1. A German soldier poses next to a captured French-made Polish 75 mm field gun (French: Canon de 75 modèle 1897, Polish: 75 mm armata przeciwlotnicza mle 1897) mounted atop of a railroad car at the Kartuzy railroad station, used as an anti-aircraft gun during the German invasion of Poland. Prior to World War I, Kartuzy was known as Karthaus and belonged to Germany, part of the province of West Prussia. Following Germany’s defeat, when the regulations of the Treaty of Versailles became effective in 1920, Karthaus was integrated into the Second Polish Republic and officially renamed Kartuzy. After the German invasion and occupation of Poland in 1939, Germany retook the city and it became German once more, incorporated into the German province of Reichsgau Danzig-West Prussia. At the end of the war in 1945, the city was again returned to Poland. Kartuzy, Pomeranian Voivodeship, Poland. September 1939. 

  2. A Chinese soldier tends to a wounded comrade waiting to be transported to a medical dressing station behind the front lines during the Burma Campaign. Combined Allied forces, with soldiers from: China, British Burma (Myanmar), India, U.K., U.S.A., Gold Coast (Ghana), Gambia, Kenya, Nigeria, Northern Rhodesia (Zambia), Nyasaland (Malawi), Southern Rhodesia (Zimbabwe), Uganda, Belgian Congo (Democratic Republic of the Congo), Nepal and Canada would eventually drive the Japanese and Thai partners from the country in July 1945. Hukawng Valley, Myitkyina District, Kachin State, Burma (Myanmar). April 1944.

  3. German Wehrmacht soldiers rest in the sweltering summer heat during a lull in the Battle of Belgorod. The sign states “The shortest way home is as a Russian war captive.” The Germans failed to win the battle and Belgorod was retaken by the Soviets on 6 August 1943. Belgorod Oblast, Russia, Soviet Union. July 1943. Image take by Franz Grasser.

  4. English schoolboys from London wait at Paddington Station to be evacuated to the countryside during the Blitz as German bombing of the city intensifies. The evacuation of civilians in Britainwas designed to save the lives, particularly children, from the risks associated with aerial bombings of cities targeted by the Luftwaffe by moving them to areas thought to be less at risk. Operation Pied Piper, which began on 1 September 1939, officially relocated more than 3.5 million people. Further waves of official evacuation and re-evacuation occurred on the south and east coasts in June 1940, when a German seaborne invasion was expected, and from affected cities after the Blitz began in September 1940. There were also official evacuations from the U.K. to other parts of the British Empire, with children being sent as far away as Canada, Australia, New Zealand and South Africa. London, England, U.K. 7 September 1940. Image taken by George Rodger.

  5. French villagers welcome French Naval Commandos who arrived in Normandy during the D-Day landings. The Naval Commandos were formed by Free French troops in exile in the U.K. and were modeled after the British Commandos, who were founded in 1940. They were formed from Free French Navy Fusiliers-Marins (naval infantry) and trained at the Commando Basic Training Centre Achnacarry, Scotland. Near Amfreville, Calvados, Lower Normandy, France. 17 June 1944.

  6. Soviet soldiers of the 309th Infantry Division engage in street battle with  German troops during the Siege of Breslau. The siege was a three month long battle for of the city of Breslau in Lower Silesia, Germany lasting until the end of the war in Europe. From 13 February 1945 to 6 May 1945, German troops in Breslau were besieged by the Soviet forces which encircled the city as part of the Lower Silesian Offensive Operation. The German garrison’s surrender on 6 May was followed by the surrender of all German forces two days after the battle had ended. Breslau, Lower Silesia, Germany (now, Wrocław, Lower Silesian Voivodeship, Poland). 17 March 1945. Image take by Alexander Ustinov.  

  7. A German soldier is taken as a POW at dawn after surrendering to the British during the Battle of Walcheren Causeway (Operation Vitality). By 31 October 1944, all lands surrounding the Scheldt estuary had been cleared of German control, save for Walcheren island, whose coastal batteries commanded the approaches to the waterway. British assault troops landed on Walcheren island at dawn on 1 November 1944 and most of the Dutch city of Vlissingen was included in the first bridgehead. The landings were supported by fire from British warships. The object of the assault is to silence the enemy guns menacing the Scheldt passage to the port of Antwerp. Near Vlissingen, Walcheren island, Zeeland, Netherlands. 1 November 1944.     

  8. Serbian boys of the partisan, communist Union of Pioneers of Yugoslavia, Young Pioneer detachment Rakitovec from Železnik, Serbia arrive at a youth conference in Cerkno, Slovenia. Within three months the war would be over and on 11 November 1945 elections were held with only the Communist-led National Front appearing on the ballot, securing all 354 seats. On 29 November 1945, while still in exile, King Peter II was deposed by Yugoslavia’s Constituent Assembly, and the Federal People’s Republic of Yugoslavia was declared. Cerkno, Municipality of Cerkno, Slovene Littoral, Slovenia, Yugoslavia. February 1945.  

  9. U.S. Army Pfc. Fred Linden of Detroit, Michigan, 38th Infantry Regiment, 2nd Infantry Division, holds a young French boy following the liberation of the village of Trévières during the Battle of Normandy. Trévières, Calvados, Lower Normandy, France. 10 June 1944. Image taken by Rodger Hamilton.

  10. A Dutch Army officer (far right) oversees Dutch soldiers fitting a tree with explosive charges in order to clear the firing line of a fort on the Stelling van Amsterdam (Defense Line of Amsterdam); a 135 km (83 miles) long ring of fortifications around the city of Amsterdam. With war already declared between the British, French and Germans, the Dutch began mobilizing their forces on 28 August 1939. Despite its policy of neutrality, the Netherlands was invaded on the morning of 10 May 1940, without a formal declaration of war, by German forces moving simultaneously into Belgium and Luxembourg. After five days of intense fighting, the Dutch officially surrendered to Germany on 15 May 1940. Near Amsterdam, Netherlands. Autumn 1939.

  11. Polish civilians in the outskirts of Warsaw flee from burning buildings following a German Luftwaffe aerial strike during the German invasion of Poland. Warsaw, Masovian Voivodeship, Poland. September 1939. 

  12. Canadian Sgt. T. S. Giles of the 4th Company of the Canadian Military Police (left) gives directions to Québécois Sgt. Philippe Castailloux of Canada’s Le Regiment de la Chaudière, seated on a Norton WD16H motorcycle, following the liberation of the village of Rots from German occupation during the Battle of Normandy. Rots, Calvados, Lower Normandy, France. 15 June 1944.

  13. German Wehrmacht soldiers pose next to an abandoned Soviet SU-152 self-propelled heavy howitzer in a heavy snowstorm during the German breakout at Battle of the Korsun-Cherkassy Pocket where Soviet troops had trapped German forces of Army Group South (Heeresgruppe Süd) in a pocket near the Dnieper river. During weeks of fighting, two Soviet Army Fronts tried to eradicate the pocket. However, the encircled German units successfully broke out in coordination with a relief attempt by other German forces and were able to evacuate with minimal losses. Near Cherkasy, Cherkasy Oblast, Ukraine, Soviet Union. January 1944.

  14. German and Italian soldiers surrender to Allied forces during the Tunisia Campaign, part of he larger North African Campaign. The Tunisia Campaign was a series of battles that took place from 17 November 1942 to 13 May 1943 between the Allies, which consisted of: British, New Zealand, Indian, Free French, American, Polish and Greek forces against the Axis Italian and Germans. The battles opened with initial success by the Axis forces, but the massive supply and numerical superiority of the Allies led to the Axis’s complete defeat. Over 230,000 German and Italian troops were taken as prisoners of war, including most of Germany’s Afrika Korps. Near Sened, Gafsa Governorate, Tunisia. 27 February 1943. Image taken by Eliot Elisofon.  

  15. Italian civilian families in an area close to the Cassino Front are photographed outside of the cave in which they now live after their homes had been demolished during the Italian Campaign. Near Cassino, Province of Frosinone, Lazio, Italy. 15 March 1944. Image taken by George Frederick Kaye.