1. U.S. Marines rest aboard a ship in the Marshall Islands following their victory at the Battle of Eniwetok, where they took Enewetak Atoll from the Imperial Japanese in under a week. Near Enewetak Atoll, Marshall Islands. February 1944. Image taken by Ray C. Platnick.

  2. Spanish volunteers of the Blue Division (Spanish: División Azul, German: Blaue Division) celebrate their departure to Bavaria for training before heading to the Eastern Front. Although Spain officially remained neutral during the war, approximately 47,000 Spaniards would volunteer to fight for Germany. They were awarded both Spanish and German military awards, and were the only division to be awarded a medal of their own (the Spanish Volunteer Medal), commissioned by Adolf Hitler. Followng pressure by the Allies and conservative Spaniards (including many officials of the Roman Catholic Church) and the large amount of Blue Division casualties on the Eastern Front, Spanish dictator  Generalísimo Francisco Franco gave an order of withdrawal of the Blue Division on 10 October 1943 and the Spanish Government ordered all troops to return to Spain on 3 November 1943. However, close to 3,000 Spaniards ignored the order and new recruits even slipped across the border to German-occupied France. Many of these soldiers would join other German Wehrmacht and Waffen-SS units. Madrid, Spain. June 1941.

  3. Lithuanian soldiers triumphantly parade though Vilnius, as citizens throw flowers and display the Lithuanian flag. Following World War I, Vilnius (Polish: Wilno) was ceded to Lithuania. Both Poland and Lithuania perceived the city as their own. The League of Nations became involved in the subsequent dispute between the two countries. On 9 October 1920, the Polish Army surreptitiously seized Vilnius during an operation known as Żeligowski’s Mutiny, with Poland making the city the capital of Wilno Voivodeship. Lithuania vigorously contested the Polish annexation of Vilnius and refused diplomatic relations with Poland and moved the Lithuanian capital to Kaunas. When the Germans and Soviets invaded and partitioned Poland in September 1939, the Soviets returned Vilnius to Lithuania. This was strategic move on the part of the Soviets. As Lithuania jubilantly celebrated the return of Vilnius, the Soviets had already secretly determined the fate of the whole of Lithuania in August of 1939 during the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact between the U.S.S.R. and Germany. The following year, Lithuania would be invaded, occupied and annexed by the Soviet Union and Vilnius would become the capital of the Lithuanian Soviet Socialist Republic. Lithuania would only regain its pre-war independence in 1991, over fifty years following outbreak of the war. Vilnius, Vilnius County, Lithuania. 29 October 1939.

  4. Brazilian soldiers of the Brazilian Coast Artillery stand at attention at Fort Copacabana. Brazil joined the Allies and declared war on the Axis on 22 August 1942 and was the only independent South American country to send ground troops to fight in the Second World War. Fort Copacabana, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. 16 September 1943.

  5. A Soviet Army artillery captain talks with a U.S. Army Signal Corps cameraman in the ruins of Allied occupied Dresden, following the German defeat. Dresden was heavily bombed by Allied aircraft  during the war; the city was nearly leveled and between 22,700 and 25,000 residents were killed. Dresden, Saxony, Germany. May 1945.

  6. Two American soldiers of the U.S. 3rd Armored Division lay dead next to a haystack, killed during the Battle of Normandy (Operation Overlord). Rânes, Orne, Lower Normandy, France. August 1944.

  7. Residents of besieged Leningrad collect water from the frozen Neva river during the Siege of Leningrad. The siege began on 8 September 1941, when the last road to the city was severed. Although the Soviets managed to open a narrow land corridor to the city on 18 January 1943, the siege and blockade was finally lifted on 27 January 1944, 872 days after it began. The Siege of Leningrad caused unparalleled famine in the city and surrounding region  through disruption of utilities, water, energy and food supplies. This resulted in the deaths of over 600,000 civilians and the evacuation of 1,400,000 more, mainly women and children; many of whom died during evacuation due to starvation and bombardment. Leningrad (now, Saint Petersburg), Russia, Soviet Union. December 1941. Image taken by Nikolai Ivanovich Khandogin.

  8. Prominent women supporters of Germany mingle at the International Women’s Meeting (Internationales Frauentreffen). The event was attended by representatives from thirteen nations; some Axis allies, others from occupied nations, and others from nations who were not directly involved in the war. Pictured are (left to right): Olga Bjoner, chairwoman of Norway’s National Union (Nasjonal Samling) fascist party, Gertrud Scholtz-Klink of Germany’s National Socialist Women’s League (NS-Frauenschaft), Toyoko Oshima, wife of Imperial Japan’s Ambassador to Germany, Pilar Primo de Rivera, 1st Countess of the Castle of La Mota of Spain’s fascist Women’s Section (Sección Femenina) of the Falange, and Marchesa Olga Medici del Vascello of the Italian Fascist Woman’s Organization (Fasci Femminili). Berlin, Germany. October 1941

  9. Polish inmates at Dachau concentration camp celebrate their liberation by elements of the U.S. Army’s 42nd and 45th Infantry Divisions, XV Corps, of the Seventh United States Army. Dachau was the first concentration camp opened by the Germans, opening in 1933, shortly after Adolf Hitler became Reich Chancellor and served as a prototype and model for the other Nazi concentration camps that followed. Over the 12 years of use as a concentration camp, the Dachau administration recorded the intake of 206,206 prisoners and deaths of 31,951. Crematoria were constructed to dispose of the deceased next to, but not directly accessible from within the camp, in 1942. From the start of the war against Poland, Germany intended to realize the plan laid-out by the Hitler in his 1925 book “Mein Kampf”. The aim of the plan was territorial expansion in Eastern Europe and to repopulate the area with ethnic Germans: so-called Lebensraum (living space). The object of war was to fulfill this territorial policy within the framework of Nazi racial ideology. On 22 August 1939, just before the invasion of Poland, Hitler gave explicit permission to his commanders to kill “without pity or mercy, all men, women, and children of Polish descent or language.” Aproximately 2.77 million ethnic Poles (not including Polish Jews) would be killed from the outbreak of the war in 1939 and the end of the war in 1945, many of whom would die in concentration camps like Dachau. Dachau concentration camp, near Dachau, Bavaria, Germany. 29 April 1945. Image taken by U.S. Army Technician Fourth Grade (T/4) Arland Musser. 

  10. Soviet soldiers march past two destroyed German 15 cm sIG 33 (schweres Infanterie Geschütz 33) infantry guns in the captured city of Königsberg following Battle of Königsberg of the East Prussian Offensive during the Soviet advance westward. Approximately 120,000 German civilian survivors remained in the ruins of the devastated city following the battle. The vast majority of the German civilians left Königsberg shortly afterwards. The area of East Prussia was annexed by the U.S.S.R. in 1946, with the region becoming the Kaliningrad Oblast exclave and the city renamed Kaliningrad. The remaining 20,000 German residents were expelled by the Soviets in 1949-50. Königsberg, Province of East Prussia, Germany (now, Kaliningrad, Kaliningrad Oblast, Russia). 13 April 1945.

  11. A German soldier hands a piece of bread to a Russian toddler refugee in the marshy forests of Myasnoy Bor. In December 1941 the Soviet 2nd Shock Army tried to break the blockade of Leningrad (St. Petersburg) in the Lyuban Offensive Operation, but was caught in a German encirclement called the Volkhov Pocket. Permission to retreat was refused. Thousands of Soviet soldiers would die of exposure and starvation and many still lay unburied to this day, due to the inaccessible and inhospitable terrain. A counter-offensive was launched in May 1942 and the Soviet 2nd Shock Army was finally permitted to retreat, but by now, too weakened, it was annihilated by German forces. Near Myasnoy Bor, Novgorod Oblast, Russia, Soviet Union. April 1942.

  12. Two young Jewish girls suffering from typhus recover in their new cot in No. 3 Camp after being liberated from Bergen-Belsen concentration camp. They have been bathed, deloused and given clean clothing and bedding and transferred to the Hohne military barracks. When British and Canadian troops entered the camp, they found over 13,000 unburied bodies and (including the satellite camps) around 60,000 inmates, most acutely sick and starving. In the period immediately preceding and following liberation, prisoners were dying at a rate of around 500 per day mostly from typhus and starvation. Bergen-Belsen concentration camp, near Celle, Lower Saxony, Germany. 20 April 1945.

  13. A liberated Allied POW, too emaciated to walk, is carried aboard a small craft for transportation to a U.S. Navy hospital ship. He had been rescued from the Japanese Omori POW camp in Shinagawa, Tokyo, following Emperor Hirohito’s announcement of the surrender of the Empire of Japan to the Allies on 15 August 1945 (Japan would formally surrender on 2 September) and the beginning of the American occupation of Japan on 28 August. Tokyo Bay, near Yokosuka, Kanagawa Prefecture, Kantō region, Japan. 30 August 1945.

  14. British Army Sgt. R. S. Baker of the Army Film & Photographic Unit (AFPU) and a soldier of the British Royal Army Service Corps (RASC) receive bread sprinkled with salt from a young Soviet soldier as a sign of friendship amidst the ruins of Hitler’s Reich Chancellery after the defeat of German forces at the Battle Berlin and the surrender of the Axis forces in Europe. Berlin, Germany. May 1945. Image taken by British Army Sgt. Hewitt, No. 5 Army Film & Photographic Unit.

    (Source: iwm.org.uk)

  15. Two Indian Air Force pilots (Flight Lt. Lal and Flying Officer M. M. Sakhre) pose with their U.S. built Vultee A-31 Vengeance dive bombers at an air base from where they attacked the Japanese in Burma (Myanmar) during the Burma Campaign. The IAF played an instrumental role in blocking the advance of the Japanese Army in Burma. It also carried out strike missions against Japanese airbases in the north of Thailand. Some pilots of the IAF pilots also participated in air operations in Europe as part of the Royal Air Force. Assam, India. December 1943.