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

By Jack Ripley | January 22, 2024

A British Plane Prepares for Takeoff in Gibraltar

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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Royal Air Force/Imperial War Museum via Wikimedia Commons

The British-owned Rock of Gibraltar was an important locale used by Allied forces during World War II. A perfect harbor for military vessels operating in the Atlantic Ocean and Mediterranean Sea, enemy vessels couldn’t get by without being sunk by Allied forces.

Gibraltar was also home to a strategic airfield where aircraft staging procedures could safely take place. In this photo, a British aircraft is preparing for takeoff to the United Kingdom. The searchlights eerily shining in the background were likely being used to spot and deter incoming enemy bombers. Today, the photo is displayed at Britain’s Imperial War Museum.

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.