39 Historical Photos of the Aftermath of World War II

By | September 30, 2015

End of the war: Huge parts of Europe and Asia had been left in ruins. Homecomings and mass burials were under way. Massive efforts to rebuild had just begun. Here are 39 incredible photos of the aftermath of World War II.

German Wehrmacht General Anton Dostler, Commander of the 75th Army Corps, was sentenced to death by the U. S. Military Commission in Rome, Italy for ordering 15 unarmed American prisoners of war to be shot on March 26, 1944. He was tied to a stake before his execution by a firing squad in Aversa, Italy on December 1, 1945.


AP Photo

Soviet soldiers with lowered standards of the defeated Nazi forces during the Victory Day parade in Moscow, June 24, 1945.


Yevgeny Khaldei/Waralbum.ru

Two emaciated but happy allied prisoners at their release from Japanese captivity, near Yokohama, Japan, on September 11, 1945.


AP Photo

The return of victorious Soviet soldiers at a Moscow railway station, 1945.


Arkady Shaikhet/Waralbum.ru

A Japanese man amid the scorched wreckage that was once his home in Yokohama, Japan.



Red Army photographer Yevgeny Khaldei (center) in Berlin with Soviet forces, May of 1945.



A P-47 Thunderbolt of the U.S. Army 12th Air Force flying low over the ruins of what once was Hitler's retreat at Berchtesgaden, Germany, on May 26, 1945. Bomb craters dot area.


AP Photo

The Heinkel He-162 Volksjaeger, one of the captured experimental German aircrafts, displayed in an exhibition in Hyde park, London, September 14, 1945.


AP Photo

A year after the D-Day landings in Normandy, German prisoners landscape the first U.S. cemetery at Saint-Laurent-sur-Mer, France, near "Omaha" Beach, May 28, 1945.


AP Photo/Peter J. Carroll

Sudeten Germans on their way to the Liberec railway station, in former Czechoslovakia, to be transferred to Germany, photo taken on July, 1946 photo. Millions of German nationals and ethnic Germans were forcefully expelled from formerly German lands. An estimate of between 500,000 and 2 million Germans perished during the expulsion.


AP Photo/CTK

Scorched buses littered the streets of Tokyo. They were later used to help relieve the acute housing shortage in Tokyo on October 2, 1946.


AP Photo/Charles Gorry

American G.I. placing his arm around a Japanese woman as they view the surroundings of Hibiya Park, near the Tokyo palace of the emperor, on January 21, 1946.


AP Photo/Charles Gorry

Aerial view of London around St. Paul's Cathedral showing bomb-damaged areas,April of 1945.


AP Photo

General Charles de Gaulle shaking hands with children two months after the German capitulation in Lorient, France, in July of 1945. Lorient was where the German U-boat (submarine) was based during World War II. Between January 14 and February 17, 1943, more than 500 high-explosive aerial bombs and as many as 60,000 incendiary bombs were dropped on Lorient. The city was almost completely destroyed, with nearly 90% of the city wiped out.


AFP/Getty Images

The super transport ship, General W.P. Richardson, docked in New York, with veterans of the European war cheering. Photo taken on June 7, 1945.


AP Photo/Tony Camerano

Aerial photo of Levittown, New York, in 1948 shortly after the mass-produced suburb was completed on Long Island farmland in New York. This kind of prototypical suburban community was the first of many mass-produced housing projects that went up for soldiers coming home from World War II.


AP Photo/Levittown Public Library, File

This television set, retailing for $100, is said to be the first moderately-priced TV manufactured in quantity. It reproduces a 5x7 image. Although TV was invented prior to World War II, the war hindered mass production. Soon after the war, production and saled picked up, and by 1948, regular commercial network programming had begun.


AP Photo/Ed Ford

A U.S. soldier examining a gold statue, part of Hermann Goering's private loot, found by the 7th U.S. Army in a mountainside cave near Schonau am Konigssee, Germany, on May 25, 1945. The secret cave was the second found to date. It contains stolen priceless paintings from all over Europe.


AP Photo/Jim Pringle

In Europe, many churches have been completely flattened, but others still stand amid the ruins. Munchengladbach Cathedral stands tall here in the rubble, though still in need of repairs, seen in Germany, on November 20, 1945.


AP Photo

On May 21, Colonel Bird, Commandant of Belsen Camp, ordered for the last hut at Belsen Concentration Camp to be burned. A rifle salute was fired to honor the dead, the British flag was raised up at the same moment as a flame-thrower set fire to the very last hut in June of 1945. A German flag and portrait of Hitler went up in flames inside the hut.


AP Photo/British Official Photo

German mothers walking their through the streets of Aachen, Germany, on June 6, 1945 for the registration at the first public school the U.S. military government built after the war.


AP Photo/Peter J. Carroll

A general view of the International Military Tribunal for the Far East meeting in Tokyo in April, 1947. On May 3, 1946, the Allies tried 28 Japanese civilians and military leaders for war crimes. Seven were hanged while others were sentenced to prison terms.


AP Photo

Soviet soldiers on the march, North Korea in October of 1945.


Communist leader Kim Il Sung chatting with farmers from Qingshanli, Kangso County, South Pyongyang in North Korea, October 1945.


Korean Central News Agency/Korea News Service via AP Images

Members of the "Night Tiger" battalion on the drill field at Yanan, capital of a huge area in North China, which is governed by the Chinese Communist Party, on March 26, 1946.


AP Photo

This 1946 photograph shows ENIAC (Electronic Numerical Integrator And Computer), the first electronic computer - a massive machine housed at the University of Pennsylvania. Developed in secret in 1943, ENIAC was designed to calculate artillery firing tables for the United States Army's Ballistic Research Laboratory.


AP Photo

A test nuclear explosion codenamed "Baker," part of Operation Crossroads, at Bikini Atoll in the Marshall Islands, on July 25, 1946. The 40-kiloton atomic weapon was detonated by the U.S. 27 meters deep below the ocean surface, 3.5 miles from the atoll. The purpose of tests like this was to study the effects of nuclear explosions on ships. 73 ships were gathered around the test area -- both obsolete American and captured ships, including the Japanese battleship "Nagato."



Japanese ammunition being thrown into the sea on September 21, 1945. During the U.S. occupation, almost all of the Japanese war industry and existing armament was dismantled.


U.S. Army

German workers in Decontamination clothing destroy toxic bombs on June 28, 1946, at the U.S. Army Chemical Warfare Service Depot, at St. Georgen, Germany.


AP Photo

U.S. military authorities prepare to hang Dr. Klaus Karl Schilling, 74, at Landsberg, Germany, on May 28, 1946. In a Dachau war crimes trial, Dr. Karl was convicted of using 1,200 concentration camp prisoners for malaria experimentation beginning in 1942. Thirty prisoners died directly from the inoculations and 300 to 400 died later from complications of the disease.


AP Photo/Robert Clover

The new cemetery where 13,000 people who died after Belsen Concentration Camp was liberated are buried, Belsen, Germany on March 28, 1946,


AP Photo

Jewish survivors of the Buchenwald Nazi concentration camp on the deck of the refugee immigration ship Mataroa, photo taken on July 15, 1945 at Haifa port.


Zoltan Kluger/GPO via Getty Images

War orphans at the Catholic Orphanage in Lublin, Poland, September 11, 1946. They are being cared for by the Polish Red Cross.


AP Photo

The Empress of Japan visiting a Catholic Orphanage staffed by Japanese Nuns, April 13, 1946.


AP Photo

New buildings built in Hiroshima, Japan, on March 11, 1946. These one-story homes built along a hard-surfaced highway are part of the project by the Japanese government to rebuild ruined sections of the country.


AP Photo/Charles P. Gorry

Clocks are being prepared for export to Allied countries, shown as collateral for imported goods needed by Japan. Thirty-four Japanese factories mass-produced 123,000 clocks during April of 1946 (June 25, 1946).


AP Photo/Charles Gorry

U.S. General George S. Patton acknowledging the cheers of the crows during a parade through downtown Los Angeles, California, June 9, 1945.


AP Photo

German women clearing up the debris on Berlin's Tauentzienstrasse. The absence of able-bodied men meant that the responsibility for clearing the rubbles fell mainly to civilian women, which were called "Truemmerfrauen," or rubble ladies.


AP Photo

The scene in Berlin's Republic Square, before the ruined Reichstag Building, on September 9, 1948, as an estimated at a quarter of a million Anti-Communists scream their opposition to Communism.