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World War II in Photos
November 1, 2011 9:03 AM   Subscribe

World War II in Photos "A retrospective of World War II in large-size photo stories. 900 photos in all, over 20 chapters, telling many of the countless millions of stories from the biggest conflict and biggest story of the 20th century." [via mefi projects]

"I wanted to tackle larger, serial stories, and I dove right in with a historical one, World War II, as my first project. I started planning it back in May, published the first weekly installment in June, and just posted the last one on Sunday, four months later. I looked over more than 25,000 photos, selected 2,500 for first drafts, and edited down to 900 total - 45 per chapter." Previously: Part 1.
posted by bru (34 comments total) 58 users marked this as a favorite

 
The color photos of the home front are amazing! Great post.
posted by Renoroc at 9:22 AM on November 1, 2011


In less than a decade, the war between the nations of the Axis Powers and the Allies resulted in some 80 million deaths -- killing off about 4 percent of the whole world.

An interesting measure of disaster intensity --- percentage of world population killed per year. Hmm...a potential Wikipedia article.
posted by goethean at 9:30 AM on November 1, 2011


I've followed these from the first installment and they're fantastic. The very last photo (bottom of this page) has a particularly amazing story connected with it.
posted by AugieAugustus at 9:33 AM on November 1, 2011 [1 favorite]


An interesting measure of disaster intensity --- percentage of world population killed per year. Hmm...a potential Wikipedia article.

Sorta already there.
posted by kmz at 9:33 AM on November 1, 2011


This picture of Hiroshima, Japan, one year after the atomic bomb blast is unsettling. I'm going to add these other pictures of Hiroshima, 64 years ago.

I hope that shit never happens again.
posted by twoleftfeet at 9:38 AM on November 1, 2011


Finnish soldiers, members of one of the ski battalions that fought against invading Russian troops, march with their reindeer on March 28, 1940.

The 30th photograph from the period of 1939-1940 shows the Finns on skis using reindeer to pull their equipment! The defense mounted by Mannheim and the Finnish home army (Finland was not mobilized until very late) is one of the great stories of warfare. When Soviets invaded peaceful little Finland basically every Finnish man picked up the rifle given to him during his military service and reported for duty. About 50.000 Swedish volunteers quickly joined them (because their country did not.) Mannheim quickly organized a defense and tiny little Finland stopped the Red Army in their tracks.

Not enough is said about the Winter War fought by Finland against the Red Army. Stalin assumed he would run over Finland as Hitler ran over Poland. Although the Poles fought as bravely as the Finns did, the Finns were better organized, better armed, and were up against a feckless enemy!

It is to my way of thinking always regrettable that Stalin became an ally of America and Great Britain after what he did to Finland. That was in every sense as big a crime as the Germans invading Poland.

Also Finland was forced to pay reparations to the Russians after the war because they invited in German troops after Barbarossa. Roosevelt and Churchill claimed to be the protectors of the small democracies of Europe, but they had no trouble selling them out when it made sense for them to do so. It wasn't until the 1970s that Finland became free of this debt.

The last time I was in Helsinki I was walking with some Finnish colleagues past the monument to Mannheim and one of them asked me if I knew who Mannheim was. "He is the general from the Winter war," I quickly answered.

The all stopped in their tracks somewhat in surprise that I knew the answer. "Almost no outside of Finland remembers what we did." they said.

That answer earned me a lot of free drinks at the bar!
posted by three blind mice at 9:38 AM on November 1, 2011 [9 favorites]


I like how a lot of the Japanese people in the internment camps are called "evacuees".
posted by DU at 9:39 AM on November 1, 2011




The Atlantic's photo blog has been in my RSS reader for a while. The fellow running the show there, Alan Taylor, was the man behind Boston Globe's Big Picture Blog, also a fantastic source for the news in images. It warms me to see photography have more than a couple square inches next to an article.

Re: Finland's role in WW2, most of the Fins I went to school with preferred not to talk about it; Finland was allied with Nazi Germany from 1940-44, accepting weapons and troops. The reasons are myriad, but people tend to react strongly when they learn that bit.
posted by introp at 10:02 AM on November 1, 2011


Hey, this related item just popped up over on DailyWhat.
posted by DU at 10:03 AM on November 1, 2011


The fellow running the show there, Alan Taylor, is of course mefi's own kokogiac.
posted by bru at 10:08 AM on November 1, 2011 [1 favorite]


Finland was allied with Nazi Germany from 1940-44, accepting weapons and troops. The reasons are myriad, but people tend to react strongly when they learn that bit.

Which is too bad. TBM is correct that the Finn defense in the Winter War was quite heroic. It's not the Finn's fault they had the misfortune of being invaded by the Soviets and were sold out by the western democracies.
posted by Justinian at 10:14 AM on November 1, 2011


The color homefront photos are truly amazing.
posted by chemoboy at 10:20 AM on November 1, 2011


Oh my...hi res...images...*faints*
posted by NoMich at 10:25 AM on November 1, 2011


Number 18 is why still dragging up the past of old men is often difficult, if not plain wrong. If you want to criticize people for their past in the Hitler Youth (you know who), at least be aware of the teenage boy you're targeting. They're not evil, just pitiably naive.
posted by Jehan at 10:26 AM on November 1, 2011


Business As Usual.
posted by marxchivist at 10:36 AM on November 1, 2011 [1 favorite]


Mannheim seems like an incredible human being - deftly securing German support for Finland against the Russians, while avoiding German occupation. I wonder if there is a good English-language biography out there that is worth reading.
posted by KokuRyu at 10:39 AM on November 1, 2011


Sorry, that should have been Mannerheim
posted by KokuRyu at 10:41 AM on November 1, 2011 [1 favorite]


The reasons are myriad, but people tend to react strongly when they learn that bit.

Depends on how you look at it and what type of Hollywood propaganda you were subjected to at various times during your formative years. The Axis Powers were greater in number than just Germany, Italy and Japan with not just other nations collaborating but also ethnic or political groups of people as well.

It's not just as clear cut as labeling an entire nation as being Nazi sympathizers.
posted by jsavimbi at 10:43 AM on November 1, 2011


Business As Usual.

Thanks to Hitler, the chips will be littler.
Thanks to Himmler, the fish will be sim'lar.
Thanks for Goering, gone back to whoring.
posted by Jehan at 10:43 AM on November 1, 2011


Missing in action: a single fuck.
posted by Rhaomi at 11:26 AM on November 1, 2011 [3 favorites]


Number 29. It rules!
posted by Liquidwolf at 12:04 PM on November 1, 2011


I enjoyed this series but I really wish they would scale the photos to fit available horizontal screen space. Even the size selections at the top are too large and require side scrolling to view the text. I browse on a laptop so the viewable space is limited and side scrolling for every picture was pretty annoying (I never had to for the Big Picture). Lately, I think too many webdevs have been getting big huge monitors on their desks and either forgetting about or ignoring constraints that others operate under.
posted by srboisvert at 12:24 PM on November 1, 2011


Previously.
posted by kirkaracha at 2:28 PM on November 1, 2011


Hoooly..... this is amazing.
posted by BlackLeotardFront at 2:50 PM on November 1, 2011


The curator of this series, Kokogiac, made a brave decision when he presented photos of the Holocaust without obscuring them. The more distressing photos of other weeks' series were obscured, but on this occasion he decided not to encourage his readers to flinch away or to peep at a horror show voyeurishly concealed behind a curtain.

Incidentally, the author Stephen Nasser thinks that one of the apparently-dead bodies in this photo is him - he was only mostly dead.
posted by Joe in Australia at 3:56 PM on November 1, 2011


Excellent collection, shame about the captions..
posted by pompomtom at 6:04 PM on November 1, 2011


I think the captions were pulled directly from the source material.
posted by KokuRyu at 7:53 PM on November 1, 2011


This really fucking got me - sorry obvious but fuck. The fear on that little boy's face. I have nothing.
posted by the noob at 7:54 PM on November 1, 2011


Long Yun, the Yunnanese warlord who's shown meeting with Chiang Kai-shek, was quite a character. He always had a rocky relationship with Chiang's regime and many newspapers and academic institutions relocated to Kunming because he allowd them to publish and discuss things that the censors in Chongqing wouldn't. He bailed at the right time in the civil war too and played a role in the post 1949 regime, though spoke his mind then too a paid a price. He was ethnically Yi, which I understand is also a source of pride to to many Yi people still today.
posted by Abiezer at 9:02 PM on November 1, 2011


It is to my way of thinking always regrettable that Stalin became an ally of America and Great Britain after what he did to Finland. That was in every sense as big a crime as the Germans invading Poland.

Stalin invaded Poland, too!
posted by kirkaracha at 9:55 PM on November 1, 2011 [1 favorite]


The noob: here's a page that tries to identify the boy. Basically, nobody knows who it is, and the one person identified in the photo for sure is the Nazi facing the camera. He gave conflicting stories about the event - it may have been a roundup of Jews to be sent to be killed in Treblinka; they may have killed them on the spot.
posted by Joe in Australia at 11:26 PM on November 1, 2011


So many heartbreaking photos. So much I can't even put to words.

So I'll look to the lighthearted--this photo made me grin. I do stuff like this every time I work on a lathe.
posted by mollymayhem at 11:46 PM on November 1, 2011


This compares only to Hiroshima both in the scale of destruction and loss of life. Next year, after another uprising, all the remaining people were driven out and the rest of the city was also reduced to rubble, although not as thoroughly - it was the beginning of the end for the Third Reich and resources were scarce. These stunning images come from the CG movie City of Ruins, an attempt to reconstruct the view of the city after its destruction using aerial photos made by the Soviet airmen in February 1945.
posted by hat_eater at 9:54 AM on November 3, 2011


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