WWII in 5 photos

Inspired by the Iwo Jima/Reichstag flag thread.

So, I’m asking you to to sum up the bloodiest, most destructive conflict in human history in 5 photos. Yes, I forgot Maru from my username. Would either the Iwo Jima or Reichstag flag pics be in your top 5? The rules; has to be a single image, no composites or collages allowed. No accompanying text in the image (no newspaper headlines or the like). Has to be an photo taken at the time, that is 1 September 1939 – 2 September 1945.

Here’s mine;
Number 1, The evacuation of Dunkirk, Germany ascendant, France teetering on total disaster, Britain exiled from the continent.
Number 2, Soviet conscripts in Stalingrad, Germany checked, the furnace of the Eastern Front. The beginning of the end.
Number 3, Midway. Japan’s goose is cooked.
Number 4, German PoWs in Moscow taken after Operation Bagration, 1944. Germany’s goose is cooked.
Number 5, Friends, for now. American and Soviet soldiers shake hands on the Elbe.

You have to replace one of them with this.

Number 1 Pearl Harbor, any one of these photos
Number 2 Hitler in Paris
Number 3. You need one of these, unfortunately.
Number 4 it could be any of many from this day.
Number 5 Japan surrenders

Nanking Massacre (warning, frightening image)
Bataan death march
Battle of StalingradDeath camp survivors

You about summed up my choices.

Maybe I’d add the Yalta Conference.

Five images is pretty short.

But you definitely need this one as the coda:

Times Square!

Mauthausen concentration camp
The London Blitz
Pearl Harbor

Why these I would have a hard time explaining; maybe I think more of the human cost than the great event side of things. But for what its worth here are my picks.
At war with Japan before Dec 7th

The Hitler dance

The cost of fighting for the Japanese soldiers

One of our boys

Goebbels children

Gotta have a picture of The Bomb.

I think this is a key image in telling the story of the war. It shows that the leaders of Britain, America, and the Soviet Union were able to meet and work together despite their differences towards the goal of defeating the Axis. Germany, Japan, and Italy, on the other hand, were all essentially fighting their own wars.

That’s not Stalingrad. That picture was taken in Berlin in 1945. It’s the Reichstag picture the OP referred to.

I think this one says a lot. It’s part of the invasion fleet at Normandy. It shows the transport ships lining up to unload men and equipment into Europe.

The rise of HilterPrewar but the main reason it started.
Pearl HarborAnd why the US got involved
Concentration campOne of the major tragedies
ReichstagThe end for Germany
HiroshimaThe end for Japan

It’s literally too big an event for five photos to sum up without minimizing some aspect of the most gigantic chain of events in human history. What would you leave out? So many things that were vital to the war effort and the daily experience of hundreds of thousands or millions of people are not even mentioned in any of the posts in this thread. Things that explain how the war turned out the way it did. Hell, there were more than five major belligerents.

German reliance on horse-drawn transport.
Partisan warfare.
Merchant marine vs submarines.
War production, logistics, supply.
North Africa.
Homefront morale and suffering.
Strategic bombing.
Secret weapons (Hiroshima cloud could stand in for that, I guess).
Massed tank attack.
The tragic heroism of minor powers.
Refugees (including hidden and smuggled-to-safety Jews).
Japan’s astonishing but fragile expansion.
China-Burma-India theater(s).
Paratroops/glider assault.
War rationing.
New roles for women and minorities.

I guess if I had to pick photos, I’d look for those that emphasize the vastness of the war. Huge empty spaces of the Pacific, dotted with puffy clouds. A tiny column of dust crawling across the steppe, German soldiers exultant but exhausted, their enemies out of reach, each day getting ominously cooler. A vast supply fleet, stretching for miles across some previously-insignificant atoll. A column of refugees stumbling past the camera, all the way to the horizon.

I can’t find a bigger image, but for the sheer scale of D-Day this one is hard to beat:


It’s hard to be sure from that image, but I believe that’s a painting not a photograph.