Forgotten WW2 Photos That Defined a Generation

May 13, 2024

French anti-aircraft fire during a Nazi raid on Algiers, 1943.

In the midst of World War II, the world was plunged into darkness. The horrors of war had spread like a deadly virus, engulfing everything in its path. The global conflict had impacted every facet of human life, leaving destruction and devastation in its wake. Amidst this bleak landscape, color photography served as a beacon of hope, offering a glimmer of light in a world shrouded in darkness.

These colorized photos of World War II provide a unique perspective on the most devastating conflict in human history. They offer a glimpse into the lives of soldiers and civilians alike, and showcase the resilience of the human spirit in the face of unimaginable adversity. Through these images, we are transported back in time, and invited to bear witness to the heroism, sacrifice, and tragedy that defined this monumental period in history. Join us on this journey through time, as we explore the vivid and haunting world of colorized World War II photography.

(Lt. W. R. Wilson, U.S. Army/National Archives and Records Administration via Wikimedia Commons)

In the early years of World War II, Algeria was a key territory in the fight for control of North Africa. In November 1942, the Allies launched a massive amphibious assault on the northern beaches, known as Operation Torch. Under the leadership of Dwight D. Eisenhower, Allied forces overcame a Vichy French army of 60,000 troops, recapturing Morocco and Algeria and liberating northern Africa from German and Vichy control. Algerian troops, both Muslim and European, played a vital role in the fight for liberation, with over 134,000 soldiers mobilized and 18,000 giving their lives in the ultimate sacrifice for freedom. The bravery and sacrifice of these Algerian soldiers will forever be remembered in the annals of history.

Soviet soldiers charge during the Siege of Leningrad, January 1, 1943.

(Vsevolod Tarasevich/Russian International News Agency via Wikimedia Commons)

On January 1, 1943, the Siege of Leningrad was in full force, a brutal and unrelenting assault on the people of the city that had been ongoing for over a year. The siege had begun in September 1941, with German forces encircling the city and cutting off all supply lines, effectively trapping the population inside. What followed was a period of unspeakable hardship and suffering, as the people of Leningrad were subjected to starvation, disease, and constant bombardment by enemy forces. But even in the face of such adversity, the people of Leningrad refused to give up, their unbreakable spirit a testament to the resilience of the human will. Food was scarce and fuel even scarcer, with temperatures dropping to well below freezing, but the people of Leningrad persevered, finding ways to survive and even thrive in the midst of unimaginable hardship. The siege would ultimately last for over 900 days, with hundreds of thousands of lives lost, but the legacy of Leningrad lives on as a symbol of hope and perseverance in the face of even the darkest of times.