The Images That Shaped History: Iconic Photos of World War II

World War II was a defining moment in human history, and the photographs taken during this time capture the heroism, tragedy, and triumph of the era.

From the rubble of Stalingrad to the beaches of Normandy, these images have become iconic symbols of the sacrifices made by soldiers and civilians alike.

Let’s take a journey through some of the most iconic photos of World War II.

Watching for German air raids during an Arsenal vs Carlton Athletic match, 1940.

German soldiers march past the French WWI victory monument during the Fall of France, 1940

Churchill inspects a Tommy Gun, Hartlepool, 1940.

German soldiers in Paris salute their officers sitting at a café, Bastille Day, 1940.

German troops land in Norway, 1940.

Heinrich Himmler visits Dachau with his 12-year-old daughter Gudrun, 1941.

The “Night Witches,” fearless Russian female pilots who ran bombing missions at night, 1941.

Amidst the ruins of a London bookshop, a boy sits and reads a book named “The History of London, October 8, 1940.

An individual air raid shelter for a Queen’s Guard during The Blitz, London, 1940.

A German bomber attacks the American ship Robert Rowan off the coast of Gela, Sicily, causing it to explode, July 11, 1943.

A building collapsing during the Blitz, 1941
Free French soldiers at a sunrise mass during the battle of Bardia, 1941.

Omaha Beach during the D-Day landings, 1944.

A Russian POW stares down Heinrich Himmler, 1941. Photo by Franz Gayk.

Wounded soldiers after storming Omaha Beach on D-Day, June 6, 1944.

The citizens of Leningrad evacuate their homes, which had been destroyed by German bombing, 1942.

Disabled US vehicles on the beaches of Iwo Jima, March 1945.

A German soldier poses a dog with a gun, 1940.

The Miracle at Dunkirk, 1940.

The atomic bombing of Nagasaki, 1945.

Tuskegee Airmen Edward M. Thomas. Photo by Toni Frissell 

The Polish Legion in France, 1940.

Captain Lewis Nixon of Easy Company, 1945.

An allied soldier and a dog during the Battle of the Bulge.

A captured 16-year-old German soldier, 1945.

A German soldier breaks in front of the Reichstag as it burns during the Battle of Berlin in 1945.

Defendants laugh during the Nuremberg Trials.

American tanks at Nürnberg.

German troops in Russia, 1941. 

German soldiers escorting Jewish civilians through the streets during the demolition of the Warsaw Ghetto, Poland, 1943.

Boeing plant in Seattle camouflaged during WW2.

Picture of Japanese civilians listening to Emperor Hirohito surrender over the radio in 1945.

American soldiers speak with a Swiss Guard, Vatican City, 1944.

US soldiers land on Omaha Beach on D-Day, June 6, 1944.

A man weeps as German soldiers march through the streets of Paris, June 14, 1940.

Easter Eggs

Queen Elizabeth works as a mechanic during WW2.

The 347th Infantry Regiment of the U.S. military are provided with food as they traveled to La Roche, Belgium, January 13, 1945.

Firefighters put out a fire during the Blitz, London, 1941.

American soldiers return home from war, 1945

German soldiers react to concentration camp footage, 1945.

Soviet soldiers during the Siege of Leningrad, 1943.

The ruins of Dresden after the allied bombing, 1945.

American soldiers at the Maginot Line, 1945.

A captured German soldier gives an overweight British soldier the side eye.

General Eisenhower Speaks with paratroopers just before D-day.

The USS Arizona in flames after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, December 7 1941.

Members of the British Indian Army are awarded the Victoria Cross in 1945.

British infantryman training in 1941.

US soldiers drinking Coca-cola. Over 5 billion bottles were distributed during the war.

Soviet snipers, 1945.

Soviet soldiers with freshly freed children, Auschwitz, 1945.

F4U Corsairs before being shipped to the Pacific Theater.  

B-17s over Europe

Ready army soldiers crouch as a tank passes over them. Battle of Kursk, 1943.

The Yalta conference

Landing cargo after D-Day.

The Liberation of Buchenwald, April 1945. Photo by Margaret Bourke-White

Bombing Romania

Kombat. A Soviet officer leads his soldiers. Photo by Max Alpert.

Gen. Douglas MacArthur wades ashore during the Battle of Leyte.

USS Shaw explodes during the attack on Pearl Harbor, December 7, 1941.

Attack on USS Franklin. Photo by Albert Bullock.


Wilhelm Keitel signs Germany’s surrender, 1945.

Chinese child soldier

Raising a flag over the Reichstag

The Blitz, London, 1940. Photo by William Vandivert.

A woman cries in the rubble after the bombing of Dessau. Germany, 7 March 1945. Photo by Henri Cartier-Bresson.

A US Marine gives a cigarette to a Japanese soldier, Iwo Jima, 1945.

A Soviet village during the German advance, October 28, 1941.

17-year-old Paul Newman enlisted in the US Navy.

Marines landing at Iwo Jima

A B-24 Liberator during Operation Tidal Wave, August 1, 1943.

A Sicilian welcomes two US soldiers wine, July, 1943.

Burial at sea on the USS Intrepid, November 26, 1944

Japanese soldiers in Burma pose in front of a giant statue of Buddha, 1942.

Soviet soldier with a bicycle during the Battle of Budapest, 1945

German tanks during the Battle of Kursk, 1943.

Prisoners of Auschwitz after their liberation by the Red Army, 1945.

An American soldier wears a replica crown of the Holy Roman Empire, Siegen, Germany, 1945.

NYC protest, July 7, 1941

Heinrich Himmler and his family picking flowers, 1941.

On June 21, 1944, French Resistance fighters in Paris shaved the heads of women accused of collaborating with the Nazis.

The crematory ovens at Buchenwald, April, 1945.

Canadian soldiers land on D-Day

US soldiers approach Omaha Beach during D-Day, June 6, 1944.

Celebrating Germany’s surrender, Paris, France

A Russian prisoner of Dachau after its liberation by US forces, April 29, 1945.

Italian POW after the Allied landing in Sicily, July 1943

US Marines, Iwo Jima, February 1945

A B-24 crewman poses with his plane, 1944 – 1945

Veronica Lake, a Hollywood actress, demonstrates the potential dangers for women working in factories during WWII, as her hair becomes caught in a drill press, November 9, 1943.

A Russian conscript says goodbye to his family before being sent to the front lines, Karachev, Bryansk, Russia, 1943.

Soldiers of the Red Army march through the main street of Kiev, Ukraine, after the city is liberated from German forces in 1943.

SAS Soldiers in North Africa, 1943

A family of Japanese-Americans is forcibly relocated to an internment camp, 1942.

 Tehran Conference, Iran, November 28, 1943.

A photograph showing 2nd Lieutenant William Robertson of the United States and Lieutenant Alexander Sylvashko of the Soviet Union standing in front of a sign commemorating the meeting of their respective armies in Torgau, Germany, on April 25, 1945.

The Japanese Surrender aboard USS Missouri, 1945.

The ruins of the Warsaw Ghetto, which was destroyed by the German SS, are shown. The Ghetto only existed for a brief period, during which approximately 300,000 Polish Jews perished.

Unpacking Mona Lisa at the end of World War ll, 1945.

A crowd gathers in Times Square, New York City, to celebrate the surrender of Germany, May 7, 1945.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Scroll to Top