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10 Vintage Photos & Their History-laden Stories

 It’s always a great thing when rare vintage photos turn up, and the 10 you’re about to see are no exception. They all have interesting stories behind them and represent times of great change in our world. Here are 10 vintage photos and the history-laden stories behind them:
1. IRA propaganda photo, 1972
The Irish Republican Army, which was founded on the belief that the whole of Ireland should be an independent republic, often released propaganda pictures depicting faceless women frisking individuals on the street for weapons. Although weapons-bearing female IRA members existed, scenarios such as the one above were often staged. As the Troubles amped up during the 1990s, women joined both sides of the conflict in increasing numbers. The propaganda pictures were designed to give the impression that the IRA was everywhere, and could be anyone at any time.
2. Iranian soldiers during the Iran-Iraq war, 1982
The Iran-Iraq War lasted for eight long years between 1980 and 1988, with both sides claiming victory. War erupted in the wake of the Iranian Revolution when border disputes between the two countries continued to escalate. The Soviets backed the Iranians, whereas the Americans backed the Iraqis hoping to establish a pro-Western government when the conflict was over. The war cost $600 billion in lost revenue to each side thanks to the destruction of oil fields, and between 500,000 to 1 million people lost their lives.
3. Women in a New York City opium den, 1925
Opium dens began to proliferate in North America following the arrival of Chinese immigrants during the California Gold Rush. Opium sparked a massive drug epidemic during the late 1800s and early 1900s, with scenes as shown above being far from uncommon in big cities. Den operators used to give women inferior pipes, because they believed that women would spoil the opium when using a good-quality pipe, making it worthless. This gave rise to various health issues, because their intake was often out of balance.
4. Anti-Bolshevik volunteer army, 1918
Russia’s imperial system collapsed during the Bolshevik Revolution when Tsar Nicholas III was overthrown and the Soviets seized power in October 1917. The result was that large numbers of soldiers took up arms both in favor of and against the Red Army. The soldiers that you see pictured above mutinied following the disastrous defeats that Russia suffered during World War I. In spite of that, they were not ready to accept Soviet rule and thus formed part of the resistance.
5. Motorcycle machine gun crew during the invasion of Denmark, 1940
The Danish authorities were quick to deploy units such as this one following the Nazis’ invasion of Poland during World War II. They had some 15,000 men set up sturdy defenses in order to bottleneck the German advance. Sadly, the country was barely six hours into its occupation when it surrendered. Less than 50 people perished in the process, with no bombs being dropped and no large-scale engagements taking place between the two sides.
6. A male suffrage supporter is led away in London, 1912
Back in the early part of the 20th century, even women in the United Kingdom were still fighting for the right to vote. Many male supporters of women’s suffrage joined marches to support the movement and were instrumental in women over 30 being given the right to vote by the British Parliament in 1918.  If it wasn’t for prominent (male) members of parliament such as Arnold Stephenson Rowntree, Laurence Housman, Claude Hinscliff, and Gerald Gould supporting the women’s suffrage movement, it probably would have taken much longer for women to be given the right to vote.
7. Hoa Hao fighter train for jungle combat in French Indochina, 1948
Hoa Hao women train for combat in the jungles of French Indochina following the end of the Second World War. They were trained to fight the French, and learned how to fight with spears, swords and guns. The First Indochina War, which occurred during World War II, the Second Indochina War and the Vietnam War all saw brutal jungle combat, and women were heavily involved in all three wars. They fought on both sides in the last two wars, and were deployed against the enemy in a variety of ways.
8. Child soldiers pose for a picture in El Salvador, 1983.
The Farabundo Martí National Liberation Front is one of the two largest extant political parties in El Salvador today, but 30 or so years ago, FMLN guerrillas forced children into their ranks. That went on during the El Salvadorian Civil War, which raged between 1979 and 1992. Although the FMLN lost and was disbanded, brutal death squads on both sides of the conflict continue to add numbers to the death toll. The FMLN rose to power through presidential elections held in 2009. Some 130,000 people died in the civil war between 1979 and 1992.
9. A Persian prostitute, location unknown, 1900
Prostitution was ubiquitous throughout the world until the early part of the 20th century, however all that began to change following a pious push by various countries to eradicate legalized prostitution. With that being said, Persian prostitutes still had no rights and were basically owned by their handlers. Their enslavement could only be broken if they were deemed too old to do their work, their owner died or a couple of other highly-specific factors.
10. Seconds before a beheading in Nanjing, 1937
It’s well-known that Japanese soldiers committed countless atrocities during the Nanjing Massacre of 1937-1938, with hundreds of thousands of Chinese soldiers and civilians alike perishing in the process. The soldiers would conserve the ammunition from their guns by stabbing and beheading people instead. It was also commonplace for Japanese military photographers to depict soldiers laughing as they tormented their victims.
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