ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Famous War Photos

Updated on August 16, 2011

This hub is dedicated to the most emotional and powerful images of war I have ever come across. It is not a partisan propaganda piece for war, ideology or philosophy. The courage, fear, anger and dread that many of these photos inspire are a testament and tribute to human nature and an awe-inspiring look at what human beings are capable of; for good or for ill.

From the American Civil War, to the Iraq War and beyond -- I have attempted to make this hub as inexplicit as possible but some pictures may nevertheless be disturbing, but that after-all is the nature of war. A more powerful message does not exist. 

The flag raisers of Iwo Jima.
The flag raisers of Iwo Jima.

The World Wars

The two greatest wars in recorded history need no introduction. Most pictures will require little context (such as the one below) others will require some foreknowledge in order to be understood correctly. I have tried to research the photos as accurately as possible, but in some cases there are differing views and some controversy (usually stemming from a political standpoint), in almost all scenarios I have gone with the majority view. 

Invasion Of France, 1940

National Archives - A French man reacts to the German march on Paris, June 14 1940. His expression speaks volumes.
National Archives - A French man reacts to the German march on Paris, June 14 1940. His expression speaks volumes.
Nuremberg Rally, 1934 -Deutsches Bundesarchiv (German Federal Archive)
Nuremberg Rally, 1934 -Deutsches Bundesarchiv (German Federal Archive)

The Nazis used aesthetics and symmetry as symbols of power and unity. This often led to dazzling public displays such as the 1934 Nuremberg rally (right).

Situated at the heart of the German Reich, Nuremberg was the perfect place for the Nazis to hold their rallies and attract as much attention as possible.

One look at this picture reminds us (well -- me) of how easy it must have been to succumb to the pressure. Either by fear or by awe, the use of symmetry and the continuous incessant propaganda of unity were a very powerful tool, in competent hands.This process is evidenced by the fact that each recurring Rally hosted a larger and large number of participants, which ended up hosting as many as 500,000 people from all branches of the socialist party.



Kiss

V-Day In Times Square - Alfred Eisenstaedt
V-Day In Times Square - Alfred Eisenstaedt

Kissing the war goodbye

  • V Day In Times Square

Alfred Eisenstaedt's photo shows a sailor kissing a young woman in a white dress on August 14, 1945. Later published on LIFE magazine this photo rose to notoriety due to the context within which it was shot which was the end of the war.

Eisenstaed later commented on his picture in his book, "The eye of Eisenstaed":

I was walking through the crowds on V-J Day, looking for pictures. I noticed a sailor coming my way. He was grabbing every female he could find and kissing them all — young girls and old ladies alike. Then I noticed the nurse, standing in that enormous crowd. I focused on her, and just as I'd hoped, the sailor came along, grabbed the nurse, and bent down to kiss her. Now if this girl hadn't been a nurse, if she'd been dressed dark clothes, I wouldn't have had a picture. The contrast between her white dress and the sailor's dark uniform gives the photograph its extra impact.



Rejoice, O young man, in thy youth

National Archives - A very young soldier lost in thought.
National Archives - A very young soldier lost in thought.

Vietnam

The Vietnam war, or the second Indochina war spanned between September 26, 1959 to April 30, 1975. This was one of the first major wars to feature embedded journalists that captured the war in color. Due to this, there is an immense spectrum of readily available photography that exposes the reality of war, in all its shades of purpose and meaning.

The role of journalists was instrumental in creating an opposition to the war. The U.S became divided by "Hawks" (pro-war advocates) and "Doves" (anti-war), and to this day remains a divisive issue in contemporary politics.

I have tried to capture an assortment of pictures, not only action oriented, but also personifications of war (right) and the day-to-day life of soldiers.

I chose this first photo on the right to underline the ambiguity of war. An obviously young, underage soldier is found fighting for his country in the jungles of Vietnam -- a kid young enough to resemble our children, and grandchildren.

"Flying under radar control with a B-66 Destroyer, Air Force F-105 Thunderchief pilots bomb a military target through low clouds over the southern panhandle of North Viet Nam. June 14, 1966" - Colonel Cecil J. Poss, 20th TRS USAF (National Archives)
"Flying under radar control with a B-66 Destroyer, Air Force F-105 Thunderchief pilots bomb a military target through low clouds over the southern panhandle of North Viet Nam. June 14, 1966" - Colonel Cecil J. Poss, 20th TRS USAF (National Archives)

Caught between warring factions the ultimate victims of war are inevitably civilians.

Staff Sgt Wayne Smith - September 1970
Staff Sgt Wayne Smith - September 1970

Comments

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    • Michael Giggs profile image

      Michael Giggs 

      5 years ago from London

      Photos make you think.

    • MatthewDavenport profile image

      MatthewDavenport 

      7 years ago from Warsaw, MO

      very informative..Those pictures will long out last us.

    • djplayer profile image

      djplayer 

      7 years ago from St.Charles

      I think this is kind of cool.

    • stars439 profile image

      stars439 

      8 years ago from Louisiana, The Magnolia and Pelican State.

      Fantastic photos, and a great hub. God Bless You.

    working

    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, hubpages.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://hubpages.com/privacy-policy#gdpr

    Show Details
    Necessary
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Features
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Marketing
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Statistics
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)