Perspective-Altering Historical Photographs that You Probably Forgot About

By Sophia Maddox | April 14, 2024

Noted biologist Alice Eastwood inspecting the fault fissure left behind near Olema, California, after the 1906 earthquake rattled the San Andreas Fault.

Things aren't always as they seem. This collection of photographs will show you a view of history – its people, places, and events – that offers a different perspective than what we see in our history books. You will see famous people before they were stars, the final moments of some people's lives, fads and trends of the past, and some intriguing slices of life in days gone by. History is full of fascinating little tidbits that make for wonderful stories. All we need to do to find them is to change our perspective.

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The 1906 earthquake offered a chance for all kinds of scientists to study the seismic event. (Wikipedia)

The epicenter of the great San Francisco earthquake of 1906 was actually north of the city near the sparsely populated, Olema, California. As this photograph from the time shows, the fault fissure was clearly visible. It ran for miles. This allowed scientists to study the fault line, even scientists from other disciplines. In this photo, Canadian-born botanist Alice Eastwood is observing the damage. Eastwood, a self-educated botanist, was the head of the botany department at the California Academy of Sciences at the time of the 1906 earthquake. She remained in this position until she retired in 1949. During her tenure, the department enjoyed tremendous growth. 

Child soldier, Hans-Georg Henke of Germany was just 16 when he was captured by U.S. soldiers. He reacted like any child would … by crying. 

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As Hans-Georg Henke faced capture by the enemy, he let his emotions flow. (pinterest)

Hans-Georg Henke of Germany had a rough time as a teenager in the 1940s. He father died in 1938 and his mother died in 1944. The 15-year-old was forced to join the Luftwaffe to support his younger siblings. A member of Hitler’s Youth and an anti-aircraft soldier, Henke was trying his best to weather the war and help his family. When Soviet troops advanced on his unit and finally overtook them, young Henke burst into tears. He must have worried about how he would help his family as a prisoner of war, but his tear-streaked face became a symbol for the desperation of the German military, that they would allow children to join.