Fascinating Photos Collected From History

July 13, 2017 | 3 Comments » | Topics: Interesting

Shell shocked soldier (bottom left) in a trench during the Battle of Flers-Courcelette during the Somme Offensive. 1916

Shell shocked soldier in a trench during the Battle of Flers-Courcelette during the Somme Offensive in September 1916. His eyes express the madness of the war. The soldier looks like he has gone insane from what he has seen. In that moment in time everything he’s been raised to work within, the social constructs which make up every part of his life just exploded and shattered to nothing, and he’s lying there, slumped in a trench, afraid for his life, hearing and seeing death around him, his entire psyche broken. Even more haunting when you think that people didn’t smile for the pictures back then.

The circumstances of the First World War pushed hundreds of thousands of men beyond the limits of human endurance. They faced weapons that denied any chance for heroism or courage or even military skill because the artillery weapons that caused 60 percent of all casualties were miles away from the battlefield.

The term “shell shock” was coined by the soldiers themselves. Symptoms included fatigue, tremor, confusion, nightmares and impaired sight and hearing, an inability to reason, hysterical paralysis, a dazed thousand-yard stare is also typical. It was often diagnosed when a soldier was unable to function and no obvious cause could be identified. “Simply put, after even the most obedient soldier had enough shells rain down on him, without any means of fighting back, he often lost all self-control”.

While the term shell shock is no longer used in either medical or military discourse, it has entered into popular imagination and memory, and is often identified as the signature injury of the war. Shell shock would later be called “war neurosis”. It’s similar to but not the same thing as PTSD. Like in the case of PTSD, mental stress leads to dramatic physical difficulties.

Some men suffering from shell shock were put on trial, and even executed, for military crimes including desertion and cowardice. While it was recognized that the stresses of war could cause men to break down, a lasting episode was likely to be seen as symptomatic of an underlying lack of character. For instance, in his testimony to the post-war Royal Commission examining shell-shock, Lord Gort said that shell-shock was a weakness and was not found in “good” units.


After spending five days with five men cutting down a single sequoia, Walter Fry counted the growth rings on the fallen giant. The answer shocked him into changing careers. In just a few days they had ended 3266 years of growth. Fry later became a Park Ranger and, in 1912, Sequoia National Parks’ Superintendent. 


An American soldier cradles a wounded Japanese boy and shelters him from the rain in the cockpit of an airplane during the Battle of Saipan while waiting to transport the youngster to a field hospital. July, 1944

Photo by Peter Stackpole

On Saipan I witnessed suicides during the very last of the fighting at the south end of the island. Japanese propaganda had told the native population that they ought to take their own lives because the Americans were going to torture anyone they captured. That wasn’t the case at all, but I saw girls, all holding hands, jump off the reef in the ocean, trying to drown themselves. In a truckload of civilians that the Marines had rounded up, I saw a little Japanese kid with his arm badly mangled and some makeshift bandages on it. The kid was about to be in a state of shock, and just then one of those observation planes landed on the road. I took the boy over to the plane and said to the pilot, “Is there any way you can take this kid . . . where he can get medical treatment?” He didn’t want to at first. Then he looked at the kid and said, “Sure.” The kid sat on his lap, I took one picture, and the plane took off.


Belgium coal miners crammed into a coal mine elevator, coming up after a day of work, circa 1900.


Loading passengers onto an airship from a mooring mast in the early 1930’s


The U.S. Army destroys the Nazi Swastika over the Nuremberg parade grounds, 1945


Migrant Mother by Dorothea Lange 1936

The image of a worn, weather-beaten woman, a look of desperation on her face, two children leaning on her shoulders, an infant in her lap; has become a photographic icon of the Great Depression in America. The photo was taken in March 1936 at a camp for seasonal agricultural workers 175 miles north of Los Angeles

"I saw and approached the hungry and desperate mother, as if drawn by a magnet. I do not remember how I explained my presence or my camera to her but I do remember she asked me no questions. I made five exposures, working closer and closer from the same direction. I did not ask her name or her history. She told me her age, that she was 32. She said that they had been living on frozen vegetables from the surrounding fields, and birds that the children killed. She had just sold the tires from her car to buy food. There she sat in that lean-to tent with her children huddled around her, and seemed to know that my pictures might help her, and so she helped me. There was a sort of equality about it.

The pea crop at Nipomo had frozen and there was no work for anybody. But I did not approach the tents and shelters of other stranded pea-pickers. It was not necessary; I knew I had recorded the essence of my assignment.”"


General William T. Sherman during the Atlanta Campaign, 1864

After capturing Atlanta, General Sherman decided to march to Savannah, Georgia, a city on the Atlantic coast.

Before leaving, his men set fire to Atlanta. Almost the entire city was destroyed.

Sherman’s army continued to burn towns all the way to Savannah, 350 kilometers away. The army cut a path of destruction more than 100 kilometers wide.

This campaign became known as Sherman’s March to the Sea.


African girl in human zoo at the 1958 Expo in Brussels had a ‘Congo Village’ (Congo was a Belgian colony) where Congolese people were ‘displayed’. Belgium 1958


A sailor gets a tattoo on his arm in Norfolk, Virginia. 1938


A soldier poses with a Hythe Mk III Gun Camera during training activities at Ellington Field, Houston, Texas in April of 1918.

The Mk III, built to match the size, handling, and weight of a Lewis Gun, was used to train aerial gunners, recording a photograph when the trigger was pulled, for later review, when an instructor could coach trainees on better aiming strategies.


Chinese Americans labeling themselves to avoid being confused with the hated Japanese Americans, 1941

Helen Chan pins Sun Lum with lapel badge identifying him as “Chinese,” to avoid being rounded up with Japanese Americans who were being interred following Japan’s attack on Pearl Harbor.


Residents of West Berlin showing their children to their grandparents who reside on the Eastern side, May 9th, 1961

fascinating historical photos


Prostitutes on display in Yoshiwara during the Meiji period, 1882



Nazi Physician Fritz Klein forced to bury Holocaust victims at Bergen-Belsen Concentration Camp. 1945

When asked how he reconciled his actions with his ethical obligations as a physician, Klein famously stated:

“My Hippocratic oath tells me to cut a gangrenous appendixout of the human body. The Jews are the gangrenous appendix of mankind. That’s why I cut them out.”


Laika, the first dog in space. No provisions were made for her return, and she died there 1957

One of the sceintist had regrets about sending Laika into space. Oleg Gazenko:

“Work with animals is a source of suffering to all of us. We treat them like babies who cannot speak. The more time passes, the more I’m sorry about it. We shouldn’t have done it. We did not learn enough from the mission to justify the death of the dog.”


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  • Bill Sherman

    the south had it coming.

  • jvillemannc

    General William T. Sherman had a burning desire to leave Atlanta.

  • Jackmerius Tacktheritrix

    That tattoo artist is Bryan Cranston.