Capturing the true essence of history can be hard. Some historical events are so old that cameras weren’t around, but for those moments that were captured on film, the pictures tell more than a long story. Understanding history is made much easier when you can see it in your mind’s eye. These photos will definitely make you feel nostalgic and perhaps even interested in learning more about a particular period of history too.
Whether it’s the history of your local area, Kings and Queens of the past, Presidents that have come and gone, nature, geography, or anything else, history is something we simply take for granted. Looking back on it, however, is something very special indeed.
A Different Inauguration
The 36th US President, Lyndon Johnson, didn’t have a regular inauguration with crowds and Lady Gaga singing the national anthem. Instead, he was sworn into office on the board of the most famous plane in the US – Air Force One.
Perhaps the most striking part of the whole inauguration wasn’t the new President taking office and taking his oath, but the fact that JFK’s wife was still covered in his husband’s blood while standing there. A poignant and rather shocking reminder of events that led to Lyndon’s rise to office.
A Family United in Mourning
Perhaps the most striking and emotional thing about this photo is the young son of JFK saluting his father at his funeral. His wife, Jacqueline Kennedy, stands in mourning beside her young son, shrouded in black. The shock and emotions soak through the photo on the screen.
The most tear-jerking part of this photo isn’t the number of people standing to give their respects, but the young boy and his salute. He wouldn’t have been pushed to do such a thing. He simply wanted to out of respect for his father. What a moment we will never forget.
A Sweet Moment of Escape
Some photos simply can’t capture the enormity of a moment, but this one certainly pulls on the heartstrings. Captured in April of 1945, this is the moment when allied forces managed to get to the internment camp of captured Jews just in time to free them.
The image of women and young children running up the hill to their freedom really hits home and shows you the enormity of the work done by soldiers who risked their lives to help others. Perhaps the most poignant part is the fact that had those children may never have got to live their lives otherwise.
Living The ‘60s Hippy Life
The ‘60s are known for their free-loving, colorful, and enjoyable times, but perhaps this picture captures the free-spirited days more than any other! We have no idea why this man is surrounded by scantily clad women, but he doesn’t look too concerned!
Why the women seem to have taken their clothes off on what looks to be a cloudy day is also a mystery. Also, why is the woman on his shoulders? So many questions, and it looks like we’re never going to get the answers!
Nothing Gets in His Way
During the Second World War, much of England took a real hammering at the hands of the Nazis, but the Blitz was a moment of true destruction. However, here we see that despite the Nazi’s attempts, real-life continued to move down those flattened streets.
With a smile on his face despite undoubtedly despair inside, this hard-working milkman continues to deliver milk to the homes of locals. This stands as a photo of true solidarity and the whole ‘keep calm and carry on’ British spirit.
Standing in True Defiance
It’s hard to comprehend the true horrors during WWII, but this photo shows you the bravery and resilience shown during what could be certain death. Here we see a prisoner of war standing in defiance on his side of the fence as a top Nazi official walks past.
He almost seems to be saying “look at me,” willing him to try and see the human in him and change his tactics. Of course, we know that the Nazis didn’t have an ounce of humanity in them. This man’s attempts, however, have to go down as honorable and brave.
A Rock ‘n Roll Cup of Tea
Jimi Hendrix is one of music’s all-time greats. Writing some of the best-loved songs we still hear today, this is a man who took a genre and turned it on his head. Some of his riffs are ever-present in songs that adorn radios and adverts even now.
Having died tragically at just 27 years of age, Hendrix is shown sitting in quiet contemplation, his ever-present guitar beside him and a quaint pot of tea. It’s a snap that shows you even the world’s best musicians have their quiet moments too.
Little And Large
Andre The Giant stood at a huge 7’4” and was an actor and wrestler during his time. His sheer height made him stand out on more than one level, but here we see a tiny boy looking up at a giant.
Look at the expression of awe on his face! Perhaps the most heart-warming part of this photo is the smile on Andre’s face as he gazes down at his little admirer with nothing but kindness. Whoever this little boy grew up to be, we bet this is a photo he cherishes.
Sky High Mechanics
We hear a lot about daredevils, but there is no greater picture of that term than this man here! Hanging out of a plane, trying to fix a problem before it plummets to the ground. Can you imagine the terror? But he doesn’t seem to look scared at all!
Just Shopping With My Deer
If you saw a woman shopping with a pet deer, you might be a little taken aback; you might even call store security. However, this is Audrey Hepburn, so you would probably be more in awe of that! Here we see the famous actress in 1958, popping out for some essentials.
This shows that Hollywood stars are no different from the regular folk like you and me. They need essentials, they need bread and milk, it’s just that they take their pets out with them for company! Maybe the deer is her bodyguard …
When You’re Overcome With Emotion
Emotions are funny things, and they catch you when you least expect it. This famous Times Square snap was taken on VJ Day when the Americans announced victory over Japan during WWII. So filled with joy, this soldier grabbed this willing lady and gave her a big kiss!
This just shows that victory isn’t taken for granted by troops, and as this photo clearly demonstrates, the soldiers who took part in that particular tragic battle were happy to be home and elated that the end of the war was in sight.
Thank You For The Honour
Raquel Welch women were the official sex symbol of the ‘60s, and her natural beauty captured the heart of many, painter Salvador Dali included! Dali offered to paint Welch to record her grace on canvas. As a thank you, he kissed her hand.
Can you see the difference between sex symbols today and back in the ‘60s? Welch was a picture of natural beauty, with zero surgery in sight! With curves and a thankful smile for the painting, this photo is one to remember.
Loving Life at Woodstock
Woodstock is iconic, and back in its heyday, it used to attract thousands of revelers. This photo shows the huge scale of the festival, which traditionally lasted for three full days and nights. Of course, many revelers can’t remember those times, because they were so inebriated!
If Glastonbury is today’s must-go-to festival for music and art, Woodstock was the earlier version. If you managed to get tickets for this event, you were happy for months before and afterward. For sure, you could make plenty of new friends with many people in attendance!
The Ill-Fated Titanic Set Sails
The ship that wasn’t meant to sink set sail from Southampton on its maiden voyage to New York in 1912. Just four days later, the ship hit an iceberg in the middle of the Atlantic and sunk to the depths of the freezing ocean.
Seeing the huge ship in all its glory is a poignant reminder of the tragedy of that freezing Atlantic night. Out of the 2224 people on board the Titanic, a very small number lived to tell the tale. A chilling reminder that nothing is “indestructible.”
A Man Just Like You & Me
When you think of Albert Einstein, you imagine him in a white scientist’s coat, concentrating and deliberating. You don’t imagine him in shorts, sat on a rock in Long Island. Here you see that even the world’s biggest geniuses are, in the end, just human, like you and me.
Undeniably Einstein, with the face and hair, the appearance of shorts and sandaled feet really does make you smile. It just goes to show that even geniuses’ need a day off sometimes, and the ocean is the best place to go!
You Go, Girl!
As the first woman to run the Boston Marathon as a registered entrant, Kathrine Switzer courted controversy from those opposed to her doing so. As you can see in this photo, Switzer battled protesters trying to stop her from achieving her feat even on that very day.
In the end, their efforts were a total waste of time as Switzer not only went on to complete the marathon, but she was entered into the record books in the process. Perhaps more importantly, she opened up the sport for more women to do the same.
A Confusing Switch
Figuring out which side of the road to drive on when you visit a different country is a task, but can you imagine the chaos when a country decides to change its laws? That’s exactly what happened here when Sweden decided to adopt the same driving side as Europe.
On the day of the change, everyone was so confused that a huge traffic jam occurred, with several near-miss crashes to boot. You think they would have organized it a little more carefully, or better still, not made the change at all!
Thought Snow Was Peaceful?
The black eyes and thick lips adorning the faces of these three Princeton students would make you think they’d been in fistfights. They are freshmen and sophomores, after all. However, would you believe these injuries are a result of a snowball fight?
It’s true! That white stuff that kids love to build snowmen out of and throw at each other caused these horrific injuries. Back in 1893, not even snow could stop rival classes from sorting out their beef!
Goodbye to Alcatraz
Alcatraz Prison has long been a feature in the history books. After a violent scuffle, several inmates could stage an escape, despite the fact the prison is on an island off the San Francisco coast. This photo shows the last prisoners leave the prison before it was closed for good in 1963.
If you’ve been over to see the prison in the modern-day, you’ll know how scary it is, but seeing it when it was operational is really sobering. In the day, Alcatraz was high security, which makes it even more startling that there was a successful escape.
The Spirit of Christmas
For ten years, from 1929-39, the Great Depression wreaked havoc on many families’ lives. Despite that, the true spirit of humanity kept things going, and here we see a family of small children enjoying their Christmas meal. It’s not a huge turkey with all the trimmings, but the food was on the table.
In those days, fresh turnips and cabbage was the only thing you could rely on. It’s sad to think back to those days of extreme poverty. These days, we’re so focused on materialism, maybe this photo will serve as a sobering reminder?
A German Christmas
During WWII, fighting seemed to stop for one day here, as entire armies joined together to enjoy a Christmas feast. It seems rather sad to think of all the people suffering while troops enjoy turkey with all the trimmings.
In this photo, Russian children and German soldiers celebrating Christmas together in an encampment in the area of Leningrad, present in Saint Petersburg. Leningrad, December 1941.
The Earliest Prosthetics
Science and technology have given us so many wonderful things and not least the possibility for those who have lost limbs to use prosthetics for mobility. Here we see a young girl standing with her prosthetic legs back in the 1890s.
It’s amazing to see how far prosthetics have developed since that time, giving countless people hope. Here we see that the earliest prosthetics types had to be completely tied to the body to enable the limb to move.
We’re in Awe of The Man
Here we see the calmness and pose of Martin Luther King Jr in its strongest form. Standing with his young son, King removes a “symbol” left by white supremacists on his front lawn. Rather than react with anger, he calmly removes it and shows no reaction.
Few men would react in such a poised way, which is a true measure of the man. Rather than giving them what they wanted, he simply turned his attention to removing it and carrying on the day with his son. Inspirational.
A Measure of How Far We’ve Come
Can you imagine if this happened nowadays? There would be uproar, and rightly so! However, back in the ‘20s, women’s beach attire was strictly policed, and every beach had a warden who would check the length with a tape measure for decency.
Of course, the men aren’t pictured. They were not subject to any tape measure invasion treatment and were simply able to wear their (honestly, quite offensive) speedos and swim to their heart’s content. Fair? No. Progress? Thankfully, yes.
Tanning Hasn’t Come on Much
In the ‘60s, if you wanted a tan and didn’t really want to sit on the beach for hours, you would go to a tanning salon, put a quarter in a machine, and allow it to spray through ten nozzles onto your skin. Hang on? Isn’t that basically what we still do?
While the machine’s size and the fact we can lay down to do it now has changed, the general idea hasn’t. Perhaps this is one thing that hasn’t progressed much, or maybe we just got it right the first time?
Early Reconstructive Surgery
Capturing the early successes of modern medicine is something very special indeed, and here we see the very first skin flap-aided facial reconstruction. The man in question is Walter Yeo, an English sailor who was injured during a battle in 1917.
While results would be far more streamlined these days, it just goes to show how quickly modern medicine was starting to advance, even back in the early 1900s. As the first person to ever receive such surgery, Yeo was able to look forward to the rest of his life, thanks to this amazing procedure.
The Early Stages of the Berlin Wall
During the Cold War era, the world was in disarray. It seems we never learn. During this time, the famous Berlin Wall was built. We often see images of it being knocked down with scenes of joy, but we rarely see pictures of its earliest origins.
This photograph shows the wall in its earliest construction. The eastern side of Germany is working hard to erect the wall, while the western side is standing in defiance and confusion. In November 1989, when the wall came down, the scenes were far easier to watch.
A Child Growing up During The Blitz
1940 saw some of the worst bombings the UK has ever experienced, and the capital city of London was particularly badly hit. Here we see a young girl clutching her favorite toy, surrounded by nothing but rubble and destruction.
Perhaps the most poignant part of this photo is that as sad as she looks, this little girl is brave. She is sitting on the rubble, she is holding her toy, but she is not crying. We can only hope she grew up to live a long and healthy life.
Even Disney Characters Need a Break!
Can you spot your favorite Disney character? This photo was taken in 1961 at Disneyland, as tired but still smiling employees grabbed their daily lunch and coffee cup. Still dressed in their character costumes, it’s strange to see Snow White queueing for mashed potatoes while Goofy waits behind!
We often forget that beneath those Disney costumes are real people who need feeding and watering, just like us! The canteen facilities at today’s super-sleek Disney parks are likely much better than this one.
Scared Off Your Big Mac
Many people are terrified of clowns, and one glance of how the original Ronald McDonald looked is enough to make you drop your McNuggets and run! This was back in 1963, and we can thankfully say that Ronald looks far friendlier these days.
Can you imagine a child’s McDonalds’ birthday party and this version of Ronald walks out? There would be more screams than at a theme park, and many of the children would be having nightmares for weeks! Whether you’re a fan of the current Ronald or not, you have to admit he looks far less sinister.
Where Is The Health & Safety?
One glance at this photo, and you’ll no doubt drop whatever you’re holding at the time. Yes, this is a child precariously balanced off a high rise building in a cage. Before you think this is an elaborate punishment, it’s actually what parents did in the ‘30s to ensure their children were getting enough fresh air and sunshine. Surely a walk in the park would have been safer?
Can you imagine what would happen if you tried to cage your baby off a large building these days? Social services would be knocking on the door in a heartbeat, and rightly so! Thankfully, this is one trend that never took off.
A Tragedy Caught on Camera
Some photos make you stop and stare – this is one of them. Here we see the Hinderburg disaster, which occurred in New Jersey in 1937. The photo shows a passenger airship from Germany bursting into flames as it tried to dock.
The most amazing thing about this event is that 62 people managed to get out of this alive. However, tragically, 36 people perished in the fire. Capturing this moment on film is an uncomfortable feeling, and looking at the photos makes you thankful you were not there at the time.
Without The Hat And Makeup
In 1916, a young Charlie Chaplin was just about to set out into the world of cinema. We’re so used to seeing the bowler hat, chalked out face, and mustache that it’s quite a shock to see a handsome young man staring back at the camera.
Of course, Chaplin became a film legend for his silent movies that have spanned generations. Here we see Chaplin looking completely unrecognizable without the makeup and the hat that he’s so famous for.
A King in Army Uniform
Fans of The King, Elvis Presley, will undoubtedly be aware of his military career before hitting the big time with his songs and iconic performances. Here we see a young Presley in 1958, perhaps when he was dreaming up songs in his head and wondering what would come next.
It’s fun to see photos of huge idols before they hit the big time, and it reminds us that they’re just the same as you and me. The only difference is their immense talent, and perhaps a little luck too.
Lady Liberty When She Was Young
Back in 1885, the Statue of Liberty was being put together to be shipped over to New York. Here we see Lady Liberty’s face as close as we’ve ever seen it – she looks quite angry! However, you can also see the French 1800s here too, which is also very interesting.
The Statue of Liberty was a gift to the USA from the French, designed to commemorate the strong union between the two countries during the American Revolution’s troubles. She was then shipped over the Atlantic to New York, where she stands proud to this day.
Always be Prepared
Londoners were preparing themselves for all-out chemical war as World War II officially broke out. Upon hearing stories of a chemical bomb, citizens wore gas masks and took extreme precautions to protect themselves. Here we see a woman doing just that while pushing a protected stroller.
This type of outfit was commonplace for a few months in the capital until it became clear that chemical bombs weren’t the immediate and pressing problem – regular bombs were doing just enough damage.
A Tribal Mystery
Olive Ann Oatman famously told her story of being held captive by a Native American tribe called the Mohaves. Along with her sister, Oatman was held for almost five years with the tribe before finally escaping. Unfortunately, her sister died of starvation.
It is still a mystery what happened to Oatman during her time with the Mohaves and the origins of the tattoos they branded to her face. Her story has been told many times but still has plenty of gaps yet to be filled in. This is a mystery that still captures attention.
A Prisoner Released
During World War II, Bernard Herzog was a prisoner in the Philippines. In this photo, you can see the man himself talking to some members of the tank crew. He looks pretty malnourished, yet his story after the war is quite exceptional.
Once World War II ended, Herzog was released, and he returned home to Marysville, where he took on work as a taxi driver. He quickly pushed himself back into normal life, almost as if nothing had happened. The human spirit truly is amazing.
Hitler’s Countless Defences
We all know that Hitler was hell-bent on causing destruction, and here we see him assessing a brand new weapon, the Gustav Railway Gun. Quite a sizeable piece of equipment, this machinery wasn’t used too much during the war but was kept for “just in case.”
Initially, the gun was designed to break down the French defenses, but despite its size, it was used extremely little. Perhaps that’s a good thing due to the sheer size of the thing. Who knows how much more death and destruction it could have caused.
Sweden’s Earliest Telephone Connections
In the days before satellite and Internet connections, this is how Sweden’s phone lines were connected to one another. It’s a huge undertaking, and, unsurprisingly, many residents despised the tower because of it unsightly it looked.
However, the tower didn’t last that long as a fire caused its destruction in 1953. Before that, the tower connected over 5000 telephones, which was a huge amount of people communicating with one another. These were the days before cell phones!
Thankful For Its Nine Lives
This is animal testing used to extremes. Back in 1958, a cat was used to test weightlessness in space before attempting it on humans. Cruel? Yes, but thankfully the cat was fine and suffered no adverse effects from its little float in “space.”
If you’re wondering why they chose a cat, perhaps it’s because of the cat’s reputed nine lives, or simply because it was the easiest animal to source for such an experiment. Thankfully we no longer need to use such risky techniques to test things out!
Overcome by Royalty, or The Weather?
If you’ve ever visited London, you’ll no doubt have seen the Beefeater guards outside of Buckingham Palace. Here we see those famous guards standing in line as a procession for Queen Elizabeth’s birthday in 1970. It was a particularly hot and sunny day, and under that uniform, it’s no surprise that one poor guard found it all a little too much.
Let’s hope he was okay in the end, but what bad timing! Just as the Queen herself rode past on horseback, the guard chose that exact moment to faint in heat exhaustion. Nobody seems to be rushing to his aid either!
The First Chimp in Space
It seems that chimps are well ahead of humans on more levels than we know, as this famous chimp made his way into space before most of NASA’s highly trained astronauts! Known as Ham the Chimp, this little guy was launched into space in 1961 and returned home with just a bruise for his efforts.
If you need any further evidence of such animals’ intelligence, this guy is seen here smiling away and enjoying his moment. He doesn’t seem at all fazed by the fact that he was space rocketed beyond the planet and found his way back down again!
We All Have to Start Somewhere
These days, Sarah Silverman is a household name as a fantastic stand-up comedian. Here we see her before those days of fame, waiting her turn for an audition. This audition was for a part in Gypsy, and the picture was taken in the late 1980s. It’s heartening to see that everyone has to start somewhere!
If you’re a budding actor or stand-up comedian, take this photo as inspiration. Silverman was waiting outside audition doors just like you do, and look where she is today! Her weary expression says that she’s probably been outside doors like this quite a few times before too.
Keeping Your Eye on The Target
During WWII and beyond, German soldiers were known for this pinpoint accuracy. Here we still how they trained to be expert marksmen and how they trained their horses to not be scared by the sound of gunfire during battle too.
As machine guns took over, there was far less need for horses to be on the battlefield, but the German army continued to feature horses in their assaults for years afterward. Standing on the horse’s back might seem like an odd tactic, but look how calm the horse has been trained to be.
Fighting For Friendship
As the vicious fighter that he was always known to be, you probably wouldn’t imagine Iron Mike having that many low-key and gentle friendships in his life. However, here we see him with good friend Robert Downey Jr of all people!
One of his best friends and favorite actors, Tyson, met Downey Jr in a café in New York City, a favorite haunt of many big names and budding actors of the time. Friendship obviously blossomed for this oddly-matched twosome, and there were no fights in sight!
You Can Run, But You Can’t Hide
Hitler has one of the most iconic faces in history. With that severe comb-over and famous small mustache, it wouldn’t take much to spot him in a crowd. However, being the most wanted of the time, intelligence agents wanted to know what he would look like if he tried to disguise himself.
New York artist, Eddie Senz, created this mock-up of what Hitler would look like in various guises, and it was submitted to intelligence. In the end, intelligence never caught him because he shot himself in 1945 and escaped the interrogation that would surely have met him.
Float Like a Butterfly Indeed
Whether this photograph is meant to show real training or it’s simply a pose, we’re not sure, but it’s a very impressive one nonetheless! Here we see Muhammad Ali seemingly in a fight pose. The only difference is that he’s actually underwater.
This photograph was taken in 1961, at a hotel in Miami. Perhaps the most famous boxer of all time, Ali was known for his quick and nimble footwork and explosive punching style. With training such as this, it’s no wonder he was so fierce in the ring!
The Early Machu Picchu
Machu Picchu is one of the world’s most amazing sights, and countless travelers have headed there over the years. However, have you stopped to wonder what it looked like before the modern-day? Here we see the famous ruins in 1911, in a photo taken by Hiram Bingham, an intrepid explorer.
An ancient city belonging to the Incas, Machu Picchu is one of the best-preserved ruins set in the world, and the entire place tingles with history. Perhaps the most interesting part of this photograph is that Bingham stumbled upon the ruins entirely by mistake, on his way somewhere else!
Trial by Execution
Here we see the last public execution on record in America. Thankfully such brutal executions are a thing of the past, but Rainey Bethea met his end by hanging in August 1936. A large crowd turned out to see the last execution, as was the practice in those days.
It was Arthur Hash, a policeman from Louisville who was supposed to shoot Bethea, but on the day, he turned up drunk and missed. Of course, the crime committed by Bethea meant that despite the missed shot, the sentence must be carried out.
Mount Rushmore in Planning
Mount Rushmore is one of the most iconic sights in all of America. Designer Gutzon Borglum chose the former presidents carved into the rock because to him, those Presidents represented some of the most important eras in American history.
Here we see the scale model during its original design. The piece was completed in 1941 but was plagued by setbacks, money problems, and the difficulty in carving the design into such a huge mountain. It’s still pretty impressive!
Had The Mother Had Enough?
Who knows what this delightful duo had done to cause their mother to put them up for sale! Maybe they had kept her awake one night too many, but here we see a photo of two babies up for sale in Italy. Or, do we?
Of course, this isn’t a real photograph! Despite the outrage, this turned out to be a comical French postcard depicting these two cherubs free to be sold to the highest bidder. Thankfully, no babies were actually sold, and everyone can relax!
An Assassin in Action
Politician Inejiro Asanuma was quite a controversial figure in Japan. Not only did he have controversial views, but he also sympathized with the Chinese communist regime. It seems his controversy got the better of him when he was attacked by an armed 17 years old live on TV.
This photograph was taken in 1960, and the man in question was Otoya Yamaguchi, who committed suicide after this photograph was taken and upon the death of the politician. The act caused outrage and caused the Japan Socialist Party to temporarily disband.
One Way to Cut Down on Drinking
In 1942, alcohol was prohibited, and of course, that meant a huge amount of liquor barrels and were to be set alight. Can you imagine the size of that fire? Can you also imagine the protests that were sure to surround it?
Of course, the ban on alcohol didn’t last. At the time, it seriously cut down on the alcohol consumption of American people, but it didn’t do much for crime statistics as these rose. Perhaps people were a little annoyed they couldn’t drink when they wanted to?
A Roller-skating Rooster?
If you’re not sure if you’re actually seeing this photograph correctly or not, you are indeed looking at a roller-skating rooster. His name is Buster. This photograph was taken in 1952 when apparently roller-skating was all the rage amongst the rooster community!
The photo was taken by Leigh Weiner, a former photographer for the LA Times, but we don’t know who the little girl was. Did she train the rooster? Was the rooster her friend? So many unanswered questions!
A Painful Reminder
Turning your face away from reminders of slavery just won’t do. This photograph is a painful yet necessary reminder of the horrors endured during the 245 years that slavery across the Atlantic was official and active.
Here we see an enslaved man in cast iron leg restraints, often used to stop slaves trying to escape. The British sailor is removing them, but we don’t know if this is to move the slave to another location or to set him free. Either way, it’s a historical horror that should never have occurred.
Skating on Through The ‘70s
Although roller-skating was invented as far back as the 1930s, it didn’t become super-popular until the ‘70s. Of course, that is when disco music boomed, and everyone was heading on down to the roller disco!
Here we see a young woman happily skating around the neighborhood with young children in tow. Everyone seems to be happy and enjoying their new pastime, and nobody is falling over! Anyone who has ever tried roller-skating will know how hard that is.
Postwar Thanksgiving Week
A captured German V2 rocket on display (top right) in Trafalgar Square, London, during Thanksgiving Week after World War II, 15th September 1945. A poster at the base of Nelson’s column reads: ‘Save for reconstruction.’
However, although it wasn’t a rally, the coming together of so many people in one space did have a glamorizing effect on regular citizens’ sentiment. In that case, this photograph really is quite uplifting.
An Unfortunate School Uniform
During WWII, British citizens were told to wear gas masks for a time out of worry that the Nazis would use chemical weapons and launch a gas attack. The need to wear a mask covered children too, and here we see little ones heading to school in Liverpool.
It’s really quite awful to see the innocence of childhood ruined in this way. Thankfully, the risk of a gas attack didn’t come to fruition, and gas masks didn’t have to be worn afterward.
Such a Waste of Alcohol!
During the prohibition, alcohol was outlawed, but many people would do what they could to get a sneaky drink. During that time, many businesses had illegal gatherings, including this building shown in the photograph. Once caught, they had to get rid of the booze the only way they could.
Walking underneath that window at the exact wrong (or possibly right) moment would have given you a shower you would never forget! Thankfully the ban on alcohol didn’t last too long, and businesses could open up once more.
A Shocking Before & After
The plutonium bomb that was dropped on Nagasaki in 1945 famously wiped out the city. In this photo, we see the sheer scale of just what damage was done. There is literally nothing left. An estimated 74,000 people died as a result of the bomb.
Few people know that this bomb was much more powerful than the Hiroshima bomb, which is more widely reported. From those who died instantly upon impact, countless more suffered in agonizing pain for days afterward before dying as a result.
The USA Bombing of Kobe, Japan
The sheer power of the bombing campaign that the USA raged on the city of Kobe in Japan is shown in stark clarity here. Taking place over two days in March 1945, it is thought that around 900,000 people perished as a result of the bombing.
Much of Kobe’s buildings were also constructed of wood at the time, which meant when the bombs dropped, huge destruction easily occurred. The large population of the city also made Kobe the perfect target for the US military to inflict large-scale damage.
That’s One Seriously Big Bomb
Our examination of historic American bombs continues, and here we see a bomb that was nicknamed ‘The Gadget.’ It is a device that was regularly used for nuclear testing and was the first atomic bomb that had its testing in New Mexico at the Trinity site.
The sheer amount of wires and contraptions that surround the bomb tell you just how intricate it was, and the rather worrying thing is that two men are sitting next to it, looking perfectly relaxed. That bomb could do some serious damage, and they look so calm!
What an Atomic Bomb Looks Like
We’ve all seen films with atomic bombs, but what does one look like in real life when it goes off? Hopefully, we’ll never actually see one again, but here is a photograph from the US testing process between 1946-1958.
The testing was done in the Bikini Atoll, which is within a series of uninhabited islands. You can clearly see the famous mushroom cloud heading up into the sky and the sheer power of the force bending the trees over on the shoreline.
A Moment of Bravery
When the Berlin Wall was built, nobody could pass over it. However, just before the wall was opened, many families fled from the west to the east. It seems this young boy’s family did just that, but the little boy couldn’t keep up.
Thankfully a young soldier came to the boy’s rescue and helped him over the wall. Of course, he took his life into his own hands because he could have been severely reprimanded for doing so. The look of caution in his eyes shows his fear.
Dicing With Death
We now know that bulletproof vests work very well, and police often wear them on duty to protect from gunshot wounds. However, how did we come to know they work? Well, this is how. In 1923, WH Murphy was the one who had to test the vest at the police headquarters in Washington.
Thankfully for him, the vest worked. From there, lighter and more streamlined versions of the vest were made to help protect police workers on duty. You could argue that these two men, the one being shot in particular, saved millions of lives over the years.
A Moment of Space History
These days we’re used to seeing huge rockets carrying satellites into space. The image we see here is a million miles away from the sleek, technological giants that are regularly sent into orbit nowadays. This satellite was nicknamed ‘The Apple.’
The satellite was designed by India and transported manually to the launch site. It might not look like much, but it certainly did the job and perhaps laid down the foundations for the high-tech versions we see now.
The Brady Bunch or The Bin Ladens?
This is not a family photo you would expect to see from a family that spawned an evil terrorist who cast terror and death over the world. However, this is not the Brady Bunch and is, in fact, the Bin Ladens on a family trip to Sweden during the ‘70s.
Bin Laden himself is on the right, the second one in, smiling and wearing a pair of blue flares. It’s hard to fathom and extremely hard to believe that a man responsible for such suffering could be standing there with a happy go lucky smile on his face.
Fighting For Their Life
During the outbreak of the Vietnam War, many tried to flee the country before the worst of the fighting happened. Here we see the very last flight out of Saigon and everyone fighting to get onto it – literally. It’s terrifying to think what might have happened to lose who were left behind.
This photograph is from 1975, and you can clearly see an American man punching a Vietnamese man in the face to make sure that his place was secured and the man didn’t get on the chopper leaving the US Embassy building.
Crash Test Dummies
When the Americans stepped up their atomic bomb testing efforts, they set up a Nevada site to do just that. This was during the 1950s, and to gain as much perspective as possible, they made the landscape look inhabited. Hence the “lifelike” dummies.
The fact the dummies were still standing after the blast is a little on the unrealistic side, but the lack of limbs certainly tells you just how powerful the bombs they were dropping on the area truly were.
Presidents at Cape Canaveral
During the ‘60s, the Americans were really stepping up their space missions, and Cape Canaveral became NASA’s primary hub for rocket launches and space exploration. Here we get a precious glimpse into the observation room, known as the Missile Test Annex.
This photograph is even more special because we can see JFK and his Vice President, Lyndon, who was to become president after JFK’s assassination. Who knows what rocket launch they were watching, but it looks tense!
Jack The Famous MGM Lion
Everyone remembers the lion who would open his mouth wide and roar at the start of every MGM film. Even youngsters these days will know this lion! Well, his name is Jack, and he’s a very handsome beast indeed. How those photographers felt being in the same room as he is another thing completely.
There were several MGM lions over the years, but Jack was the original one and is the only lion to have been given his own individual name. The other lions who came afterward were all given the regular “Leo” name.
I Laugh in The Face of Death
If you train to be a Russian spy, the chances of death are quite high. This isn’t a regular job, and it’s pretty high risk! However, seeing a Russian spy literally laughing as a gun is aimed directly towards his face really brings home the nature of the job.
This photograph was taken in 1939 during the Winter War, which raged between Finland and the then Soviet Union. The photograph was taken in Finland, and we can only assume the spy had been caught in the act.
Fleeing From The Tanks
Protests in China are just not tolerated by the strict communist Government. In 1989, tensions rose between the public and the Government themselves, culminating in a series of protests in Beijing’s famous Tiananmen Square. Tanks were quickly deployed to clear the area.
Seeing such a heavy military presence in an area that is usually full of life is terrifying. The right to protest simply isn’t the done thing in China, and people began to drop their protests and run from tanks, quickly advancing.
Life Before The Taliban
It’s easy to assume that life in Afghanistan has always been bleak for women, but that’s not the case. In the days before the Taliban took hold of the country, women could vote, work, and study. A rise in democracy was putting a smile on people’s faces.
However, as the Taliban took over, women were stripped of their right to work and study and as for voting? No chance. It’s shocking and saddening to see progress rolled back in such away. Life in Afghanistan for women these days is very different from how we see it in this photograph.
Lady Liberty Attacks!
This photograph almost looks like the invasion of a giant being from a Hollywood film! However, there’s no King Kong-style invasion going on. It’s simply the Statue of Liberty being constructed. The statue was so huge that it had to be made in pieces and constructed together carefully.
Of course, the Statue of Liberty was a gift from the French to the Americans as a symbol of their co-operation during the American Revolution. She stands proud today on the shores of New York City, like a welcoming beacon to all.
A Touching Union
We all know that Charlie Chaplin was a star of silent movies, and here we see the man himself in an off-duty moment. The lady in question is none other than Helen Keller herself. Seeing two huge stars together is a touching moment indeed.
Helen Keller was both blind and deaf from the age of 19 months due to a severe illness. She went on to become a disability rights advocate. We all know that Chaplin was a huge star in his own right, and his reputation surpasses him.
No Place For Protests
Young students sought to rise up against the Chinese Government in 1989, tired of years of oppression and worry over what was sure to come next. The Communist Government was not going to stand for such behavior and sent in the tanks to Tiananmen Square.
In this photo, we see students trying to get away from tanks, fleeing for their lives. Many others were not so lucky, and thousands were killed during clashes, along with many others hurt and injured. It seems the right to protest is not a given in China.
Nothing Can be Lost on The Moon
If you happen to lose your keys on the moon, there are no worries as they’ll be there when you return! Astronaut Charles Moss Duke, Jr. leaves a photograph of his family on the moon’s surface during the Apollo 16 lunar landing mission, 23rd April 1972.
The track marks you can see are from the rover that accompanied him on his visit. The fact that they still remain and haven’t been blown away is unbelievable. Perhaps the moon really is a place where you can’t lose anything!
Leaving Her Mark
In 1947, an American bookkeeper called Evelyn McHale jumped to her death from the top floor of the Empire State Building. Of course, she died from the impact, but she didn’t hit the concrete floor. And instead, she hit the top of a parked car.
For anyone who has ever wondered what an impact such as this would look like, we can clearly see here. It might be quite gruesome to witness the last moment of a woman who has leaped to her death, but the sheer impact has dented the car’s metal.
Escobar’s Washington Day Trip
Most people who visit the USA think about going to the White House, and it appears that Pablo Escobar is no different! Here we see the famous drug lord posing with his son outside the White House after a day trip guided tour.
Was he scouting the place out? Or, did he genuinely just want to have a day out with his son, doing a spot of sightseeing at the most famous building in the land? Who knows, but it’s quite strange to see such a famed criminal doing something so normal!
The Making of Lady Liberty
In 1884, The Statue of Liberty was shipped over the Atlantic to New York as a French gift. However, seeing the intricate detail and how she was made and put together is really quite startling to see in real life.
We’re lucky that we were able to capture such a moment and look back on it centuries later. Of course, Lady Liberty now stands on the coastline of New York City, beaming light to all visitors. Not that many people know that she was actually made in France!
Keeping Mona Lisa Safe
During WWII, there was a huge amount of destruction, and at the time, some of the world’s most precious artifacts were put into hiding to avoid damage. The Louvre was so worried about Mona Lisa becoming irrevocably damaged that they hid her in the countryside, just in case.
Despite the action to keep her safe, Mona Lisa herself still doesn’t look too impressed, does she? You’d think she’d crack more than a half-smile at the effort they put in!
Awaiting The Moment of Death
The haunting look of a man about to stare death in the face is clear here. Lewis Payne was a soldier from the American Confederate who was part of the plot to assassinate Abraham Lincoln. Lincoln himself was shot, but Payne broke into the Secretary of State’s house that night, sealing his fate as a conspirator.
Here we see Payne waiting for his execution. He was put to death at the gallows on 7 July 1865. Three other conspirators also faced the same fate and died on the same day. Does he look remorseful? It’s hard to tell from such a haunting photograph.
And They Said The Titanic Was Indestructible
The night the Titanic sunk, thousands perished in the icy waters of the Atlantic. The ship was supposed to be indestructible, but when it hit an iceberg in 1912, it sank to the ocean’s depths. Very few people survived the tragic event.
Here we can see the moment some of the survivors were found by the rescuing Carpathia. In the end, only a few lifeboats were seen drifting in the freezing waters. These survivors were quickly taken back to dry land.
The Mystery of Anastasia
The Disney film, Anastasia, is actually based on a real story. In this photo, we see the real Anastasia and her father, Tsar Nicholas II. In the photo, the two can be seen playing around but shortly afterward, Anastasia vanishes.
Her father was executed in 1917 as part of the revolution and the rest of her father. However, Anastasia was never found, and nobody could figure out her whereabouts. Many people believe she managed to flee the oncoming violence somehow.
If The Desert Doesn’t Get You, The Bomb Will
The Nevada Desert is a pretty unforgiving place, but during the ‘50s, the Americans used a deep desert site as a testing site for atomic bombs. Robert Oppenheimer and General Leslie Groves (center) examine the twisted wreckage that is all that remains of a hundred-foot tower, winch, and shack that held the first nuclear weapon.
On the far right is Victor Weisskopf, of the Manhattan Project’s Theoretical Division. Location: Alamogordo, New Mexico, USA.
Touring Nasa’s Space Facilities
Space travel has long been a fascinating subject and continues to be the case. Here we see the famous President JFK and his Vice President taking a tour of Cape Canaveral’s Missile Text Annex facilities. Both men seem to be in deep conversation. What do you think they’re talking about?
We can clearly see the shell of a missile behind the men and their officials. Perhaps they’re talking about the next space mission, or maybe they’re discussing something completely mundane, like what to have for dinner?
Fighting For a Place
When the last helicopter left Saigon, Vietnam, and headed back to the USA, countless Americans tried to get on it, along with many Vietnamese. Of course, there isn’t space for everyone, and there were scuffles in an attempt to force their way on.
Many people were punched, kicked, and pushed to the ground as they tried their best to escape the country, but in the end, only a few managed to get out on time. This is a reminder that war only ever ends one way – in bloodshed.
Royalty Doing Its Bit
During the Second World War, everyone was asked to stand up and do what they could to help the nationwide effort. It seems that royalty didn’t want to miss out as here we see a young Princess Elizabeth, later to become Queen Elizabeth, posing in the Women’s Auxiliary Service.
Princess Elizabeth was a mechanic and driver of vehicles for the army, and here the future Queen is pictured looking proud in her army uniform. It comes as a surprise to many that a future queen would serve, but we’re proud that she did.
Why Did The Beatles Cross The Road?
It seems they crossed the road to get to the other side several times over as this photograph had to be taken many times to get it right! Of course, this is the iconic Abbey Road album cover, which seems the famous four pictured in 1969.
One of the most famous and iconic images of its time, who still own this album? It would probably be worth quite a lot of money these days, such as the prevailing popularity of this fantastic band.