Death And Destruction

Death And Destruction, Rotterdam, Bombed out, Firing Squad, Massacre, Tapel, Cemetery

We have gathered a collection of some of the best and most moving photos taken during the Second World War. They are from the National Archives in Washington D.C.
Please browse at your leisure. Meditate on the sacrifice given by these men and women in wartime.

This page is dedicated to pictures of wartime Death And Destruction

"The German ultimatum ordering the Dutch commander of Rotterdam to cease fire was delivered to him at 10:30 a.m. on May 14, 1940. At 1:22 p.m., German bombers set the whole inner city of Rotterdam ablaze, killing 30,000 of its inhabitants."* Aerial view of the ruins of Rotterdam. 208-PR-10L-3. (* Note: This 30,000 which appears in this photo's caption is now seen as inaccurate. Historians believe the number who died was between 800-980. See The Oxford Companion to World War II, editors I.C.B. Dear and M.R.D. Foot, Oxford University Press, 1995, p. 968.) "Choked with debris, a bombed water intake of the Pegnitz River no longer supplies war factories in Nuremberg, vital Reich industrial city and festival center of the Nazi party, which was captured April 20, 1945, by troops of the U.S. Army."
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"American soldiers, stripped of all equipment, lie dead, face down in the slush of a crossroads somewhere on the western front." Captured German photograph. Belgium, ca. December 1944. "With torn picture of his feuhrer beside his clenched fist, a dead general of the Volkssturm lies on the floor of city hall, Leipzig, Germany. He committed suicide rather than face U.S. Army troops who captured the city on April 19. 1945."
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"Photo taken at the instant bullets from a French firing squad hit a Frenchman who collaborated with the Germans. This execution took place in Rennes, France." Himes, November 21, 1944. "The Tapel Massacre on 1 July 1945. Picture shows Pedro Cerono, the man who discovered the group of 8 skulls. Tapel, Cagayan Province, Luzon, Philippine Islands." T5c. Lewis D. Klein, November 23, 1945.
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"A Coast Guard seaman died at his battle station aboard the USS MENGES, torpedoed by a nazi sub in the Mediterranean. He represents the old Coast Guard expression, 'You have to go out, but you don't have to come back.'" "Two enlisted men of the ill-fated U.S. Navy aircraft carrier LISCOME BAY, torpedoed by a Japanese submarine in the Gilbert Islands, are buried at sea from the deck of a Coast Guard-manned assault transport." November 1943.
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"Standing in the grassy sod bordering row upon row of white crosses in an American cemetery, two dungaree-clad Coast Guardsmen pay silent homage to the memory of a fellow Coast Guardsman who lost his life in action in the Ryukyu Islands." Benrud, ca. 1945.  
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