History > 20th century > WW2
Henri-Chapelle Cemetery, Belgium
Date taken: November 1946
Photographer: Ralph Morse
August 15, 1945
"American servicemen and women
gather in front of "Rainbow Corner" Red Cross club in Paris
to celebrate the unconditional surrender of the Japanese."
By an unknown photographer,
Records of the Office of the Chief Signal Officer.
NARA > Picturing the Century: One Hundred Years of Photography
from the National Archives
Mary Louise Rasmuson (born Milligan) 1911-2012
Mary Louise Rasmuson (...) joined the Women’s Army Corps
when it was formed during World War II,
ose to be its director under two presidents
and later found a new life
as a civic leader and philanthropist in the young state of Alaska
Saudi Arabia gains strategic importance during World War II
Although Saudi Arabia
officially maintained neutrality through most of the war,
the U.S. began to court the kingdom
as it realized the strategic importance of Saudi oil reserves.
President Franklin Roosevelt
made Saudi Arabia eligible for Lend-Lease assistance
by declaring the defense of Saudi Arabia of vital interest to the U.S.
In 1945, King Abdel Aziz and President Roosevelt
cemented the tacit oil-for-security relationship
when they met aboard the USS Quincy in the Suez Canal.
Japan Atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki August 6 / 9, 1945
Japan B-29 missions against Tokyo March 10, 1945
On March 10, 1945,
flying in darkness at low altitudes,
more than 300 B-29s dropped
close to a quarter of a million incendiary bombs over Tokyo.
Algeria Massacres in the Sétif and Guelma regions May 1945
The 8th of May 1945 is a key date for the French history.
Each year, one celebrates the victory over the Nazi Germany.
On the other side of the Mediterranean in Algeria,
this day of glory is one day of mourning.
During the celebration of the victory in 1945,
Algerians asserted their will of independence.
They will undergo during several weeks
a violent repression led by the French Army.
It will make thousands of victims.
Germany signs unconditional surrender 7 May 1945
Germany Battle of Berlin 1945
Red Army enters outskirts of Berlin 21 April 1945
Germany Bombing of Dresden,
led by Royal Air Force
and followed by the United States Army Air
Force February 13-15, 1945
Streetcars running through ruins of bldgs.
destroyed in 1945 allied fire bombing of city in post-WWII Russian zone.
Location: Dresden, Germany
Date taken: 1946
Photographer: William Vandivert
Russia Ukraine Yalta Conference 4-11 February 1945
Conference of the Big Three at Yalta makes final plans for the defeat of Germany.
L to R: Prime Minister Winston S. Churchill, President Franklin D. Roosevelt, and Premier Josef Stalin.
Pictures of World War II > Leaders
WWII allies 3-power conf. (L-R seated) British PM Churchill, US Pres. Roosevelt, Soviet ldr. Stalin,
w. aides (standing L-R) Fleet Adm. Cunningham, Fleet Adm. King, Air Marshal Portal, US Adm. Leahy & unident. Soviets, at Livadia Palace.
Location: Yalta, Ukraine, Russia
Date taken: February 1945
Ardennes belges et nord du Grand-Duché de Luxembourg
Bataille des Ardennes / Battle of the Bulge December 1944 - January 1945
Germany counter-attacks in Ardennes December 17, 1944
The Germans mount a series of counter-attacks
on the Western front allowing them to re-cross the borders of Luxembourg and Belgium.
Rundstedt's offensive against American troops in the Ardennes
The bodies of Belgian men, women, and children,
killed by the German military during their counter-offensive into Luxembourg and Belgium,
await identification before burial.
Author Franklin D. Roosevelt Library Public Domain Photographs
Primary source > NARA > ARC Identifier 196543
Troops of the famed 82nd Airborne Div (3rd Batt; 504th Para. Reg.).
march through snow behind tanks of the 340th Tank battalion
on way to engage Germans nr. town of Herresbach during the Battle of the Bulge.
Location: Herresbach, Belgium
Date taken: December 1944
Bodies (marked for identification)
of American POW soldiers of Battery B, 285th Field Artillery Observation Battlion
murdered in cold blood on Dec. 17, 1944
by a regiment of the Nazi 1st SS Panzer Div.
under command of Lt. Col. Jochen Peiper outside the town of Malmedy
during the opening days of the Battle of the Bulge.
Location: Malmedy, Belgium
Date taken: January 15, 1945
First Jewish Broadcast from Aachen, Germany Oct. 29, 1944
Second Moscow Conference 9-19 October 1944
The Allied conference
held in Moscow in October 1944 was codenamed Tolstoy.
It involved Stalin, Churchill and their advisors.
America was represented
by the US ambassador Averell Harriman, as an observer,
and the head of the US military in Moscow, General John Dean.
Outcome: Decisions about Russia's entry in the war against Japan;
post-war division of the Balkans; the future of Poland.
Holland Battle of Arnhem Operation Market Garden 17-25/26 September 1944
US Airborne Divisions take objectives in Holland
to open a corridor for the advancing British Army.
British 1st Airborne 10 Division lands at Arnhem but meets strong resistance.
The Allies fail to gain a bridgehead across the lower River Rhine
Airborne troops retreat from Arnhem 26 September 1944
Conferences > Quebec, Canada
- 1944 (codename Octagon) September 12
– 16, 1944
Churchill: to ensure that Great Britain received extended U.S. Lend-Lease supplies
and to propose dividing Germany into zones of occupation ;
Roosevelt: to discuss the plan on the deindustrialization of Germany
created by Secretary of the Treasury Henry Morgenthau.
Outcome: They determined Allied military strategy in Europe and the Pacific.
Churchill committed a British fleet to help the U.S. in the Pacific war
and received the assurance of continued Lend-Lease aid
while Japan remained undefeated.
The men agreed that Germany
would be divided into occupation zones after the war.
Despite Churchill’s reservations,
they also approved the Morgenthau plan to obliterate German industry
and give German machinery to Allied nations;
the plan was later abandoned.
Winston Churchill and Franklin Roosevelt
sitting together on terrace of The Citadel, Quebec,
during the two leaders' conference on war problems.
Location: Quebec City, Canada
Date taken: 1944
Photographer: George Skadding
France Liberation of Paris 25 August 1944
American troops in tank passing the Arc de Triomphe after the liberation of Paris,
Pictures of World War II
US National Archives
Sign carrying civilians march in parade
the day after the liberation of Paris by Allied troops.
Location: Paris, France
Date taken: August 26, 1944
Photographer: Frank Scherschel
Paris liberation made 'whites only' 25 August 1944
Germany The Stauffenberg plot to kill Hitler July 1944
Count Claus von Stauffenberg 1907-1944
Italy Liberation of Rome June 1944
Operation Overlord, Letters from D-day, First-person accounts, Capa's photographs
Alexander Cassie, known as Sandy 1916-2012
It was on the moonless night of March 24 and 25, 1944,
that 76 Allied prisoners of war, most of them British,
clambered down a 30-foot shaft
and crawled through a 340-foot-long tunnel
below the supposedly escape-proof Stalag Luft III camp in eastern Germany
— the daring breakout that was celebrated
in the classic 1963 movie “The Great Escape.”
In their pockets, the escapees carried
what looked like officially stamped documents, identification cards,
business cards and even letters written in German
from purported wives and sweethearts,
all of which were intended to make it possible for them
to befuddle a hapless guard or police officer
stopping them on their way to freedom.
Flight Lt. Alex Cassie, a British bomber pilot,
was one of a half-dozen artists
who had been forging those documents for months,
playing a central role in the larger conspiracy
to free hundreds of the nearly 1,000 airmen in the camp.
They called their unit Dean and Dawson,
after a well-known London travel agency.
Battle of Kursk The largest tank battle in history July-August 1943
German and Soviet operations on the Eastern Front
Georgi Zhukov 1896-1974
Western Allies invade Sicily July 1943
Allies Italian campaign 1943-1945
The campaign started in July 1943,
when the troops invading Italian territory
became the first to liberate Nazi Europe,
and did not end until 1945.
much of the most critical fighting took place in May and June 1944,
leading up to the liberation of Rome, on 5 June 1944
– the day before the Normandy Landings.
Allied casualties in Italy were more than 312,000
– considerably higher than
those in Normandy.
during a gruelling advance northwards
through what Winston Churchill called the "underbelly of Europe".
Allies Second Washington Conference 11-25 May 1943
The primary focus of the conference
was future strategy in the European war.
A major decision was made to delay the invasion of France;
a date was set for May the following year.
To establish air bases in the Azores,
the Allies also decided to apply to Portugal for assistance.
Norway Birger Edvin Martin Stromsheim 1911-2012
There was no Google Earth, no Gore-Tex
and only a modest measure of hope on the February night in 1943
when six Norwegians parachuted into
the remote and frigid Telemark region of their home country
for an outdoor challenge like few others.
They had skis and explosives and a destination:
the German-controlled Norsk Hydro facility,
high on an isolated and snowy ridge.
The Norwegians intended to destroy equipment inside
that the Germans were using to produce what is known as heavy water,
a crucial ingredient in making a nuclear weapon
and one they feared the Nazis would use to build an atomic bomb.
One of the demolitions experts on the team, Birger Stromsheim,
died Nov. 10 in Oslo at 101.
Allies Casablanca Conference 14-24 January 1943
Russia Battle of Stalingrad August 21, 1942 - February 2, 1943
Red Army soldier marches a German soldier into captivity
English translation of the original image caption:
Primary source > Bundesarchiv
Copyright © United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, Washington, D.C.
Time Covers - The 40S
TIME cover: 01-04-1943 ill. of Russian dictator Joseph Stalin.
Date taken: January 4, 1943
Photographer: Boris Artzybasheff
Algeria-Morocco military campaign
Allied Landings in French North Africa 8 November 1942
France Dieppe Raid / Landing
also known as
The Battle of Dieppe, Operation Rutter or Operation Jubilee 19 August 1942
Most of the 6,000-strong force was made up of Canadians,
seeing front line action for the first time,
as well as British, American and French soldiers.
France Près de Soisson Margival, la forteresse hitlérienne méconnue
Construit en 1942 par des ouvriers français,
le camp de Margival, dans l'Aisne, fut, jusqu'en 1944,
le QG d'Hitler en France.
The Japanese military raped and enslaved
thousands of Asian and European women in army brothels
Singapore forced to surrender 15 February 1942
British forces in Singapore
surrender unconditionally to the Japanese
seven days after enemy troops first stormed the island.
Japanese forces invaded Singapore
and only two weeks since their onslaught on the Malay Peninsula
forced the British troops' withdrawal to the island.
USA The Women Airforce Service Pilots The "WASPs" 1942
Allies Washington Conference 22 December 1941 - 14 January 1942
Germany and Italy declare war on US 11 December 1941
Germany and Italy
announce they are at war with the United States.
America immediately responds
by declaring war on the two Axis powers.
Allies Normandie-Niémen unit
Created by de Gaulle in 1942
to help repel Hitler’s invasion of the Soviet Union in June 1941,
the Normandie-Niémen unit was composed
of nearly 100 French fighter pilots,
almost half of whom were killed in action.
of Atlantic Ocean battles during the second world war
The Tuskegee Airmen
were the country's first black aviation combat unit.
The legendary all-black fighting force,
originally 16,000 pilots and ground crew, fought in World War II
Members of the famed Tuskegee Airmen as cadets
(L-R) Lemuel Custis, Mac Ross, Charles DeBow, Frederick Moore, C.H. Flowers Jr., George Levi Knox,
instructor Donald McPherson, Lee Rayford, Sherman White Jr., George Roberts & James Knighten
looking at a flight map during a training class.
Location: Tuskegee, AL, US
Date taken: 1942
Secret meetings seal US-Britain alliance August 1941
Top-secret meetings between Prime Minister Winston Churchill
and American President Franklin D Roosevelt
Soviet-German War 1941-1945
Germans invade the Soviet Union Operation Barbarossa 22 June 1941
Air Raid Over Moscow
Overall of central Moscow w. antiaircraft gunners dotting sky over Red Square
w. exploding shells w. spires of Kremlin silhouetted by German Luftwaffe flare.
Location: Moscow, Russia
Date taken: July 26, 1941
Photographer: Margaret Bourke-White
Greece Axis occupation April 1941 - October 1944
The Axis occupation of Greece
during World War II began in April 1941
after the German and Italian invasion of Greece,
and was carried out together with Bulgarian forces.
The Occupation lasted
until the German withdrawal from the mainland in October 1944.
Ragged young Greek children during WWII.
Date taken: October 1944
Photographer: Dmitri Kessel
Bulgaria joined the Axis alliance
and, in April 1941,
participated in the German-led attack on Yugoslavia and Greece.
In return, Bulgaria received most of Thrace from Greece, and Macedonia
as well as parts of eastern Serbia from Yugoslavia.
Though Bulgaria participated in the Balkan Campaign,
it refused to enter the war against the Soviet Union
in June 1941
German troops enter Bulgaria.
Date taken: March 1941
Photographer: Hugo Jaeger
Hugo Jaeger was one of Hitler's personal photographers.
The case against American isolationism
during the second world war
Britain declares war on
Finland, Hungary and Romania on 5 December 1941,
following the signing of the Tri-partite Pact
and Finland's alliance with Germany
German conquests in Europe map 1939-1942
German conquests in Europe, 1939-1942 > map
Copyright © United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, Washington, D.C.
USA Trading with the Enemy Act
George W. Bush's grandfather / US senator Prescott Sheldon Bush 1895-1972
Steve Bell The Guardian G2 p. 23 10.5.2005
Top > Main character : U.S. President George W. Bush
Top > last image on tle right: Adolf Hitler.
Katyn massacre / zbrodnia katyńska, mord katyński / Катынский расстрел 1940
In the spring of 1940
the Soviets proceeded with the “liquidation” of the Polish officer corps,
shooting nearly 15,000 men in Katyn Forest
22,000 Polish officers and intellectuals were murdered
United Kingdom Charles de Gaulle's BBC rallying call to France
Appel du 22 juin 22 June 1940
Il n'y a pas eu d'enregistrement (audio ou film)
de l'Appel du 18 juin 1940,
contrairement à celui du 22 juin 1940,
avec lequel on le confond souvent
Charles de Gaulle's BBC rallying call to France Appel du 18 juin 18 June 1940
France Bataille de Dunkerque / Battle of Dunkirk 20 May-3 June 1940
Dunkirk after British bombardment and retreat.
Location: Dunkirk, France
Date taken: June 1940
Photographer: Hugo Jaeger
Guerre dans le Grand Nord Occupation of Denmark
En avril 1940,
les troupes allemandes lancent une offensive contre la Norvège.
D’abord prises au piège à Narvik,
port norvégien au-delà du cercle polaire,
elles sont ensuite en première ligne
pour attaquer l’Union soviétique.
Romania and Hungary joined the Tri-partite Pact
in November 1940,
as Hitler prepared his attack
against Bolshevism on the Eastern Front.
France Hendaye Adolf Hitler meets Francisco Franco October 23, 1940
Smiling German ldr. Adolf Hitler (R)
shaking hands w. Spanish leader Generalissimo Francisco Franco (2L)
during Hitler's only official meeeting w. Franco.
Location: Hendaye, France
Date taken: October 23, 1940
also called the Three-Power Pact, Axis Pact,
Three-way Pact or Tripartite Treaty,
was signed in Berlin, Germany on September 27, 1940.
It established the Axis Powers of World War II.
The Fall of France
German bombers set whole inner city of Rotterdam ablaze,
killing 30,000 of its inhabitants May 14, 1940
Leveled city of Rotterdam resulting from ignored German ultimatum
ordering Dutch commander of city to cease fire delivered to him at 10:30 a.m. on May 14, 1940;
at 1:22 p.m., German bombers set whole inner city of Rotterdam ablase,
killing 30,000 of its inhabitants.
Location: Rotterdam, Netherlands
Date taken: 1940
Why did the second world war begin?
Russia before the second world war
Rising tension in Asia before the second world war
Declining relations between Russia and Japan
America's economy before the second world war
The economic impact of the Treaty of Versailles 28 June 1919
Nazi Germany invades Poland September 1, 1939
Beginning of World War II
as the United Kingdom declares war on Germany
in response to the invasion.
The Soviet Union invades from the east.
Germany and the Soviet Union divide Poland between them
and treat Polish citizens with extreme brutality.
Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact / Nazi-Soviet Pact
Treaty of Non-Aggression
between the Third German Reich
and the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics 23 / 24 August 1939
L to R: Stalin and Ribbentrop
at the signing of the Pact
23 August 1939
Primary source > Das Bundesarchiv
Italy and Germany sign the Pact of Steel
to help each other in the event of war 22 May 1939
Berlin and Tokio announce their pact November 1936
Germany begins rearming
and invades the Rhineland up to the French border 1936
Italy Mussolini 'Ethiopia is Italian' 1936
Italy Italy's empire building before the second world war
Mussolini's conquest of Abyssinia 1936
recognise the Government of General Franco November 1936
Anglo-German Naval Agreement June 18, 1935
Germany Adolf Hitler comes to power 1933
on a programme to reverse the Versailles Treaty.
He withdraws from the disarmament conference
and leaves the League of Nations.
USA The Immigration Act of 1924 (The Johnson-Reed Act)
Japanese immigration to America is banned 1924
U.S. Isolationism 1920s
The New York Times > Topics > WW2
Canada > Canadian War Posters
The Guardian > Second World War
Second world war > Holocaust
Second world war > Stalingrad
Second World War > Liberation
Second World War > Aftermath
Combattants de l'ombre - Des
Européens résistent au nazisme
Tournée dans quatorze pays,
Le Monde Diplomatique > Seconde
guerre mondiale 1939-1945
US “sand pounders” / Coast Guardsmen