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Historical Photos From World War II



Over 100 million people, spanning over 30 countries, were involved in World War II. It is believed that anywhere between 50 and 85 million people lost their lives during the Second World War. The Allies wanted peace; the Axis wanted something else entirely.
These rare, colorized photos give us a real insight into the Second World War. From the battles to the people themselves, these are some of the most incredible images of WWII.

D-Day Landings

This photo shows some of the first U.S. troops landing during the D-Day Invasion in Normandy. Codenamed Operation Neptune, this invasion was the largest seaborne attack in history – and also one of the most dangerous.

Liberation Of Paris

This picture shows a French sailor, showing off the Eiffel Tower to two U.S. soldiers just after the Liberation of Paris.

Schwerer Gustav

The man with his back turned to the camera is Adolf Hitler, leader of Nazi Germany. They’re staring at an artillery cannon called Schwerer Gustav – translating to Heavy Gustav.


This photo was taken just a month after a nuclear bomb was dropped on Hiroshima. The city was deemed to be a strong point, both military and industrial wise.

Pearl Harbor

On the morning of December 7, 1941, the Imperial Japanese Navy Air Service executed a surprise attack on US naval base Pearl Harbor. This led to the US becoming part of the Allied forces in World War II.

Normandy Bound

This photo was taken in Weymouth Harbour in England back in June 1944. These U.S. Army Rangers have been crammed on board a landing craft assault vessel which was Normandy bound.

Victory Day

On May 8, 1945, Charles de Gaulle, who was the leader of the Free French Forces, let the French citizens know that World War II was officially over. People lined the streets in celebration.

Auxiliary Territorial Service

This photo shows an anti-aircraft spotter. Her job was to keep an eye on the skies for any kind of enemy aircraft. In the background of the image is a 3.7-inch anti-aircraft weapon.

Paratroopers Training

This photo shows four men from the Airborne Division of the British Royal Air Force. It is believed that these paratroopers were about to undergo training.

Enjoying Some Downtime

World War II wasn’t non-stop fighting the whole time, every now and then the men and women who fought were given some downtime. While it never lasted long, it was a welcome release from the raging battle.

Midway Atoll

This stunning photo was taken high above the Midway Atoll, an extremely important location in the American and Japanese fight. This atoll was used for refueling on transatlantic flights and as a stop off for Navy ships.

Yalta Conference

This photo shows the “Big Three” as they were known; Winston Churchill, the British Prime Minister, Franklin Roosevelt, the American President, and Joseph Stalin, the Soviet leader.

Women’s Royal Navy Service

The Wrens, as the Women’s Royal Navy Service was better known, were first formed during WWI, but closed down just two years later. It was revived during WWII and added more duties to the roster.

So Many Men

Around 156,000 servicemen took part in the Allied Invasion of Normandy. Little did these men know they were about to enter one of the most historic and dangerous battles.

Wrens On Tour

This photo shows a member of the Canadian Mounted Police Force showing some Wrens the sights. It’s thought this photograph was taken just after the first Quebec Conference.

The Blitz

The capital city of the UK, London, was hit hard during World War II by German bombers. Nicknamed “The Blitz,” the German Luftwaffe conducted mass attacks and raids on London.

Tunisian Campaign

This photo, taken 4 miles from enemy lines, shows soldiers of the Eighth Army, part of the British Army, firing their 4.5-inch gun in Tunisia.

Time For A Trim

Seated on a five-gallon can is Flight Lieutenant H J F Joncas, a Medical Officer from the Royal Canadian Air Force. As you can see, he’s getting his haircut in the middle of the Tunisian desert.

Cologne Cathedral

This in-action shot was taken in Cologne, with the spires of the iconic cathedral was still visible in the background. This photo shows U.S. Army soldiers in combat with the German forces.

Guard Dogs

After the attack on Pearl Harbor, the U.S. was on the constant lookout for more attacks from the Japanese Army. This photo, shows two U.S. soldiers patrolling a beach in Los Angeles, California.

Zulu Warrior Dancing

Many South Africans joined the Royal Air Force to fight against the Axis forces in Europe. When they weren’t fighting, however, they were entertaining their guests.

Operating The Machinery

As World War II broke out, more roles were added to the list for women. They could be drivers, ammunition inspectors, and cinetheodolite operators.

Marlene Dietrich

This photo was taken in May 1944, at an evacuation hospital near the Italian front lines. The woman sitting on the piano singing, and surrounded by injured troops, is Marlene Dietrich.

For Gael

This photo was taken on board the USS Bennington, where one of the officers of the U.S. Navy vessel is seen here inscribing a bomb just before the strikes on the Japanese.

Anna The Austrian

This photo is one of the happiest World War II pictures we’ve ever seen – just look at that little girl’s smile! Her name is Anna, and she was just four years old when this photo was taken, back in May 1945.

Juno Beach

This photo shows just some of the Canadian soldiers as they stepped off the ships at Juno Beach, during the D-Day Invasion.

Chemical Warfare

During the Second World War, there was a lot of fear over chemical weapons and warfare. Both Nazi Germany and the Imperial Japanese Army weren’t afraid to use dangerous chemicals against their enemies.

Gabby Gabreski

Gabby Gabreski was the best United States Army Air Forces fighter pilot throughout the whole of the Second World War. He actually went on to become ace in World War II and again in the Korean War.

USS New Mexico

Taken in July 1944, just before the invasion of Guam, this photo shows the sheer number of projectiles lined up ready for battle on board the USS New Mexico.

Fort Knox

These tank crew servicemen were photographed back in June 1942 at Fort Knox. This US Army post, located in Kentucky, has actually been around since around 1861.

USS Missouri

This photo shows history in the making, on board the USS Missouri. Taken in Tokyo Bay, this is the site of the surrender of the Empire of Japan; a significant factor in the ending of World War II.

Rescuing Survivors

For America, Pearl Harbor was one of the most devastating attacks that would rock an entire country. It meant that so many people, aircraft, and ships were attacked with no evacuation possible.

The Real Heroes

Photos like this just go to show the true humanity behind the Second World War. Hundreds of thousands of men – and women – fought for their countries, in the hope that they would remain victorious.

Jesse Rhodes Waller

This is a photo of Jesse Rhodes Waller; an Aviation Ordnanceman third class is the U.S. Navy. It shows him trying out a 30-caliber machine gun that he is just installed, at the air base in Corpus Christi.

Buchenwald Concentration Camp

One of the most disturbing parts of the Second World War was the concentration camps. Unspeakable horrors happened here that even many Axis forces are said to have been unaware of at the time.

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