WWII

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BEHIND THE IMAGE: captured Luftwaffe crewmen, London Underground, 1940

In photography, timing is all – and there is no better example of the dictum than this gem of a snapshot capturing a surprising moment from ordinary London life during the Second World War. The image shows two airmen in Luftwaffe uniform walking through the Underground. One is a corporal, the other an Oberleutnant (the highest-ranking type of lieutenant), and together they stroll […]

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BEHIND THE IMAGE: Churchill visits Caen, July 1944

Churchill travelled incessantly during the war. In this picture, taken in Caen around six weeks after the D-Day landings, we find visiting troops in France for the second time since the beginning of Operation Overlord.

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REVIEW: Battle of Britain Memorial Flight Visitor Centre

The Battle of Britain Memorial Flight has conducted thousands of flypasts at events up and down the country, taking part in over 100 airshows per year. The Flight was formed in 1957 to commemorate the RAF’s defence of Britain against the Luftwaffe in 1940. It subsequently became a memorial to those who lost their lives […]

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The Ethics of Battlefield Archaeology

A controversial amateur archaeology programme has aired on Channel 5, despite widespread condemnation from archaeologists, academics, and heritage professionals across the UK and abroad. Battlefield Recovery, produced by London-based ClearStory Ltd, features four self-styled ‘diggers’: British metal-detectorists Steven Taylor, Kris Rodgers, and Adrian Kostromski, and American dealer in Nazi memorabilia Craig Gottlieb. The series is a repackaged version of Nazi War Diggers, which the National Geographic Channel planned […]

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Destroyer of Worlds: the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki

‘I am become death, the destroyer of worlds.’ So spoke J Robert Oppenheimer, the nuclear physicist who developed the atom bomb. Marking one of history’s most terrible anniversaries, Stephen Roberts explores the arguments around the atomic destruction of two Japanese cities in August 1945. On 6 August 1945 an atomic bomb, given the inappropriate name […]

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BEHIND THE IMAGE: VE Day, 8 May 1945

Victory in Europe (VE) Day marked the official conclusion of the six-year world war against Hitler and his allies. Civilians and soldiers around the world had endured loss, pain, and suffering which, with Churchill’s famous announcement, was finally at an end.

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BARNES WALLIS: visionary designer

WALLIS: Biography Born: 26 September 1887, Ripley, Derbyshire Married: Molly Bloxam, 1925 Educated: Christ’s Hospital Aircraft designed: Vickers Wellington, R100 airship, Vickers Warwick, Vickers, Windsor. Bombs designed: Bouncing Bombs, Tallboy, Blockbuster Died: 30 October 1979, aged 92. In context: the bouncing bomb In 1939 at the outbreak of the Second World War, Great Britain was […]

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The Sherman Tank

Building the Sherman Tank In 1940, in the light of the successful use of panzers in the European war, the US Army decided to start a rapid tank-building programme. Rather than adapting existing engineering plants, the President of Chrysler suggested constructing a brand new Tank Arsenal just outside Detroit, the home of the US car industry. Adopting the mass-production techniques used for making cars, this huge new […]

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BEHIND THE IMAGE: Nagasaki, Japan, 9 August 1945

This poignant image is evidence of the miles of utter devastation caused when the world’s second atomic bomb was dropped on the city of Nagasaki on 9 August 1945, three days after the nuclear attack on Hiroshima.

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