Amidst the death and destruction of war, courageous photographers have captured some of the most iconic images in history. 


The six years of the Second World War killed over 50,000,000 soldiers and civilians across dozens of countries.

Cameras had only recently become small and fast enough to work on the frontlines which enabled them to capture the heroism and horrors like never before!


Cameramen worked and died throughout the conflict, but the last year of the war was the setting for three of the most famous photographs of all time and came to symbolize the war and victory.

The raising of the U.S. flag over Iwo Jima, the Soviet flag on the Reichstag, and a sailor kissing a woman in Times square on V- Day are are key to our collective memory of World War II.

The five weeks long Battle of Iwo Jima was one of the most intense and deadliest engagements of the war.

The Japanese forces had built extensive tunnel networks that were difficult to capture and extended the battle. 

In the early days of the battle, U.S. Marines captured Mount Suribachi on the morning of 23 February and raised a small flag. 

Later that afternoon a larger version of the Stars and Stripes was hoisted.

Associated Press photographer Joe Rosenthal took the famous picture and it was first published two days later and became the only photo to win the Pulitzer Prize in the same year it was taken. The unique photo was an inspiration for the Marine War Memorial in Arlington, Virginia. Six men are pictured and three world die in the following weeks of the battle.

The identities of the men involved in both flag risings have been disputed for decades.

The AP has relinquished its copyright to the image due to its historical and cultural importance. 


Soviet troops raised the Hammer and Sickle over the German Reichstag on 2 May 1945 at the end of the Battle of Berlin.

The photograph was published on 13 May and quickly spread around the war as a symbol of Allied victory in Europe.

The Eastern Front was infamously deadly and brutal which made the image even more significant in the USSR.

The identity of the photographer was unknown until Soviet archives were unsealed in the 1990s. His name was Yevgeny Khaldei and he was a photographer in the Red Army during the war. He later claimed that the flag raising over Iwo Jima inspired the Reichstag shot. Like its American counterpart, the identity of the men in the photograph has been disputer. 


On 14 August  1945 Japan surrendered to the United States and effectively ending the greatest war in history. Spontaneous celebrations broke out across the United States. Alfred Eisenstaedt was capturing the festivities in Times Square when he saw a uniformed sailor kiss a woman on the street.  The scene was frenetic and he was unable to ask for their names. Kissing on V-J Day was a motif in the next issue of Life magazine which featured this and several other romantic images. The faces of the couple are not visible in the famous picture and several people have claimed to be the subjects over the decades. A statue based on the classic photo stands in Times Square today.