart war supplies intended for Axis nations, though it failed to do so. That’s not to say that Allied troops did not experience some successes during the Siege of Tobruk.

In January 1941, British soldiers successfully held German and Italian troops for a time. However, the Axis powers renewed control, pushing the Allies back toward Egypt. Though the Siege of Tobruk didn’t end until December 1942, in this photo, British soldiers can be seen shaking hands from atop their tanks. After a nearly 8-month battle in Tobruk, victory fell to the Allied nations.