The Pacific Theater in pictures, 1942-1945

After Pearl Harbor the Japanese quickly gained control over a huge area of the Pacific, from the Philippines to Burma to the Aleutians to the Solomons. While the Japanese enjoyed the advantage of interior lines of communication, they had somewhat overextended themselves. Once the Allies became strong enough to threaten their perimeter from several directions, […]

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Finland in World War II, 1939-1945

For most of Finland’s history, the country had lived on the periphery of world events, but for a few weeks during the winter of 1939-40, Finland stood at the center of the world stage. Finland’s stand against Soviet aggression aroused the world’s admiration. The Winter War, however, proved to be only a curtain- raiser for […]

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The story of two Soviet prisoners of war who were killed in the Murmansk foothills, 1941

It was the night of June 29, 1941 in the foothills of Murmansk, Soviet Union. Commander Oberleutnant Rode ordered some officer candidates “Gruppe Ostermann” to climb “Ridge Musta” to a height of 122m and scout the situation and then report back to him and his company back down below. Right after they disappeared past the […]

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German commandos captured in American uniform are prepared for execution, 1944

The soldiers in the picture were executed after a military trial found them on violation  of the Hague convention concerning land warfare, article 23: “It’s especially forbidden […], to make improper use of a flag of truce, of the national flag or of the military insignia and uniform of the enemy”. Their mission was part […]

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Battle of Britain in rare pictures, 1940

In the summer and fall of 1940, German and British air forces clashed in the skies over the United Kingdom, locked in the largest sustained bombing campaign to that date. Victory for the Luftwaffe in the air battle would have exposed Great Britain to invasion by the German army, which was then in control of […]

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Building Liberty ships for the war effort, 1941

When war broke out Europe in September 1939, the American merchant fleet was caught unprepared to handle a massive sealift of war material. With continental Europe under German control, and Great Britain under devastating air attack, President Franklin Roosevelt decided to increase the pace of production to provide ships to America’s British allies. The result […]

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The inflatable dummy tanks of battlefields, 1918-1945

What use is an inflatable dummy tank in a very real war? A lot, if the enemy believes that it’s real. During World War I, Allied forces made use of dummy versions of the British heavy tanks. These were constructed from a wooden framework and covered with painted Hessian cloth. The tracks were non-functional so […]

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The North African Campaign in pictures, 1940-1943

Fighting in North Africa stemmed from the area’s strategic importance to the Commonwealth. Egypt’s Suez Canal, connecting the Mediterranean Sea to the Red Sea, was a vital transport artery. Oil in particular had become a critical strategic commodity due to the increased mechanization of modern armies. Britain, which was the first major nation to field […]

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Hiroshima before and after the atomic bombing, 1945

At the time of its bombing, Hiroshima was a city of both industrial and military significance. A number of military units were located nearby, the most important of which was the headquarters of Field Marshal Shunroku Hata’s Second General Army, which commanded the defense of all of southern Japan, and was located in Hiroshima Castle. […]

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Hiroo Onoda, the soldier who refused to surrender, 1974

Lieutenant Hiroo Onoda is the most famous of the so-called Japanese holdouts, a collection of Imperial Army stragglers who continued to hide out in the South Pacific for several years after World War II had ended. An intelligence officer, Onoda had been on Lubang since 1944, a few months before the Americans invaded and retook […]

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