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

By Jack Ripley | January 15, 2024

U.S. Air Force Bombers Retreat From Ploiești, Romania Following an Allied Raid

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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Jerry J. Jostwick/U.S. Air Force via Wikimedia Commons

In 1940, Romania joined the Axis powers, providing resources to Nazi Germany to use in their invasion of the Soviet Union. Romania was instrumental in supporting Germany in Operation Barbarossa, the June 1941 invasion of the Soviet Union. Besides this, Romania supplied more troops to Germany than any other country making it an important target for Allied nations.

In this photo, U.S. Air Force bombers can be seen flying over Romania following a particularly brutal air raid. Operation Tidal Wave was a U.S. air raid based out of Libya in August 1943. The attack aimed to take out nine oil refineries in Ploiesti, Romania in hopes of crippling oil supplies for the Axis powers; unfortunately, the attack was not successful in hindering the enemy.

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.