1. Prison identification photograph of U.S. Army POW Staff Sgt. Joseph R. Beyrle taken in Stalag XII-A. Beyrle is thought to be the only American soldier to have served with both the U.S. Army and Soviet Army during the war. On 6 June 1944, D-Day, the Douglas C-47 Skytrain transport aircraft Beyrle was in came under enemy fire over the Normandy coast, and he was forced to jump from the exceedingly low altitude of 120 meters. After landing in Saint-Côme-du-Mont, he lost contact with his fellow paratroopers, but succeeded in blowing up a power station before being apprehended by the Germans a few days later. Over the next seven months, Beyrle was held in seven different German POW camps. He escaped twice, only to be recaptured each time. Beyrle was taken to the Stalag III-C POW camp in Alt Drewitz bei Küstrin in Neumark, state of Brandenburg (now Drzewice, Lubusz Voivodeship, Poland), about 50 mi (80 km) east of Berlin where he escaped in early January 1945. Knowing the Soviets were advancing much quicker from the east than the Americans, British and others were from the west, Beyrle headed eastward. Encountering the Soviet 1st Guards Tank Army in the middle of January, he raised his hands, holding a pack of Lucky Strike cigarettes, and shouted in Russian, “Amerikansky tovarishch!" ("American comrade!"). Beyrle was eventually able to persuade the battalion’s commander, who, incidentally, was the legendary Alexandra Samusenko, possibly the only Soviet female tank officer with the rank of Guards Captain, to allow him to fight alongside the unit on its way to Berlin. Thus, Beyrle began his month-long stint in a Soviet tank battalion, where his demolitions expertise was appreciated. Beyrle’s new battalion was the one that freed one of his former camps, Stalag III-C, at the end of January. But, in the first week of February, he was wounded during an attack by German Luftwaffe Stuka (Junkers Ju 87) dive bombers. He was evacuated to a Soviet hospital in Landsberg an der Warthe (now Gorzów Wielkopolski, in Poland), where he received a visit from Soviet Marshal Georgy Zhukov, who, intrigued by the only non-Soviet in the hospital, learned his story through an interpreter, and provided Beyrle with official papers in order to rejoin the American forces. Joining a Soviet military convoy, Beyrle arrived at the U.S. embassy in Moscow in February 1945, only to learn that he had been reported by the U.S. War Department as killed in action on 10 June 1944 on French soil. A funeral mass had been held in his honor in his hometown of Muskegon, Michigan and his obituary was published in the local newspaper. Sgt. Beyrle returned home to Michigan on 21 April 1945. He would marry in 1946, coincidentally, in the same church and by the same priest who held his funeral mass two years earlier. Beyrle died in 2004 at the age of 81. His son John Beyrle would serve as the United States Ambassador to Russia from 2008 to 2012. Stalag XII-A, Limburg an der Lahn, Hesse, Germany. July 1944.

  2. Portrait of a communist Yugoslav Resistance fighter of the National Liberation Army and Partisan Detachments of Yugoslavia at an Allied base in Italy being trained by the British Royal Air Force. He carries a belt of 20 mm caliber cannon shells over his shoulders. Allied American and British forces trained numerous male and female partisans from Yugoslavia in Allied-held parts of Italy, Malta, and islands in the Adriatic Sea in preparation for the final assault on German occupying forces in Yugoslavia. Carovigno, Province of Brindisi, Apulia, Italy. Summer 1944.

  3. Belgian children greet a Canadian Army soldier of the 12th Manitoba Dragoons armored regiment atop his General Motors Staghound T17E armored car. Blankenberge, West Flanders, Belgium. 11 September 1944.

  4. German Wehrmacht soldiers of 130th Panzer Lehr Division study a map of the region surrounding village of Tilly-sur-Seulles during the Battle of Normandy shortly following the Allied landings in France. By the end of June 1944 the division’s armored component was severely depleted. Despite this, it continued to hold against the British and Commonwealth forces, engaging in heavy fighting near the town. Tilly-sur-Seulles, Calvados, Lower Normandy, France. 9 June 1944. 

  5. An American soldier, in uniform and wearing a tallit, a Jewish prayer shawl, attends the first Rosh Hashanah held in a Berlin synagogue since the fall of Germany to the Allies. In his hands, he holds a Sefer Torah, with its decorative silver remonim at the top ends of the rollers and a hoshen, a silver breast plate that decorates the Torah scrolls. For several years, under National Socialist rule, most synagogues in Germany stood shuttered, vandalized, desecrated, burned or repurposed as other public or commercial spaces. Berlin, Germany. 7th September 1945. Image taken by Robert Capa.

  6. Ruth Lee, an American woman of Chinese ancestry who works as a hostess at a Chinese restaurant, displays the flag of the Republic of China while she sunbathes on the beach so that other beach-goers do not mistake her for Japanese in the days following the Japanese attacks on Pearl Harbor and Naval Air Station Kaneohe Bay and the U.S. declaration of war on the Empire of Japan. Miami, Florida, U.S.A. 15 December 1941.

  7. Roma (Gypsy) men stand at attention during roll call at Dachau concentration camp. Dachau was Germany’s first concentration camp, opening in March 1933 just shortly after Adolf Hitler had been appointed Reich Chancellor. In the twelve years of its existence over 206,200 persons from all over Europe were imprisoned at Dachau and in numerous sub-camps. Approximately 31,000 were killed in the main camp. Initially opened to house political prisoners, Dachau soon began receiving large numbers of Jews, Gypsies, POWs, homosexuals, clergy, forced laborers from annexed or occupied territories and other “enemies of the Reich” when the SS, using prisoner labor, initiated construction of a larger complex capable of holding 6,000 prisoners, was completed in 1938. After 1942, the number of prisoners regularly held at the camp continued to exceed 12,000. Estimates of the death toll of Romani (Gypsy) people who died in during the war range from 220,000 to 1,500,000. Dachau concentration camp, near Dachau, Bavaria, Germany. July 1938. Image taken by Friedrich Franz Bauer. 

  8. French Resistance fighters line the streets of Chartres to listen to the speech of leader of the Free French Forces, General Charles de Gaulle, proclaiming the city’s complete liberation from German-occupation. Chartres was liberated on 18 August 1944 by the U.S. Army’s 5th Infantry and 7th Armored Divisions, belonging to XX Corps of the 3rd U.S. Army (United States Army Central). Chartres, Eure-et-Loir, Region of Centre, France. 23 Agust 1944. Image taken by Robert Capa.

  9. An Austrian workman in Vienna Hall Square (Rathausplatz) prepares to change a renamed street sign to Adolf Hitler Platz following the Anschluss Österreichs, the annexation of Austria into the Third Reich on 18 March 1938. There had been several years of pressure by supporters in both Austria and Germany (by both Nazis and non-Nazis) for the Heim ins Reich (“Home into the Empire”, or “Back to the Reich”) movement. Under considerable pressure from both Austrian and German National Socialists, Austria’s Chancellor Kurt Schuschnigg tried to hold a referendum for a vote on the issue. Although Schuschnigg expected Austria to vote in favour of maintaining autonomy, a well-planned coup d’état by the Austrian Nazi Party of Austria’s state institutions in Vienna took place on 11 March 1938, prior to the referendum, which they then immediately then canceled. They transferred government institutional powers to Germany, and German Wehrmacht troops entered Austria to enforce the Anschluss. The troops were greeted by cheering Austrians with Nazi salutes, Nazi flags, and flowers. Because of this, the annexation was also called the Blumenkrieg (war of flowers), but its official name was Unternehmen Otto. The Nazis held a plebiscite within the following month, asking the Austrian people to ratify the fait accompli. The National Socialists claimed to have received 99.7561% of the vote in favor of annexation. Vienna, Austria. March 1938.

  10. Allied Indian soldiers march passed the bomb shattered buildings on the outskirts of Cassino during the second attempt (Operation Avenger) of the Allied forces to take the ancient hilltop abbey of Monte Cassino from Axis troops during the five-month-long Battle of Monte Cassino of the Italian Campaign. It would take the Allied forces four attempts to finally knock out the remaining German and Italian forces from Monte Cassino, with Allied soldiers of the U.K., U.S.A., Italian Royalist Army, Free French forces, India, Poland, Canada, New Zealand, Australia, Belgium, Morocco, Algeria, South Africa and others taking part. On 2 March 1944 New Zealand forces took most of the town of Cassino, 2 kilometers(1.2 mi) to the west of the hilltop abbey during the third Allied attempt to take the hilltop. The fourth and final successful attempt was launched on 17 May 1944 by the Polish II Corps, with a patrol of the Polish 12th Podolian Cavalry Regiment finally making it the heights of the hilltop the following day, immobilizing the last defenders and raising a Polish flag over the ruins, and thereby opening the road to Rome for the Allies. The battle proved costly to both sides, with Allied casualties numbering over 55,000 and Axis casualties around 22,000. Cassino, Frosinone, Lazio, Italy. March 1944. Image taken by Sgt. McConville, No. 2 Army Film & Photographic Unit.

    (Source: iwm.org.uk)

  11. U.S. Marines play a piano rescued from the ruins of the village of Agat following the Allied success retaking the island of Guam from the Japanese. On 21 July 1944, Agat was one of the two landing sites for U.S. Marines during the Battle of Guam. Near Agat, Guam, Mariana Islands. August 1944.

  12. Soviet Army soldiers of the Southwestern Front play with Ukrainian children in a small village prior to the Battle of Uman, shortly following Operation Barbarossa, the initial Axis invasion of the Soviet Union. At the outbreak of war with Germany, the Southwestern Front contained the Soviet 5th, 6th, 26th, and 12th Armies along the frontier. The 16th and 19th Armies were in reserve behind the forward forces. These forces took part in the tank battles in western Ukraine and were surrounded and destroyed at the Battle of Uman and the Battle of Kiev in August and September 1941. Cherkasy Oblast, Ukraine, Soviet Union. July 1941.

  13. A 23-year-old Czech inmate at Flossenbürg concentration camp, recently liberated by the elements U.S. Army’s 2d Stryker Cavalry Regiment, 90th Infantry Division and 97th Infantry Division, is held aloft by fellow internees, suffering from severe dysentery and malnourishment. Flossenbürg concentration camp was built in May 1938 by the Schutzstaffel (SS) Economic-Administrative Main Office. During the war, most of the inmates sent to Flossenbürg, or to one of about 100 sub-camps, came from the German-occupied eastern territories and prior to 1944, most were political prisoners or members various resistance groups from German-occupied nations. There were smaller but significant numbers of individuals imprisoned for criminal offenses, POWs, homosexuals and clergy. The inmates in Flossenbürg were housed in 16 huge wooden barracks, its crematorium was built in a valley straight outside the camp. By 1945, there were almost 40,000 inmates held in the whole Flossenbürg camp system, including almost 11,000 women. Inmates were made to work in the Flossenbürg camp quarry and in armaments making. Underfeeding, sickness, and overwork was rife among the inmates, and with the harshness of the guards, this treatment killed thousands of inmates. As American forces approached the camp in early 1945, the Germans began the forced evacuation of 22,000 inmates from the main camp, including 1,700 Jews, to Dachau concentration camp, leaving behind only those too sick to walk. On the death march, SS guards shot any inmate too sick to keep up. Before they reached Dachau, more than 7,000 inmates had been shot or had collapsed and died. By the time the U.S. Army liberated the camp on 23 April 1945, more than 30,000 inmates had died at Flossenbürg and U.S. troops found only about 1,600 ill and weak prisoners remaining, mostly in the camp’s hospital barracks. Flossenbürg concentration camp, Flossenbürg, Bavaria, Germany. April 1945.

  14. Soviet troops of the 3rd Ukrainian Front march through the outskirts of Vienna into the heart of the city during the Vienna Offensive. A captured Nazi flag, taken from a Gestapo headquarters, is placed on the road by the soldiers to be marched over. Near Vienna, Ostmark, Germany (now, Austria). March 1945. Image taken by Yevgeny Khaldei.

  15. A German Kriegsmarine (War Navy) Bootsmann (equivalent to a Petty Officer First Class in the U.S. Navy and to a Sergeant in the British Royal Navy) poses next to a knocked out British Mk IV (A22) Churchill heavy infantry tank following the failed Allied Dieppe Raid (codename: Operation Rutter). In his hand he wields a captured Canadian Legitimus Collins & Co. No. 1250 machete taken as a souvenir. The Dieppe Raid occurred on 19 August 1942 and involved over 6,000 infantrymen, predominantly Canadian, who were supported by a Canadian Armored regiment and a strong force of Royal Navy and smaller Royal Air Force landing contingents. It involved 5,000 Canadians, 1,000 British troops, 50 United States Army Rangers and a number of Polish squadrons of the Polish Air Forces exiled in the U.K. The objectives included seizing and holding the major port of Dieppe in Upper Normandy in France for a short period, both to prove that it was possible and to gather intelligence. Upon retreat, the Allies also wanted to destroy coastal defenses, port structures and all strategic buildings. The raid had the added objectives of boosting morale and demonstrating the firm commitment of the United Kingdom to open a western front in Europe. Virtually none of these objectives were met. Allied fire support was grossly inadequate and the raiding force was largely trapped on the beach by obstacles and German fire. After less than 10 hours since the first landings, the last Allied troops had all been either killed, evacuated, or left behind to be captured by the Germans. Instead of a demonstration of resolve, the bloody fiasco showed the world that the Allies could not hope to invade France for a long time. A total of 3,623 of the 6,086 men (almost 60%) who made it ashore were either killed, wounded, or captured. Dieppe, Seine-Maritime, Upper Normandy, France.  20 August 1942.