Fascinating Photos Collected From History

January 11, 2018 | No Comments » | Topics: History

Newsboys smoking cigarettes, 1910

After the Civil War, the availability of natural resources, new inventions, and a receptive market combined to fuel an industrial boom. The demand for labor grew, and in the late 19th and early 20th centuries many children were drawn into the labor force. Factory wages were so low that children often had to work to help support their families. The number of children under the age of 15 who worked in industrial jobs for wages climbed from 1.5 million in 1890 to 2 million in 1910.

Businesses liked to hire children because they worked in unskilled jobs for lower wages than adults, and their small hands made them more adept at handling small parts and tools. Children were seen as part of the family economy. Immigrants and rural migrants often sent their children to work, or worked alongside them. However, child laborers barely experienced their youth. Going to school to prepare for a better future was an opportunity these underage workers rarely enjoyed. As children worked in industrial settings, they began to develop serious health problems. Many child laborers were underweight. Some suffered from stunted growth and curvature of the spine. They developed diseases related to their work environment, such as tuberculosis and bronchitis for those who worked in coal mines or cotton mills. They faced high accident rates due to physical and mental fatigue caused by hard work and long hours.


The Gadget, the first atomic bomb, 1945

The nuclear test was code named Trinity, but the atomic device was nicknamed The Gadget. The date of the Trinity test is usually considered to be the beginning of the Atomic Age. “The gadget” was the code name given to the first bomb tested. It was so called because it was not a deployable weapon and because revealing words like bomb were not used during the project for fear of espionage. It was an implosion-type plutonium device, similar in design to the Fat Man bomb used three weeks later in the atomic bombing of Nagasaki, Japan.

The Gadget was an implosion device, which means the plutonium core is surrounded by many small explosives, these compress the plutonium and bring it closer to the point of causing it to go super critical. All those wires are attached to different explosives which burn at different frequencies. The trick for an atom bomb is to pack as much plutonium together before the chain reaction starts. The Gadget and Fat Man use the implosion-technique. The trick of the 20 explosions is that they push the pieces of uranium (or plutonium) together to a ball with an over-critical mass, which explodes. They have to time this extremely accurately, however. Microseconds differences will make your ball lopsided and less effective. Part of the solution is to make each and every cable the same length which is why the Gadget looks like a ball of wire.


The night they ended Prohibition, December 5, 1933

Originally intended to prevent crime and drunkenness, it soon became clear that Prohibition did just the opposite, as illegal speakeasies became prevalent and bootlegging essentially led to the establishment of organized crime in the United States. Ironically, America’s thirst for alcohol increased during Prohibition, and organized crime rose up to replace formerly legal methods of production and distribution.

Passed by Congress in 1917 and ratified by 1919, the 18th Amendment to the Constitution prohibited the manufacture or sale of alcohol within the United States. Enforcement of prohibition proved extraordinarily difficult as organized crime and smuggling rings grew and home-brewing became increasingly popular. In 1933, the 18th amendment was repealed amid much celebration. Repealing the 18th Amendment had been a central policy of President Roosevelt’s campaign, who suggested reintroducing alcohol as a way to raise taxes during a time of economic hardship.


Archduke Franz Ferdinand with his wife on the day they were assassinated by Gavrilo Princip, 1914

In an event that is widely acknowledged to have sparked the outbreak of World War I, Archduke Franz Ferdinand, nephew of Emperor Franz Josef and heir to the Austro-Hungarian Empire, was shot to death along with his wife by a Serbian nationalist in Sarajevo, Bosnia, on June 28, 1914.

The assassination of Franz-Ferdinand and Sophie set off a rapid chain of events: Austria-Hungary, like many in countries around the world, blamed the Serbian government for the attack and hoped to use the incident as justification for settling the question of Slav nationalism once and for all. As Russia supported Serbia, an Austro-Hungarian declaration of war was delayed until its leaders received assurances from German leader Kaiser Wilhelm that Germany would support their cause in the event of a Russian intervention–which would likely involve Russia’s ally, France, and possibly Britain as well. On July 28, Austria-Hungary declared war on Serbia, and the tenuous peace between Europe’s great powers collapsed. Within a week, Russia, Belgium, France, Great Britain and Serbia had lined up against Austria-Hungary and Germany, and World War I had begun.


The Cathedral of Light of the Nazi rallies, 1937

The Cathedral of Light was a main aesthetic feature of the Nazi Party rallies in Nuremberg starting in 1933. It consisted of 130 anti-aircraft searchlights, at intervals of 12 meters, aimed skyward to create a series of vertical bars surrounding the audience. The effect was a brilliant one, both from within the design and on the outside. The cathedral of light was documented in the Nazi Propaganda film Festliches Nürnberg, released in 1937.

The Lichtdom was the brainchild of Albert Speer, who was commissioned by Adolf Hitler to design and organise the Nuremberg Parade Grounds for the annual celebrations. It is still considered amongst Speer’s most important works. The location of the rallies was the Zeppelinfeld, built for more than 300,000 participants as part of a massive complex specifically made for those events.

Speer described the effect: “The feeling was of a vast room, with the beams serving as mighty pillars of infinitely light outer walls”. The British Ambassador to Germany, Sir Nevile Henderson, described it as “both solemn and beautiful… like being in a cathedral of ice”. William L. Shirer, an American journalist in Berlin during 1934 wrote: “I’m beginning to comprehend some of the reasons for Hitler’s success. He is restoring pageantry and color and mysticism to the drab lives of 20th century Germans”.


Japanese troops using prisoners of war for target practice, 1942

The Japanese treatment of prisoners of war in World War II was barbaric. The men shown in the below picture are part of the Sikh Regiment of the British Indian Army. All of them are sitting in the traditional cross-legged prayer position. They’re probably reciting their final prayers as this picture was being taken.

The most severe treatment was directed at the Chinese who were killed in large numbers by a variety of brutal means. The killings were conducted in many ways including shooting, burying alive, bayoneting, beheading, medical experimentation, and other methods. American, Australian, and British PoWs were starved, brutalized, and used for forced labor. The construction of the Burma-Thai railroad was a particularly horrendous project in which malnourished British and Australian PoWs were forced to do hard labor under the most extreme conditions. Some were even used for medical experiments, including live vivisections and assessments of biological weapons. Some PoWs were shot at the end of the War in an effort to prevent accounts of their mistreatment to become public.

The Nazis were methodical in their genocide but the Japanese (who killed twice as many Chinese as Nazis killed Jews) did it with pure barbarity. And while Nazi crimes were committed mostly by the SS and generally hidden from regular troops, Japanese war crimes were committed by regular infantrymen.


German soldiers in a dug out waiting for an enemy artillery barrage to lift, 1917

These soldiers are Stosstruppen (Stormtrooper) and are waiting for the assault in their shelter. Notice the different kinds of bayonets issued by the German army. At the end of the war, the German army issued a new kind of saw-bayonet causing more damage to the human body than the classic ones.The soldiers caught carrying such bayonets weren’t taken prisoner but were horribly mutilated. All the soldiers in this picture have facial hair without having a beard, because having a beard made it difficult to get a proper seal on the gas mask.

The two men in the center are wearing trench armour or Grabenpanzer. Delivered towards the end of 1916, the model 1916 Grabenpanzer was, depending on the size, a 9 kg (20 lbs) to 15 kg (33 lbs) construction made of four steel plates which protected the wearer against bullets and shrapnel.

The helmet they’re wearing is the Model 1916 Stahlhelm – known to the British as the “coal scuttle” due to its distinctive shape. It first entered service with the Germany Army during the Battle of Verdun in 1916. The new model greatly increased the survival rates of German head casualties.


Bobby Fischer playing 50 opponents simultaneously, 1964

Bobby Fischer is considered by many to be the greatest chess player who ever lived. In this particular simultaneous exhibition, he won 47 of the matches, drew 2 and lost 1. He lost to Donn Rogosin, not a well-known player. Fischer was 21 in this picture.

Fischer showed skill at an early age. At age 13 he won a “brilliancy” that became known as “The Game of the Century”. Starting at age 14, Fischer played in eight United States Championships, winning each by at least a one-point margin. At age 15, Fischer became both the youngest grandmaster up to that time and the youngest candidate for the World Championship.

At age 20, Fischer won the 1963–64 U.S. Championship with 11/11, the only perfect score in the history of the tournament. His book My 60 Memorable Games (published 1969) became an icon of American chess literature and is regarded a masterwork. Fischer won the 1970 Interzonal Tournament by a record 3½-point margin and won 20 consecutive games, including two unprecedented 6–0 sweeps in the Candidates Matches. In July 1971, he became the first official FIDE number-one-rated player.

After losing his title as World Chess Champion, Fischer became reclusive and sometimes erratic, disappearing from both competitive chess and the public eye. In 1992 he reemerged to win an unofficial rematch against Spassky. It was held in Yugoslavia, which was under a United Nations embargo at the time. His participation led to a conflict with the U.S. government, which sought income tax on Fischer’s match winnings, and ultimately issued a warrant for his arrest. After that, he lived his life as an émigré. In the 1990s, Fischer patented a modified chess timing system that added a time increment after each move, now a standard practice in top tournament and match play.


A pile of American bison skulls waiting to be ground for fertilizer, mid-1870s

Bison were hunted almost to extinction in the 19th century and were reduced to a few hundred by the mid-1880s. They were hunted for their skins, with the rest of the animal left behind to decay on the ground. Hides were prepared and shipped to the east and Europe (mainly Germany) for processing into leather. Homesteaders collected bones from carcasses left by hunters. Bison bones were used in refining sugar, and in making fertilizer and fine bone china. Bison bones price was from $2.50 to $15.00 a ton.

When modern Europeans arrived in North America, an estimated 50 million bison inhabited the continent. After the great slaughter of American bison during the 1800s, the number of bison remaining alive in North America declined to as low as 541. During that period, a handful of ranchers gathered remnants of the existing herds to save the species from extinction.

fascinating historical photos


Stalin’s body double, 1940s

For decades, rumors circulated in Russia that Joseph Stalin had a “twin” who replaced him during certain situations. Decades after Stalin’s death, the decoy finally decided to talk. Felix Dadaev, a former dancer and juggler, had been ordered to work to the Kremlin as Stalin’s body double. For more than half a century, Dadaev remained silent, fearing a death sentence should he dare to open his mouth. But in 2008, at the age of 88, and with the apparent approval of the Putin regime, he finally came forward to write his autobiography. It explains that he was one of four men employed to impersonate the supreme leader, taking his place in motorcades, at rallies, on newsreel footage etc.

In an age before media dominated, he didn’t have to mimic perfectly Stalin’s vocal inflections, just his look and mannerisms. He pulled it off so well even Stalin’s closest comrades couldn’t spot the imposter. “By the time my make-up and training were complete, I was like him in every way, except perhaps my ears. They were too small”.

fascinating historical photos


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