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20 Rare WW2 Photos

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WWII was fought between the Allies and the Axis powers from 1939 to 1945. During this time it trampled lives and changed the borders and boundaries and characters of countries as it raged across the globe and involved all of the great powers and traversed most of the world’s countries. Before the Second World War ended, it directly impacted the lives of more than 100 million people spread out over a range of 30 countries.

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1. Hard Moon Rising over New Mexico
Prior to detonating its atomic arsenal, the government experimented in the vast desert of New Mexico. Since that test on July 16, 1945, the mythology around area 51 has loomed large.

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2. When You Need to Bring in the Big Guns
Railway guns are mammoth artillery; railway mounted guns, they were employed to fire across the English Channel. Pointing one of those in the enemy’s direction showed the opposing side that you meant business.

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3. It Takes Strong Men to Move the Fat Boy
On August 9, 1945, Fat Man, give that code name because of its spherical shape was, tragically, detonated over Nagasaki.

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4. What’s In a Name? The Fat Man that Will Go Down in History
Here, in its terrible power, is a replica of the bomb, which at 10,3000 pounds, struck terror in Nagasaki, Fat Man.

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5. The Serious Subject of the Enola Gay
Named in honor of his mother by pilot Enola Gay Tibbets, this aircraft has the serious history of being the first plane in the world to drop an atomic bomb. For fans of the film director Stanley Kubrick, the Enola Gay makes a strong cameo appearance as depicted in Kubrik’s epic anti-war film “Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb,” a sardonic look at power, madness, and war.

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6. Why It Isn’t a Good Idea to Give Small-Minded Despots Access to Large Artillery: or A Not So Top Gun
Adolph Hitler studies the 800mm railway gun, weaponry so massive it needed to be transported and fired from specially made railways with members of his military.

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7. Theories Are Developed on How the Military Comes Up With Some of Its Powerful Nomenclature
Even in the most horrific of circumstances, the brilliance of the human mind to derive if not humor, then at least trenchant nicknames occurs. The military has gifted us with the cuisine known as “Shit on a Shingle” and FUBAR and SNAFU and MRE.

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8. Have You Ever Considered the View…
From the nose turret of, let’s just say for the sake of conversation, a B-17 Flying Fortress? If you have, you can image what these gunners are experiencing as they look into that brilliant blue sky and imagine the demands of the day before them.

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9. We All Understand How a Good Break Can Refresh the Spirit and Let Us Return to Work With a Renewed Sense of Optimism
These soldiers from the Soviet Union demonstrate the restorative powers of a break. It’s time to party like it’s 1945. Is it the quality vodka or something in the air? Whatever their reasons, these folks know how to stage a break.

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10. Night Comes During the Daylight Hours
The sky above London is blackened due to the daytime bombing in 1940 as people took cover in shelters, huddling under the onslaught of the fierce bombing attacks.

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11. The Beauty of These Lights Will Blow You Away
The strange, other-worldly power of this image belies its danger. These lovely streams of light are created by anti-aircraft fire that in 1942 lit up Algiers.

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12. All Together Now!
German soldiers goosestep their way through Poland, creating an awful symmetry in their nearly unstoppable hunger for power and control.

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13. Pearl Harbor and So It Begins
US ships rest in the beautiful waters of Hawaii as the Japanese bring on the fury of their assault. The waves crash, smoke fills the normally serene blue of the sky. Men hurry to their stations. The battle is about to begin.

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14. Women Who Have the Gift to Fly High
Women in Britain who do their duty by working in a balloon storage area line up to demonstrate their determination, valor, and discipline. These gals are the Brit version of Rosie the Riveter.

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15. The Only Situation in the World Where Adolph Hitler Would be Considered a Best Man
Is at the wedding of Joseph Goebbels and his bride.

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16. Boys and Their Toys
These soldiers of the Tiger 1 demonstrate their firing power while holding up the 88mm that the tank employed.

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17. The Torch Song
Here, in Operation Torch, British and American soldiers demonstrate the power of teamwork as they take a beach in the Vichy-held territory.

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18. All Is Not Quiet On the Western Front
The Soviet soldiers show their forward drive during the Battle of Stalingrad against the fierce opposition of the German forces.

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19. So Twisted
War is hell on people and it’s also damned difficult on mechanical devices such as this B-17G aircraft which, in 1944, sustained a serious shearing in its duty during a bombing raid over Cologne, Germany.

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20. May 8, 1945, and So it Ends
After all of the fierce battles have been waged, it is now time to declare that momentous occasion, the coming of peace. Here Winston Churchill stands flanked by world leaders on the day that was so hard fought for and long struggled to, a coming of accord and it is to be hoped the last time that there is ever to be a war fought over such a magnitude and of such untold losses.

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