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Rare Pictures From The Second World War: Part 1

American soldiers in action against the Japanese


There were approximately 302,000 U.S. military personnel killed in military action in WW II. This number includes about 9,000 merchant marine. This number does not include about 130,000 non-combat military deaths during WW II. 

The German defences in Normandy: The Atlantic wall


German Field Marshall Erwin Rommel was absent from the action at the onset of the invasion. Why?

He was celebrating his wife's birthday in Germany. Because the weather in the English Channel appeared to be too severe to launch an invasion, Rommel felt it would be safe to leave the front for several days to see his wife. Although he was concluded to be complicit in the attempt on Hitler's life, and subsequently commited suicide with poison because of this, these events did not happen until later.
These German paratroopers landed at the wrong time

The German 240 mm gun trundles into Russia
Early days of the war in Russia. German troops in 1941

An inglorious end: This German general was killed in Arnhem


German POWs stagger along in Russia. Very few of them made it back home.


Officially, the Soviet Union took 2,388,000 Germans and 1,097,000 combatants from other European nations as prisoners during and just after the war. More than a million of the German captives died. The immense suffering Germany and her Axis partners had caused surely played a key role in the treatment of enemy POWs. "In 1945, in Soviet eyes it was time to pay," wrote British military historian Max Arthur. "For most Russian soldiers, any instinct for pity or mercy had died somewhere on a hundred battlefields between Moscow and Warsaw."

Josef Stalin's regime was ill equipped to deal with prisoners: In 1943 as more enemy units fell into Soviet hands, death rates among POWs lingered around 60 percent. Roughly 570,000 German and Axis prisoners had already died in captivity. By March 1944, conditions began to improve, but for economic reasons: As its manpower was swallowed up in the war effort, the USSR turned to POWs as a surrogate work force. While POWs were not technically part of the gulag system, the lines were often blurred. Camps and detainment centers often comprised poorly constructed huts that offered scant protection from bitter Russian winter winds. The Soviet Union repatriated prisoners at irregular intervals, sometimes in large numbers. As late as 1953, however, at least 20,000 German POWs remained in Russia. After Stalin's death, those men were finally sent home.

German soldiers with a captured T-34 tank


The T34 tank was developed by the Russians both before and during World War Two. The T34 revolutionised the way tanks were designed and made. Close up in battle, the T34 proved to be more than a match for the powerful Tiger tank. The T34 combined developments from both America and, ironically, Germany. 

This Japanese officer surrenders. A rare picture. Japanese soldiers were very motivated and preferred to die fighting than surrender
Policemen in the Jewish ghettos. These men were policing their brethren for the Germans


Jewish Ghetto Police also known as the Jewish Order Service and referred to by the Jews as the Jewish Police, were the auxiliary police units organized in the Jewish ghettos of Europe by local Judenrat councils under orders of occupying German Nazis.

Members of the Judendienstordnung did not have official uniforms, often wearing just an identifying armband, and were not allowed to carry firearms. They were used by the Germans primarily for securing the deportation of other Jews to the concentration camps.

The Jewish ghetto policemen were Jews who usually had little prior association  with the communities they oversaw (especially after the roundups and deportations to extermination camps began), and who could be relied upon to follow German orders.

The Polish-Jewish historian and the Warsaw Ghetto archivist Emanuel Ringelblum has described the cruelty of the ghetto police as "at times greater than that of the Germans, the Ukrainians and the Latvians."




Rare Pictures From WW2: Part 2

Rare Pictures From WW2: Part 3

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May 1945 - If hell on earth existed, than it existed in Prague after May the 5th. 1945. Old men, women and children were beaten to death and maimed. Rapes, barbaric cruelties, horror-scenarios of hellish proportions - here they had been let lose.

- Ludek Pachmann, Czech Chess-Grand Master and publicist, forty years after the fact.

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"History is a guide to navigation in perilous times. History is who we are and why we are the way we are."

History, despite its wrenching pain, cannot be unlived, but if faced with courage, need not be lived again.


HISTORY, n. An account mostly false, of events mostly unimportant, which are brought about by rulers mostly knaves, and soldiers mostly fools.
-- Ambrose Bierce

We learn from history that we learn nothing from history.


"I have but one lamp by which my feet are guided, and that is the lamp of experience. I know no way of judging of the future but by the past."

"Patriotism ruins history."

Snippets from History

This short but important battle played a key role in the decision to use atomic bombs when attacking Hiroshima and Nagasaki. The battle showed just how far Japanese troops would go to defend their country.

Snippets From History

Paulus didn't give the order to 6th Army to surrender, but his troops no longer had much fight left in them. Resistance faded out over the next two days, with the last die-hards finally calling it quits. One Red Army colonel shouted at a group of prisoners, waving at the ruins all around them: "That's how Berlin is going to look!


History is Philosophy teaching by examples.


"Those who cannot learn from history are doomed to repeat it."
-- George Santayana

Points to Ponder: Why Is China Unstable?

The aim of individuals in any society is money and power. Societies that give equal chance to all its members to get them will be the most stable. That is why democracies are more stable than other systems of governance.

China after Deng's reform gave the chance to get rich but power is in the hands of an elite; the Communist Party of China. Membership to the party is at the whims of the local party bosses. This leaves out many people who crave political power dissatisfied and disgruntled. There in lies the roots of instability. The Party suppressed these demands once at Tiananmen in 1989. But force is hardly the way to deal with things like these.

READ MORE: Tiananmen Square Massacre