Luftwaffe aces meet Hitler after an awards ceremony at the Berghof, 1944

Adolf Hitler chats with his flying aces from Luftwaffe after an awards ceremony (Eichenlaub and Schwertern) at Berghof Obersalzberg on April 1944. All these Luftwaffe officers aces received their Knight’s Cross of the Iron Cross of Oak Leaves or Swords or Diamonds, the highest award made by Nazi Germany to recognize extreme battlefield bravery or outstanding military leadership. Eight of the officers shown here accounted… Read More »

Category: WW2

The burning monk, 1963

In June of 1963, Vietnamese Mahayana Buddhist monk Thích Quang Duc burned himself to death at a busy intersection in Saigon. He was attempting to show that to fight all forms of oppression on equal terms, Buddhism too, needed to have its martyrs. The self-immolation was done in protest to the South Vietnamese Diem regime’s pro-catholic policies and discriminatory Buddhist laws. In particular this was… Read More »

Deputy Mayor Ernst Kurt Lisso and his family after committing suicide by cyanide to avoid capture by US troops, 1945

As the Red Army and the Western Allies pressed closer and closer to Berlin suicides grew. Thousands of Germans committed suicide in the spring of 1945, rather than face occupation and the expected abuse by their victors. 3,881 people were recorded as committing suicide during April in the Battle of Berlin, although the figure is probably an underestimate. Although the motives was widely explained as… Read More »

A guard of honor passes out as Queen Elizabeth II rides past during the Trooping the Colour parade, 1970

In the strict world of British military protocol, there are even rules on how to faint with dignity. There are two main reasons why the guards of honor pass out: it can get pretty hot and they’ll lock their knees. Usually it’s the combination of both that gets you. And in fact “don’t lock the knees!” is the advice given to troops standing in formation… Read More »

Australian soldiers after their release from Japanese captivity in Singapore, 1945

Five Australian former prisoners of war catch up on news from home after their release from Japanese captivity in Singapore, September 1945. The brutal treatment inflicted upon these men by their Japanese captors is clearly illustrated by their poor physical condition. These prisoners were held on the Changi POW camp. Often thought to be synonymous with horror it was in fact a relatively comfortable camp,… Read More »

A girl who grew up in a concentration camp draws a picture of “home” while living in a residence for disturbed children, 1948

A girl who grew up in a concentration camp was asked to draw “home” and what she drew was scribbles. It shows how the horrors of the concentration camp warped her mind. It’s a mystery what the lines truly mean to her, probably the chaos or the barbed wire. This photograph was taken by Chim (David Seymour) in a home for emotionally disturbed children located… Read More »

John F. Kennedy campaigns in rural West Virginia, precariously perched on a high-chair to deliver his speech, 1960

While part of every candidate’s retinue, security was simply not the pressing, public concern in 1960 that it would suddenly and necessarily become within a few short years. Here, seemingly alone in a crowd in Logan County, West Virginia, JFK speechifies from a kitchen chair as, mere feet away, a young boy absently plays with a jarringly realistic-looking toy gun. JFK went on to win… Read More »

Category: USA

The Solvay Conference, probably the most intelligent picture ever taken, 1927

The Solvay Conference, founded by the Belgian industrialist Ernest Solvay in 1912, was considered a turning point in the world of physics. Located in Brussels, the conferences were devoted to outstanding preeminent open problems in both physics and chemistry. The most famous conference was the October 1927 Fifth Solvay International Conference on Electrons and Photons, where the world’s most notable physicists met to discuss the… Read More »

Rudolf Hoess the commandant of the Auschwitz concentration camp, is hanged next to the crematorium at the camp, 1947

Rudolf Hoess (Rudolf Höss) was the architect and commandant of the largest killing center ever created, the death camp Auschwitz, whose name has come to symbolize humanity’s ultimate descent into evil. On 1 May 1940, Hoess was appointed commandant of a prison camp in western Poland. The camp was built around an old Austro-Hungarian (and later Polish) army barracks near the town of Oswiecim; its… Read More »

Highway of Death, The result of American forces bombing retreating Iraqi forces, Kuwait, 1991

On Sunday 24 February 1991, allied forces launched a combined ground, air and sea assault which overwhelmed the Iraqi army within 100 hours. By 26 February, Iraq had announced it was withdrawing its forces from Kuwait, but still refused to accept all the UN resolutions passed against it. Iraqi tanks, armored vehicles, trucks and troops fleeing the allied onslaught formed huge queues on the main… Read More »

Italian Cavalry School, 1906

In the first decades of the 20th century the Italian Cavalry School at Tor di Quinto near Rome was – along with the French Cavalry School at Saumur – the leading institution for horsemanship in the world. Tor di Quinto was probably the foremost academy for advanced cross country riding. The Italian Cavalry School was absolutely cutting edge, their style revolutionized military cavalry riding around… Read More »

Muslim members of the Waffen-SS 13th division at prayer during their training in Germany, 1943

The photo is taken during the division training at Neuhammer. The romantic notions that Himmler had about the Bosnian Muslims were probably significant in the division’s genesis. He was personally fascinated by the Islamic faith and believed that Islam created fearless soldiers. He envisioned the creation of a Bosnian SS division constituted solely of Bosnian Muslims in a manner similar to the Bosnian divisions of… Read More »

Category: WW2

An American soldier wears a hand lettered “War Is Hell” slogan on his helmet, Vietnam, 1965

AP photojournalist Horst Faas took this iconic photo on June 18, 1965, during the Vietnam War with the 173rd Airborne Brigade Battalion on defense duty at Phouc Vinh airstrip in South Vietnam. The headband message “War is Hell” typified an acerbic attitude of many young American soldiers who were likely drafted and sent to the remote southeastern Asia jungles to engage in deadly and terrifying… Read More »

The shells from an allied creeping bombardment on German lines, 1916

Lone soldier surrounded by a mountain of empty shell cases, France. This lone British soldier up to his knees in spent shell cases, offers a striking impression of the destruction that took place on the Western Front. However, this picture only tells half the story, with the other part of the story being the damage that the shells from these cases inflicted upon the enemy.… Read More »

Category: WW1

A mother and her daughter falling from a fire escape, 1975

On July 22, 1975 in Boston, a 19-year-old and her 2-year-old goddaughter were trapped in a burning building. A firefighter shielded them from the flames as a fire ladder inched closer. Then the fire escape collapsed. The woman died from her injuries, but her two-year-old goddaughter survived because she landed on the woman’s body. It’s tragic, going from the hope of immediate rescue to a… Read More »

Elephant-mounted machine-gun, 1914

An American corporal aims a Colt M1895 atop a Sri Lankan elephant. The reason why the corporal is atop the elephant is a mystery but elephants were never a weapons platform adopted by the US Army. It’s probably a publicity picture, not something the army would actually try to employ. The elephant would not respond well to the sound of that machine gun a few… Read More »

Testing football helmets, 1912

In professional football, the only line of defense against head injury is the helmet. But the earliest football helmet looked more like a padded aviator cap than the high-tech crash-tested helmet used by today’s players. It is not certain who invented the football helmet. In 1896 Lafayette College halfback George “Rose” Barclay began to use straps and earpieces to protect his ears. His headgear soon… Read More »

The five races of Mankind, 1911

The picture/poster shows five men representing five different cultural spheres: an American Indian, an Australian Aborigine, an African, an Asian and an European. The European, standing in the center, dominates the scene and thus shows the Eurocentric world view of the time (early 20th century). This poster was printed as an illustration on a Dresden-based German magazine. It’s widely accepted that race originated in Europe… Read More »

Color photos from pre-war Nazi Germany

Nazi Party was not just a political organization, it was a psychological propaganda machine. The Nazis had an incredible sense of aesthetics and fully understood the power of iconography and branding. Enter inside the Nazi world through these amazing color photos and be thrilled. The symbols and colors of Nazism were all carefully orchestrated to have maximum psychological effect. There was nothing accidental about the… Read More »