The majority of people are familiar with the most dramatic events of the past few centuries and need no introduction to events like the two World Wars, the American Revolution, and the Holocaust. Still, many of us find it difficult to imagine just how vast, influential, and all-encompassing these events have been. We believe that photos can help us understand these things, which is why we’ve compiled a list of 25 gripping historical images that carry a deep and powerful message.
1. The Statue of David by Michelangelo was encased in bricks during WW2 to prevent damage from bombs
2. A policeman in San Francisco scolds a man for not wearing a mask during the 1918 Influenza Pandemic
3. The first and only photo of the Nine European Sovereigns
(standing, from left to right: King Haakon VII of Norway, Tsar Ferdinand of Bulgaria, King Manuel II of Portugal, Kaiser Wilhelm II of the German Empire, King George I of Greece and King Albert I of Belgium; seated, from left to right: King Alfonso XIII of Spain, King-Emperor George V of the United Kingdom and King Frederick VIII of Denmark)
4. A Serbian soldier and the father who visited him at the front seen sleeping (Belgrade, 1914-1915)
5. "Lyndon B. Johnson yelling at the pilots of a nearby plane to cut their engines so that John F. Kennedy could speak as Kennedy is seen trying to calm him down. Taken during the 1960 presidential campaign in Amarillo, Texas"
6. The faces of Jewish prisoners just after being liberated from a death train (1945)
7. Anne Frank’s father Otto, revisiting the attic where they hid from the Nazis. He was the only surviving family member (1960)
8. The Las Vegas Strip in 1955
9. Photo of a nuclear detonation test from the "Tumbler Snapper" (1962)
10. Charles Thompson, the only African-American student at Public School No. 27, and his new classmates, just a few months after the Supreme Court made racial segregation illegal (photo by Richard Stacks for the Baltimore Sun; September 1954)
11. Arch at Twelfth St., Chicago, President Abraham Lincoln's hearse and young ladies (Chicago, 1865)
12. Albert Einstein, his secretary Helen (left), and daughter Margaret (right) becoming U.S. citizens to avoid returning to Nazi Germany, 1940
13. Reunion of Confederate and Federal veterans at Gettysburg (1913)
14. A booking photo of Rosa Parks following her famous arrest in February 1956
15. Road traffic in Sweden the day they switched from driving on the left side of the road to the right (September 3, 1967)
16. The lottery used by the Selective Service to determine who would be drafted for Vietnam first. In each capsule is a day of the year, determining the order of draftees by their birthday. Washington D.C. 1969
17. A game of human chess in Leningrad (now St Petersburg, Russia; c. 1924)
18. A German soldier going against direct orders to help a young boy cross the newly formed Berlin Wall after being separated from his family, 1961
19. Indian Soldiers arriving in France, World War I, 1914
20. Soviet citizens look at the "Wall of Sorrow", honoring the hundreds of thousands of people killed by Stalinism. In 1988, the Soviet government allowed information regarding the victims of Stalin's Great Purge to become public.
21. Wedding bands that were removed from Holocaust victims before they were executed
22. Freddy Mercury and his mother (1947)
23. Hiroshima before and after the bombing (August 6, 1945)
24. The uniform of Archduke Franz Ferdinand from 1914, whose assassination triggered the outbreak of World War I
25. An American soldier cradles a wounded Japanese boy and shelters him from the rain in the cockpit of an airplane during the Battle of Saipan while waiting to transport the youngster to a field hospital
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