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History: World War II

World War II (1939 - 1945)

Members of the 77th Infantry Division erected a memorial to Ernie Pyle in Okinawa, on the spot where he was killed by machine gun fire in April 1945. Pyle, a Pulitzer Prize-winning war correspondent, was with the 77th when he was killed.

The Battle of Verdun was one of the most devastating battles in human history and the longest of the Great War. It was also the first time in the world that the flamethrower would be used by German troops against their enemies. It is a result of battles like those at Verdun and Somme that Germany’s military leaders will create the strategy known as the Blitzkreig in World War II.

Sullivan Brothers Mother. The Sullivan Brothers were five siblings who were all killed in action during or shortly after the sinking of the light cruiser USS Juneau (CL-52), the vessel on which they all served, around November 13, 1942, in World War II.

John Basilone ( 1916-1945) was a United States Marine Gunnery Sergeant who received the Medal of Honor for his actions at the Battle of Guadalcanal during World War II. He was the only enlisted Marine in World War II to receive the Medal of Honor and the Navy Cross. He died at the Battle of Iwo Jima.

With a canvas tarpaulin for a church and packing cases for an altar, a Navy chaplain holds mass for Marines at Saipan. The service was held in memory of [those] who lost their lives in the initial landings, June 1944.

This is General ‘Black Jack’ Pershing. As the supreme general of the American Expeditionary Forces during the Great War, he commanded a force of two million men strong. A West Point instructor, Pershing is considered to have been the mentor of some of America’s greatest generals—Patton, Bradley, Eisenhower, and Marshall. During his service he held the highest position in the US Armed forces—General of the Armies—in the history of the United States, surpassing even George Washington.

This is John Sharp of Leicester and he is one of the few POWs of the Second World War to survive such extreme treatment under the Japanese. Sharp was captured while attempting to escape when being used as slave labor on the Burma-Siam railway. His punishment for being caught was being tortured for three years and two weeks in a Singapore gaol, where he spent twelve months in solitary confinement with little to no food.

This is John Sharp of Leicester and he is one of the few POWs of the Second World War to survive such extreme treatment under the Japanese. Sharp was captured while attempting to escape when being used as slave labor on the Burma-Siam railway. His punishment for being caught was being tortured for three years and two weeks in a Singapore gaol, where he spent twelve months in solitary confinement with little to no food.

This is John Sharp of Leicester and he is one of the few POWs of the Second World War to survive such extreme treatment under the Japanese. Sharp was captured while attempting to escape when being used as slave labor on the Burma-Siam railway. His punishment for being caught was being tortured for three years and two weeks in a Singapore gaol, where he spent twelve months in solitary confinement with little to no food.

Bodies of Soviet civilians slaughtered by the Germans in the village of Bagerovo near the coastal city of Kerch in the Crimea, winter 1942.

In July 1944, some 50,000 German prisoners were paraded through Moscow. Even marching quickly and twenty abreast, they took 90 minutes to pass. In a symbolic gesture the streets were washed down afterward.

A lone British soldier stands up to his knees in spent shell cases. France, WWI.

Meskwaki Code Talkers. Meskwaki men used their language against the Germans in North Africa. Twenty-seven Meskwaki, then 16% of Iowa's Meskwaki population, enlisted in the U.S. Army together in January 1941

7 Dec 41- Telegram stating attack on Pearl Harbor

A recently found photo showing the true extent of the bombing of Dresden during WWII.

Icy blasts can blow atop Mount Washington, up in the cold above the Timberline, but Nurse Lt. Beulah Greenwalt, of Rolla, Missouri is as snug as the proverbial bug in a rug, as she tests the sleeping bag of the Army's latest wet-cold-windy climate outfits. Lieutenant Greenwalt who was a prisoner of the Japs for 33 months after capture at Corregidor was one of fourteen army Nurses testing the outfits for foreign service.

A dangerous woman in the most literal sense, Senior Sergeant Roza Shanina was a sniper in the WWII Soviet Army. She racked up at least 54 kills of German soldiers before her death from wounds at age 20. She served part of the time in an all-woman sniper unit. Before the war she worked as a kindergarten teacher.

USS PENNSYLVANIA and battleship of COLORADO class followed by three cruisers move in line into Lingayen Gulf preceding the landing on Luzon." Philippines, January 1945

This anonymous Marine was killed after engaging in a duel with a Japanese soldier (the body in the background) during the battle of Engebi Island on Eniwetok Atoll in the Pacific. A moment after finishing off his enemy in hand to hand combat, a sniper’s bullet killed the victorious Marine. As he fell, his hold on his knife never faltered leaving the illusion that even in death he’s ready for a fight.

Message drafted by Gen. Dwight D. Eisenhower to encourage Allied soldiers taking part in the D-day invasion. June 6, 1944.

Stjepan Filipović was a Croatian Partisan who was executed during World War II. He was captured on 24 February 1942 by Axis forces and subsequently hanged in Valjevo, occupied Yugoslavia, on 22 May 1942. As the rope was put around his neck, Filipović defiantly thrust his hands out and denounced the Germans and their Axis allies as murderers, shouting "Death to fascism, freedom to the people!".

A clock in Hiroshima, destroyed during the atomic bombing of the city on August 6, 1945. Its time marks the moment when the bomb exploded: 8:15 AM.

The Prime Minister Winston Churchill purchases a British Red Cross 'Aid to Russia' flag from his wife Clementine, on 9 December 1941.