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1940s

1940s Hollywood Starlet Defeated the Nazis and Develope...

June 25, 2018

Austro-American actress Hedy Lamarr on the set of Samson and Delilah. (Photo by Sunset Boulevard/Corbis via Getty Images) It might be easy to dismiss the beaut...

These Were the Popular Christmas Gifts 70 Years Ago

December 12, 2017

This collection of Macy’s best-selling holiday gifts of 1948, compiled by LIFE magazine shows use just how much things have changed since then. For starters, the gifts t...

The Story Behind The Iconic Image of an Abandoned Boy C...

November 16, 2017

Below is Toni Frissell's iconic WW2 photo, one of the most heartbreaking photos to come out of the London Blitz. The boy in the photo did in fact survive the war ...

The Building of a City: Old Seattle in Photos

October 29, 2017

Established in 1851, Seattle started out as a lumber town, but it quickly became popular in coal production and fishing, and as a shipping hub for the West Coast. Soon, the ci...

The Story Behind '4 Children for Sale', 1948

October 13, 2017

The photo below first appeared in the The Vidette-Messenger of Valparaiso, Indiana on August 5, 1948. The children looked posed and a bit confused as their pregnant mother hide...

The Story of Andre the Giant

October 9, 2017

Andre the Giant was born on May 19, 1946 in Grenoble, France. He suffered from a condition called Acromelagy, also known as Giantism. Giantism is due to an excess of hormones which causes the ...

Photos of Dresden Before and After the WWII Bombing New...

October 4, 2017

The firebombing of Dresden by the American-British troops happened on the 13th and 15th of February 1945, during the last months of the war. 722 heavy bombers bur...

The Curious Story of the Collyer Brothers, History's Wo...

September 29, 2017

The phenomenon of hoarding has been around since ancient times. In the past, it could be dangerous, with some hoarders tragically found crushed to death by their ...

Amazing Color Photos That Show U.S. Army Uniforms in Wo...

September 21, 2017

The United States Army in WW2 used a variety of standard and non-standard battle uniforms, which often changed depending upon the theater of war, climatic environ...

Top Three Remarkable Escapes Across the Berlin Wall Aft...

August 31, 2017

After the Second World War, around 2.5 million East Germans fled to West Germany. This bothered East Germany as they already lost almost a sixth of their populati...

Bullet Bra: The Indispensable Underwear for the Sweater...

August 21, 2017

Invented in the late 1940s, bullet bra is a full-support brassiere with paraboloid cups. The bras usually feature decorative spirals and concentric circle stitchi...

Female Snipers of the 3rd Shock Army, 1st Belorussian F...

August 10, 2017

Russia in World War 2 was facing a threat to their very existence. Early in the war they could not compete with Germany in terms of technology, training, or skill...

The Story Behind: "Wait for me, Daddy", 1940

August 10, 2017

The photograph of a young boy running ahead of his mother to grab his father's hand as he marches off to war is one of the most iconic images of World War 2. Titled "Wait For M...

The Man Who Survived 133 Days Adrift At Sea on a Wooden...

August 8, 2017

Chinese native Poon Lim was a cabin boy on a British passenger freight, the Ben Lomond, during World War II that was traveling from Cape Town to Surinam. The Germ...

The Life of Oskar Schindler After the End of World War ...

August 3, 2017

Oskar Schindler is the German industrialist, spy, Nazi Party member who saved the lives of 1,200 Jews during the Holocaust by employing them in his ammunition and...

Before Computer: Photos of People from the Past Working...

July 28, 2017

Before there were actual computers, there was a job simply called, "computer". The job involved converting figures and crunching numbers and often involved some b...

The Accidental Detonation of 4,000 Tons of Explosives I...

June 28, 2017

On November 27th, 1944, a seismograph in Switzerland recorded the effects of a massive explosion in far distant England. At first seismologists thought it was an ...

WWII Heroine: The Incredible Bravery of Nancy "The Whit...

June 27, 2017

When Nancy Wake saw a Jewish man being beaten on the streets of Vienna, she vowed to help fight the Nazis. That's how one wealthy Australian woman became the most...

The Shoes on the Danube Bank: One of the Most Moving Ho...

June 23, 2017

Not far from the Hungarian Parliament building sit 60 pairs of old-fashioned shoes, the type people wore in the 1940s. These footwear make up the "Shoes on the Da...

US Air Force Academy Cadets Finally Realized Their Jani...

June 22, 2017

Day after day hundreds cadets of Air Force Academy would pass janitor William Crawford in the hall oblivious to the greatness that was among them. In the mid-197...

An Army of 1000 Japanese Soldiers Was Attacked by Croco...

June 12, 2017

In 1942, during WWII, the Japanese Imperial Army captured Ramree Island off the Burma coast, 70 miles south of Akyab, now known as Sittwe. Since Ramree was strate...

It's Been Over 70 Years, But This Drone Footage of Ausc...

June 7, 2017

"One minute in Auschwitz was like an entire day. A day was like a year. A month, an eternity." ~Roman Kent, Holocaust survivor It's been over 70 years since the d...

WWII Escape Maps Turned Into A Stunning Wedding Dress

June 6, 2017

Artist Sara Jane Murray runs a studio called Home Front Vintage, which specializes in repurposing World War II-era silk maps into wearable, and beautiful, clothing and...

Calling Blighty: Videos Made by 600 Soldiers Found In R...

June 2, 2017

Hundreds of video clips, each lasting around 30 seconds made by 600 soldiers, were found in rusty canisters in the basement of Manchester Town Hall in England in ...

Brushy Bill Roberts: The Man Who Claimed to be Billy th...

June 1, 2017

History tells us that outlaw Billy the Kid (aka Henry McCarty, aka William Bonney) was gunned down —when he was just 21 years old— by Sheriff Pat Garrett on July ...

Britain's "Unkillable" Soldier, Adrian Carton de Wiart

May 29, 2017

Lt. General Sir Adrian Carton de Wiart served as a British officer in the Boer War, the First World War, and the Second World War. He survived two plane crashes, was ...

Classic Pin-Up Girls: The Real Women Behind Gil Elvgren...

May 24, 2017

Anyone who's familiar with pin up paintings - those classic images that adorned the noses of bombers and the walls of soldiers barracks in the 1940s and '50s - wi...

10 Odd Jobs From the World War II Military Classificati...

May 18, 2017

High school history books always made it seem that the Second World War was exclusively won by troops and generals on the frontlines, and of national figureheads...

Inside Look: The General Stores Of Yesteryear

May 2, 2017

General stores were an integral part of local society back in the old days and people treated them as such. Pioneers and farmers depended on general stores and trading posts  ...

A Japanese Boy Standing at Attention After Bringing His...

April 25, 2017

Joe O’Donnell, the man who took the iconic photo below at Nagasaki, was sent by the U.S. military to chronicle the damage inflicted on Japanese soil by air raids ...

Japanese Kamikaze, Footage from WW2, 1945

April 24, 2017

The story behind the bombers, their training, and first photos of the killer weapons above the Pacific Ocean... Credit: British Pathe

During WWII, Japanese Soldiers Gave Out Grenades So Cit...

April 21, 2017

The battle at Okinawa, Japan was the last major battle of the Second World War. During the struggle, more than 545,000 U.S. troops stormed the archipelago, killin...

Hollow of 650-Year-Old Tree Used as a Hideout by Two Je...

April 17, 2017

The hollow trunk of this 650-year-old oak tree was used as a hideout by two Jewish brothers during World War II. In Wisniowa, Poland, there is an English oak tre...

Some of the Most Iconic World War II Movies of All Time

April 9, 2017

WW2 films take on a lot of different styles, forms and tones. You'll see authentic WWII recreations, personal stories about the soldiers and people who fought the wa...

This Locked Crypt Holds Civilization's Artifacts and Wo...

April 2, 2017

Locked and sealed airtightly in Georgia's Oglethorpe University is a time capsule crypt containing some of the 1940s iconic treasures. It won’t be opened until 81...

While His Brother Was Busy Killing Jews, Albert Göring ...

March 31, 2017

Albert Goring was the export manager of Skoda automotive factory when he fled to Czechoslovakia. He helped many employees under possible death to be free, by for...

An Original “Schindler’s List” Expected to Fetch $2.4m ...

March 16, 2017

Up for sale at an auction is the authentic “Schindler’s lists,” the papers used during the Holocaust by the German industrialist Oskar Schindler to save the...

Secret WWII Message Decoded Decades After the War Ended...

March 13, 2017

In Italy, a group of treasure hunters were scanning an area in Tuscany using metal detectors when they discovered an old bullet. However, they were a bit surprise...

10 Most Iconic Photos of the 1940s and The Story Behind...

March 11, 2017

Captured at the height of Second World War and after Adolf Hitler had seized Paris, this photo illustrates Hitler surveying his conquest along with his various cr...

Fearless Women of World War II: Krystyna Skarbek / Chri...

March 8, 2017

Born in Poland, Krystyna Skarbek managed to reach England after her beloved country fell to the Germans during World War II. She volunteered to be a spy, and even...

The Story of the Death Railway

March 2, 2017

On the morning of December 7, 1941, the Japanese launched their surprise assault on Pearl Harbor. On the same day, they also attacked Dutch and British positions in South East Asia. About 14...

5 Famous Snipers of World War II

March 1, 2017

During the decade leading to World War Two, the U.S.S.R. was the only nation that trained sniper units rigidly. Although other nations trained them too, it was not to the same degree. As a...

Cold War Era Spy Tools

February 28, 2017

The renowned Cold War -- let us revisit the golden days of spying with some nifty examples of items the James Bonds of that era kept secret in their tool kits. H/T Top-Gadgets

Teddy Roosevelt’s Sons in World War 1

February 28, 2017

The article that follows is an excerpt from H.W Crocker III’s The Yanks Are Coming! A Military History of the United States during the First World War. It is now available for orde...

The Story of the Dog Who Became a Prisoner of War Durin...

February 26, 2017

In 1936, the British gunboat HMS Gnat's crew bought an English Pointer puppy named Judy that came from a kennel in Shanghai, China. She was supposed to serve both...

Tanks Vs. Bridges (13 Pics)

February 22, 2017

Take a look at this compilation of photos of tanks that proved too heavy for some of the bridges they were driving on. Almost all of these fascinating images were captured during World War II....

Virginia Hall: One of The Greatest Spies in American Hi...

February 7, 2017

Despite the fact that her country — the United States — had yet to enter the war. Despite the fact that women weren't generally considered spy material by the pre...

Love Lost: World War II Soldier Expresses His Love in a...

February 6, 2017

If you need a reminder of just how far we've come with LGBT rights in the military and larger American culture, a love letter penned from one soldier to his lover...

Military Slang Words and Phrases Used by American Soldi...

February 6, 2017

Starting as early as 1941, correspondents began reporting and discussing military slang in the pages of American Speech, the journal of the American Dialect Socie...

WWII Major Who Single-Handedly Destroyed Enemy Tanks Wi...

February 2, 2017

Major Robert Henry Cain grew up on the Isle of Man and joined the Honourable Artillery Company in 1928. He was given an emergency commission into the Army in 1940...

The Nurse Who Saved Children From Nazis By Hiding Them ...

January 27, 2017

Born on February 15, 1910 in Warsaw, Poland; Irena Sendler, persevered to study medicine. She devoted her life to the service of others, whatever the cost may be....

Before Radar, These Giant Concrete “Sound Mirrors” Were...

January 18, 2017

Before the invention of radars, acoustic mirrors were used in Great Britain as early warning devices. The mirrors were built to detect incoming enemies by the...

The Curious Case of the Woman Who Was 'Pregnant' for 60...

January 16, 2017

A 92 year-old woman named Huang Yijun, from southern China debatably holds the record for the longest pregnancy ever… unbelievably for 60 years! Technically, she...

Drive-in Church in St. Petersburg, Florida circa 1947

January 10, 2017

These images of a drive-in church in St. Petersburg, Florida circa 1947 were captured for an article to be featured in LIFE magazine that was never published. The driv...

Evacuation of the Sick and Wounded, WWII

January 5, 2017

Every battlefield troop maintains a fraction of personnel who are well-trained and proficient in conducting first aid. In a unit that is as large as an Infantry battalion, there is...

Faces of War: Men With Broken Faces and The Tin Nose Sh...

January 4, 2017

Located inside the 3rd London General Hospital, its properly known as the "Masks for Facial Disfigurement Department" but wounded tommies humorously called it "Th...

Colorized Photos of Soviet Female Snipers in the 1940s,...

January 3, 2017

This is a collection of colorized pictures showing the incredible Soviet female snipers in the Second World War. H/T Za Rodinu

Hiroshima and Nagasaki 70 Years After the Atomic Bombin...

January 1, 2017

When the US dropped the atomic bomb on Hiroshima on August 6, 1945, it killed about 140,000 people out of the 350,000 who lived in the city. That was the first nu...

California Couple Inherits 50-Year-Old Bunker Beneath T...

December 21, 2016

When they bought the house, the Otcaseks were only told that the property had “an unusual feature”: a large, concrete-lined hole in the backyard. They were told t...

The 10,000-Bedroom Hotel That Was Never Used

December 19, 2016

Hotel Prora is a massive building complex built between 1936 and 1939 by the Nazis as part of their "Strength through Joy" programme. The complex stretches over three miles alo...

Vintage Snapshots: World War II Soldiers Showering or B...

December 15, 2016

Between battles soldiers were able to bathe in makeshift showers and in rivers, lakes and streams. These personal snapshots of World War II soldiers bathing and s...

World War II Story: This Man Dropped Candies Instead of...

December 6, 2016

As the Second World War approached its end, the Soviet army sieged Berlin until the city, and eventually all German forces, surrendered. The people of Berlin were...

The Death of America's Longest Serving President Who Ha...

November 29, 2016

It was April 1945. The end of the war in Europe was in sight as the allied armies pressed their invasion into the German heartland. In Washington, President Roose...

Today’s Paris Through Photos from 1944

November 28, 2016

French photographer Julien Knez wanted to celebrate the 71st anniversary of the liberation of Paris in August 1944 with a series of photographs. Thus, he integrated photographs of ...

One Man Lives Every Day Like It’s 1946

November 17, 2016

Ben Sansum is living in the 1940s, no time travel required. As you can see in this video tour, his home in Godmanchester, England is a time capsule of 1946 and is full of incredi...

1940s Guide on How to Kiss Correctly

November 16, 2016

Back in 1942, LIFE magazine published a “How to kiss” guide, intended to educate actors. The photo guide shows a “wrong” and “right” way of kissing in a true 1940s fashion. It covers t...

The Side Of Him We Rarely See: Winston Churchill, The A...

November 15, 2016

Winston Churchill is famous for his role in leading Britain to victory against the Nazis. But he was also a writer and artist who painted to battle depression. Hi...

WWII Soldier's Sketchbooks Reveal a Visual Diary of His...

November 15, 2016

Victor A. Lundy,  sketched the drawings you'll see below between May and November 1944 when he was wounded. The sketches take us from his initial training in Fort...

The Women Of Douglas Aircraft Company, 1942

November 12, 2016

In 1942, during World War II, thousands of women across the U.S. took on manufacturing jobs. They worked as mechanics, engineers, and often as test pilots. This collection of ph...

Vintage Wedding Photos of Marilyn Monroe's First Marria...

November 10, 2016

Hollywood beauty Marilyn Monroe had her fair share of lovers, none of them stuck around long. She was divorced three times before dying of an overdose at age 36 i...

95-year-old WWII Veteran Finally Gets Medals He Earned ...

November 10, 2016

95-year-old Harold Curry of Kansas has finally received the medals he deserves. “I didn't know I had most of these, because when I came out of the Army in '45 sho...

The Most Photographed Paratrooper in Normandy

November 9, 2016

Private John M. Steele was the American paratrooper who landed on the pinnacle of the church tower in Sainte-Mère-Église, the first village in Normandy liberated by the United...

20 Vintage Photos of People Camping and Caravanning Bet...

November 8, 2016

It was before the 20th century when camping holidays really started. The first real holiday camp was in the Isle of Man, called the “Cunningham Camp”. The only st...

Now and Then: Scenes from the London Blitz

October 29, 2016

For 267 days between September 1940 and May 1941, the German Luftwaffe bombed 16 British cities in “The Blitz”. London was hit 71 times, with one sustained campaign running for 5...

Color Photos Showing Life In Japan In The 1860s - 1900s

October 29, 2016

Prisoner, 1860 Woman in front of the mirror, photographer Baron Raimund von Stillfried, 1860 Two tattooed men, photographer Baron Raimund von Stillfried Pilgrim g...

Berlin Recreates Adolf Hitler's Bunker

October 28, 2016

A replica of the German dictator's bunker, where he spent his final days at the end of World War Two, has opened in central Berlin inside a former Nazi air raid shelter. Hitler spent...

Remains of Three US Airmen Who Vanished in Malayan Jung...

October 27, 2016

Just months after the end of WWII, three United States airmen took off from Singapore, bound for a small aerodrome in Penang, in their military transport plane. ...

Abandoned Subway Station at the Southern Tip of Manhatt...

October 24, 2016

Even if you use New York’s subway system every day, you’ve probably never walked through the City Hall station. The subway has been closed since 1945 but was neve...