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.
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.
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.
Merchant marine vs submarines.
War production, logistics, supply.
Homefront morale and suffering.
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.
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.