“From the depths of the West of Europe,
A young child will be born of poor people
He who by his tongue will seduce a great troop
His fame will increase towards the realm of the East.”
- Nostradamus, circa 16th Century AD
The young child, as predicted, was Adolf Hitler. On this very day, 77 years ago, Germany attacked Poland and marked the beginning of the deadliest conflict in mankind's history. Over 7,30,00,000 people lost their lives. Soldiers martyred, innocent civilians dead and countless cities damaged to an almost unrecoverable state. Half a decade of havoc, pandemonium, turmoil, fighting - 'WAR'.
It took 6 years for World War II to end. The world was left broken and tired, with memories mostly bad and some good (of hope & victory). These pictures somewhat capture the story of World War II and how the world went from destruction to hope, from a dreaded death to being reborn again.
1. The man who started it all - Adolf Hitler - with the Nazi salute to his troops.
2. The USS Arizona during the attack on Pearl Harbour by the Japanese, 7th December, 1941. Around 2403 people dead at the base. 1,177 were on the USS Arizona.
3. Kamikaze pilots who suicide-dived into the US Naval base at Pearl Harbour.
4. President Franklin Roosevelt signs a declaration of war against Japan on 8th December, 1941.
5. A man cries as Nazis occupy Paris on June 14th, 1940.
6. Indian soldiers fighting at the Burma front, pictured in 1944.
7. London ablaze with bombs dropped by German planes in 1940.
8. Like so many others, this American soldier also bids goodbye to his love unsure if he would make it back. Many did not.
9. Polish priests & civilians with their hands raised before a public execution in September of 1939.
10. Nazis clear out a bunker of Polish Jews in Warsaw in 1944. A couple embrace each other, fearing the worst.
11. Russian soldiers advancing at the battle of Stalingrad. The 5 month battle ended in February, 1943. A total of 10,50,000 either died, went missing or were captured.
12. Chinese soldiers using flamethrowers, as trained by the Americans.
13. Royal Navy men pictured smoking & playing cards aboard the HMS Tribune in 1942.
14. A Hawker Hurricane Aircraft being re-armed by armourers of the Women's Royal Naval Service in September, 1943.
15. Indian soldiers arrive in Singapore to join the WW action in November of 1941.
16. Glasses of victims trapped in Auschwitz concentration camp.
17. The Angel of Death, Dr Josef Mengele, performing experiments on twins caught at Auschwitz.
18. Allies arrive at northern France on D-Day to liberate the country after 3 years of Nazi control.
19. The forgotten veterans of the war - African soldiers.
20. The iconic flag hoisting at the 'Battle of Iwo Jima' by American troops.
21. The last known photo of Adolf Hitler, surveying the damage outside his headquarters. Clicked two days before his death on 30th April, 1945.
22. Allied soldiers read about their victory in Europe.
23. A Sikh soldier pictured in 1945 with a captured Swastika Nazi flag.
24. Allied prisoners of war collect their belongings after being freed by the US Navy from Yokohama, Japan, on 11th September, 1945.
25. Three US soldiers stand over the body of fallen Nazi soldiers, circa 1945.
26. Rare photo of two of the most influential Generals of the Allied forces, George Patton & Bernard Montgomery clicked together after the Normandy landings. The two had fierce competition between them.
27. The big three - Winston Churchill, Franklin D Roosevelt & Joseph Stalin - pictured at the Yalta conference in February, 1945.
28. The bombing of Nagasaki on 6th August, 1945 that killed over 1,20,000 people and left countless others affected for decades after that.
29. Civilians & soldiers celebrate the surrender of Germany on V-E Day on 8th May, 1945.
30. Japan formally signs its surrender, officially bringing World War II to a close, on 2nd September, 1945.
"Beasts ferocious with hunger will cross the rivers,
The greater part of the battlefield will be against Hister (Hitler).
Into a cage of iron will the great one be drawn,
When the child of Germany observes nothing.”
- Nostradamus (end of war prediction)