Dead Americans at Buna Beach

Behind the camera: George Strock
Where: Buna Beach, New Guinea (Now Papua New Guinea)
Photo Summary: Three American bodies lying dead in the sand next to destroyed landing craft
Picture Taken: December 31, 1942
First published September 20, 1943 in LIFE

The Battle of Buna-Gona was a grueling campaign to stop the Japanese advance across New Guinea. After months of difficult and treacherous fighting, the combined Australian and American forces were able to attack the Japanese bases near the small New Guinea village of Buna. It was here that the Reporter George Strock was able to capture this photo of three dead American soldiers on the last day of 1942. When it was finally published in late 1943 it was the first time in WWII any American media had published an image of dead American troops.

When I took pictures, I wanted to bring the viewer into the scene
-George Strock

Getting it past the censors


George Strock handed his film over the LIFE photo editors who then selected the best images for publication in the LIFE magazine. Strock’s pictures from the Battle of Buna-Gona were published by LIFE magazine in its February 15 and 22, 1943 editions.

The image with dead soldiers was at first blocked by the military censors but one correspondent in Washington named Cal Whipple saw the value in this picture and made it his mission to get it published. He would recall spending months going “from Army captain to major to colonel to general, until I wound up in the office of an assistant secretary of the Air Corps, who decided, ‘This has to go to the White House.’” It was there that the President of the United States Franklin D. Roosevelt, the War Department and the director of the Office of War Information, Elmer Davis gave their approval and allowed a LIFE to publish.

The picture was released in the September 20, 1943 LIFE issue with the following editorial

Here lie three Americans.

What shall we say of them? Shall we say that this is a noble sight? Shall we say that this is a fine thing, that they should give their lives for their country?

Or shall we say that this is too horrible to look at?

Why print this picture, anyway, of three American boys dead upon an alien shore? Is it to hurt people? To be morbid?

Those are not the reasons.

The reason is that words are never enough. The eye sees. The mind knows. The heart feels. But the words do not exist to make us see, or know, or feel what it is like, what actually happens. The words are never right. . . .

The reason we print it now is that last week, President Roosevelt and Elmer Davis and the War Department decided that the American people ought to be able to see their own boys as they fall in battle; to come directly and without words into the presence of their own dead.

And so here it is. This is the reality that lies behind the names that come to rest at last on monuments in the leafy squares of busy American towns.

First-Issues-of-Sports-Illustrated-Magazine-Mark-Kauffman

Bach’s Student, Mark Kauffman, took this photo at just 17.


George Strock

A native of Los Angeles George Strock went to John C. Fremont High School. While there he took part in a then-groundbreaking photojournalism course taught by Clarence A. Bach. Bach ran his high school program like it was an actual newspaper telling students to cover certain events and guiding them on what made a good shot, “look for the unexpected!” At just 17-years-old one of Bach’s proteges, Mark Kauffman, took a picture that ended up as the cover of the first Sports Illustrated magazine. Under Bach the Fremont High School photojournalism program launched the careers of no less than six LIFE photographers including George Strock. Throughout WWII about 146 of the students who went through Bach’s program became wartime photographers

After high school, Strock was a crime and sports photographer at The Los Angeles Times. In the late 30s, he married Rose Marie and with her had two sons, George and William.

In 1940 he joined the LIFE magazine team to cover the war. At first, he spent some time covering the European theatre before being sent to Australia in 1942. From November 1942 to January 1943 he covered the Battle of Buna-Gona where he took the famous picture of three dead soldiers. In late January he was sent back to America arriving in San Francisco on January 30, 1943.

He returned to cover the island hopping of the Pacific campaign and after the War worked at LIFE. HE never lost his touch and was able to get many cover shots on the LIFE Front cover. At the age of 66, George Strock died in his home city of Los Angeles on August 23, 1977.

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WWI Christmas Truce Football Match

Behind the camera: WWI Photographer
Where: Salonika, Greece
Photo Summary: Officers and men of 26th Divisional Ammunition Train playing football
Picture Taken: December 25, 1915

By Christmas 1914 World War I had been raging for months. The fighting saw the new industrial style of warfare involving machine guns that mowed down hundreds of soldiers in seconds. This meant that the men lived out of sight in wet, cold and diseased trenches. Soldiers huddled against the cold on Christmas were surprised when German soldiers starting singing. Allied soldiers sang back. Singing led to shouting, shouting led to brief encounters in no-ones land which led to a full-on truce and soldiers intermingling on both sides for much of the 1914 Christmas and Boxing day. Yet this picture didn’t take place in 1914 or even in Western Europe. This image is of officers and men of 26th Divisional Ammunition Train playing football a year after the Christmas truce, December 25th, 1915 in another theatre of war Salonika, Greece.

1914 Christmas Truce


British and German soldiers pictured in No Mans Land during Christmas Truce 1914

British and German soldiers pictured in No Mans Land


Six months into World War I the war was not going well for either side. Modern warfare meant that both sides had to hide in trenches from deadly machine guns that could put up a wall of deadly bullets blocking any attempted attack. Meanwhile, enemy snipers waited to put a hole in anyone exposing their head over the lip of the trench. Often the men, in their trenches, were knee deep in freezing water as they waited, never knowing when the other side would attack.

Facing the British in many parts of the Western Front were German soldiers who had often lived and worked in the United Kingdom. With good English, they sang to the British who replied in kind with Christmas songs of their own. Soon men infected with this Christmas cheer ventured above the trenches an action that just hours earlier would have meant a gift of a bullet in the head. The truce didn’t happen everywhere with some battles and the inevitable causalities even taking place on Christmas. Erik Sass tells us that:

According to British eyewitnesses, German troops from Saxony were often eager to fraternize, perhaps because of their shared ethnic heritage with the Anglo-Saxons, whereas Prussian troops were much less likely to make any friendly gestures, if only because they were under the stern supervision of committed Prussian officers. Meanwhile, on the Allied side, French troops were understandably also less inclined to fraternize with invaders occupying their own homeland – indeed, in some cases, their own homes. And regardless of nationality, some individuals simply seemed unable to put aside their personal hatred of the enemy. A Bavarian dispatch runner, Adolf Hitler, voiced strong disapproval of the truce, according to one of his fellow dispatch runners, who later recounted: “He said, ‘Something like this should not even be up for discussion during wartime.’”


The professional Indian soldiers on the front lines were horrified at their British comrade’s interactions with the Germans,

Belgian, Indian and French troops who witnessed episodes of fraternisation were at best puzzled and at worst very angry that British troops were being friendly towards the Germans.

While some French did observe a Christmas Truce after the war any stories of French soldiers taking part in the truce were censored and covered up.

In France, not a word was written on the subject. The newspapers had become tools enabling the army and authorities to spread propaganda. In the country that had given the world human rights, the press was no longer free.

Even in 2004 Frenchmen who took part in the Truce were still regarded as traitors and when a film producer asked to have French military cooperation in the remaking of the Truce for film, a vocal group vetoed the idea saying the French military would never be “involved in a film about rebels.”

Christmas Truce Football Match 1914 England vs Germany

Celebration of the football game using the photo from Greece 1915


The Football Game

A certain mythology has grown up around the Christmas truce and one of the more popular urban legends was that there was a semi-formal soccer match between the two sides. As Dan Snow tells us,

There wasn’t a single organised football match between German and British sides. There may have been small-scale kick-abouts – but these were just one of many different activities men took the time to enjoy.

This articles’ photo which is used quite extensively as proof that a game took place actually happened a year later on Christmas 1915, halfway around the world at a British base in Salonika, Greece.

During the 1914 Christmas Truce, instead of football, the men were more much more interested in recovering the bodies of their comrades which had often sat rotting away in no man’s land for months.

Famous pictures from Other Wars


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Dresden Destroyed

Behind the camera: Richard Peter
Where: Dresden, Germany
Photo Summary: A statue on the City Hall Rathausturm or Tower overlooks a destroyed Dresden
Picture Taken: 1945
This image has some limited copyright rights reserved after it was released by the Deutsche Fotothek of the Saxon State Library / State and University Library Dresden (SLUB).

The logic behind the Allied bombing campaigns was that air attacks would force Nazi Germany out of the war. Working to this goal much of occupied Nazi Europe was laid waste by bombers manned by Allied airmen. One of the most controversial bombing raids was the Bombing of Dresden, Germany in World War II. Between February 13 – 15, 1945 over 1200 Allied bombers dropped their deadly payloads on one of Germany’s biggest cities. After the last bomber flew away the city was left in almost total ruins. It took years to rebuild and in 1945 photographer Richard Peter took this famous picture after scaling the city hall.

On the left Dresden in 1945 by Richard Peter and on the right Dresden in 2005 by Matthias Rietschel (AP)

On the left Dresden in 1945 by Richard Peter and on the right Dresden in 2005 by Matthias Rietschel (AP)

The Statue

The statue in the foreground overlooking the ruins of Dresden is often reported to be Peter Poeppelman’s “Allegory of Goodness” or “Allegorie der Güte” but the statue was actually carved by August Streimueller.

The Bombing Raid

The infamous Bombing of Dresden is still one of the most controversial actions of the Allies during WWII. Between February 13 and 15 1945 around 1,250 heavy bombers of the British and American air-forces dropping huge amounts of explosive and incendiary devices on the mostly wooden city. The resulting firestorm killed around 25,000 people and destroyed most of the historic city center. This happened even though Dresden was of questionable military value.

Richard Peter

Dresden 1945 and Now

Dresden 1945 and Now


Richard Peter was born in Silesia in 1895. While working as a smith and miner he was drafted into the army to serve in the trenches during WW1. After the war, he settled in Dresden and became a photojournalist for various left-wing publications. When the Nazis came to power he was blacklisted and used his skills with the camera to work in advertising before he was drafted into the German Army during WWII.

After the war he returned to Dresden to find the city totally destroyed including all his photo equipment. Using borrowed equipment he began to document Dresden’s literal rise from the ashes. Publishing his work in a book Dresden, eine kamera klagt an (Dresden, a photographic accusation).

Even with his pre-Nazi left-wing credentials, his life under the communist regime wasn’t much better. After investigating corrupt communist officials he was banned from government work but continued to make a living as a freelance photographer. He died on October 3, 1977, at the age of 82.

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Reaching Out

Behind the camera: Larry Burrows
Where: Close to Hill 484, near the DMZ in South Vietnam
Photo Summary: Wounded Marine Gunnery Sgt. Jeremiah Purdie reaching out to a fellow Marine near Hill 484. On the far left is 19-year-old, Navy corpsman Ron Cook and the man whose hand is touching Purdie’s shoulder is 18-year-old Private Dan King.
Picture Taken: October 5, 1966

After a long battle the wounded American Marines of, 3rd Battalion, 4th Marine Regiment, lay in wait for medical evacuation on a muddy hill in Quang Tri Province, just below the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ). It was there that the Englishman Larry Burrows captured this image of wounded Marine Gunnery Sgt. Jeremiah Purdie reaching out to a wounded comrade.

Taking the picture


On the far left of the picture is, then 19-year-old, Navy corpsman Ron Cook (Gary Landers photo)

On the far left of the picture is, then 19-year-old, Navy corpsman Ron Cook (Gary Landers photo)

In September of 1966, American Marines were ordered to two granite peaks, Hill 400 and Hill 484, in the forested region of Quang Tri Province, just below the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ). The North Vietnamese forces were crossing the border and the Marines were sent to engage them.

Ron Cook a corpsman assigned to Kilo Company, 3rd Battalion, 4th Marine Regiment remembers how much his unit struggled not just against the enemy but the infamous non-combat horrors of Vietnam. Disease-carrying mosquitoes, huge leeches, poisonous snakes were always a danger and all the while the rain meant that everything was wet all the time. At just 19 he struggled with caring for so many wounded.

I think any corpsman that served in Vietnam will say we were kids taking care of kids. We were put under the most stressful situations. I mean, when you’re an 18-year-old kid and they hand you 56 Marines and say, “Here, keep them alive if you can; the ones you can’t, we’ll just tag and bag and send them home to their mothers,’ it’s a lot of responsibility for a kid.

After days of fighting Hill 400 was secured and the engineers carved out a landing pad between Hill 400 and 484, an area that was called Mutter’s Ridge. While other units pushed on, Ron Cook’s Kilo company stayed to evacuate the wounded and regroup. It was here that the quiet English journalist, Larry Burrows, was able to take some pictures of the men.

LIFE editors didn’t initially publish this image, instead printing other pictures Burrows had taken. It wasn’t until February 1971, that LIFE published the image in an article commemorating the photographer who had recently gone missing in Laos.

Larry Burrows


[bigquote quote=”He never got in the way. He never imposed, He blended into the background. He was very quiet. That’s why they called him ‘the compassionate photographer.'” author=”Ron Cook”]

Born in 1926 London Burrows dropped out of school to take a job at LIFE when he was just 16. He worked in the British photo labs during WWII and it is often rumored that it was he who was responsible for destroying Robert Capa’s D-Day negatives. After the war he became a photojournalist and arrived in Vietnam in 1962. He hoped to cover the Vietnam War until there was peace.

On February 10, 1971, four journalists (Kent Potter 23, Keisaburo Shimamoto 34, Henri Huet 43, Larry Burrows 44) were flying in a helicopter over Laos when they were shot down. After an extensive search, they were thought lost to the jungle. LIFE’s Managing Editor, Ralph Graves, wrote about the missing pilots who he thought had surely died in the crash:

I do not think it is demeaning to any other photographer in the world for me to say that Larry Burrows was the single bravest and most dedicated war photographer I know of. He spent nine years covering the Vietnam War under conditions of incredible danger, not just at odd times but over and over again. We kept thinking up other, safer stories for him to do, but he would do them and go back to the war. As he said, the war was his story, and he would see it through. His dream was to stay until he could photograph a Vietnam at peace.

It took until April of 2008 before the helicopter wreckage and the bodies were found.

Jeremiah Purdie

Born March 22, 1931, in Newport News Jeremiah Purdie was the baby of seven children and lost his mother, Annie Purdie, due to childbirth complications when he was only 3 weeks old. At just 17-years-old he joined the Marines and even fought a few weeks in the tail end of the Korean War. He served in Vietnam until he was forced out.

I was over there three times and I won three Purple Hearts, so they had to take me out, That’s the law — three Purple Hearts and you’re out.

He left the Marines in ’68 and found his way as a district manager for a shoe chain in Sacramento, California. He moved to the New Jersey for work and met his wife, Angel, in December 1969. He wrote a book ( The Journey That Brought Me to Glory: The Black Boy, the Marine, and the Christian) and found God, after a cancer scare, becoming an ordained deacon.

He died from heart failure at the age of 74 on May 06, 2005. In early May of 2014 former U.S. Postal Service member and 66 years-old Dan King was able to visit Purdie’s grave to his goodbyes, something he always dreamed of doing. Purdie’s family and members of his local Lumbee Warriors Association were able to join him.

Getty copyright


This picture is owned by Getty by Larry Burrows

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The Milkman

Behind the camera: Fred Morley
Where: Streets of London
Photo Summary: A man carries the milk over rubble while firefighters battle the aftermath of the 32nd straight night of bombing
Picture Taken: October 9, 1940
Published October 10, 1940

During the opening years of World War II Britain was all that was left against Hitler’s military Juggernaut. France had already surrendered and continental Europe was under Germany’s control. Hitler, through a massive bombing campaign, hoped to either knock the UK out of the war or destroy its air force in preparation for invasion.  The bombing campaign starting in 1940, until Hitler withdrew his planes in preparation for the invasion of the USSR in 1941, was nicknamed the Blitz by the British and was an almost daily aerial bombardment of the United Kingdom. Many iconic photos emerged from the Blitz and the Battle of Britain.  The most famous was captured during the December 29, 1940, raid when a Daily Mail reporter snapped what at the time was called the “War’s greatest picture.” While this was the most famous, one of the more memorable photos was this Milkman Photo taken by Fred Morley on October 9, 1940, and then published the next day on October 10, 1940.

Staged Image?

Fred Morley on the right takes on Aussie, the boxing kangaroo in London's Trafalgar Square, August 31, 1931

Fred Morley on the right takes on Aussie, the boxing kangaroo in London’s Trafalgar Square

October 9th marked the 32nd day of straight bombing raids against the United Kingdom. The nighttime raid of October 9th raid infamously struck the iconic St Paul’s Cathedral but luckily the bomb did not detonate. Photographers stationed in London were amazed at the total destruction wrought by German bombers yet their pictures were routinely blocked by the censors who were anxious not to cause a panic. Fred Morley wanting to get some sort of record of the devastation out to the world thought of a situation that the censors would approve. He first found a backdrop of firefighters struggling to contain a fire then he borrowed a milkman’s outfit and a craft of bottles.  He then got his assistant to pose among the ruins of a city street while the firefighters fought in the background. The photo pushed forward the idea of the stoic British continuing on with their normal lives.  The censors felt the same way and it was published the very next day.

Fred Morley

Morley first joined Fox Photos company in January 1926 and in 1951 Fox Photos’ directors Dick Fox and Reg Salmon marked his silver jubilee with a special wristwatch for 25 years’ service with the company. Fred Morley in addition to being a celebrated photojournalist, toured the world capturing beautiful day to day life wherever he went.


Copyright Info

Copyright enquiries can be directed to Getty via Delivery After Raid by Fred Morley

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American Soldier Drinking From A Canteen

Behind the camera: W. Eugene Smith
Where: Taken during the Battle of Saipan
Photo Summary: An unshaven Angelo S. Klonis drinking from a canteen OR PFC Thomas E. Underwood of B/1/24th Marines
Picture Taken: June 27, 1944

In June of 1944 photojournalist, W. Eugene Smith was following the American troops as they fought their way across the Japanese island of Saipan. While following an elite unit of American troops he snapped a few shots of a Greek-American soldier, Angelo S. Klonis. This photo would decades later be chosen by Peter C. Bunnell, McAlpin Professor of the History of Photography and Modern Art at Princeton University as Smith’s best work. It was included in a Masters of American Photography Collectible Stamp Sheet, it went on to sell sixty million stamps.

Angelo S. Klonis

Smith took another picture of Klonis that has been used on a number of book covers including: Mammoth Book of Battles by Jon E. Lewis and The War of the World by Niall Ferguson

Smith took another picture of Klonis that has been used on a number of book covers including: Mammoth Book of Battles by Jon E. Lewis and The War of the World by Niall Ferguson

In 1936 Fifteen-year-old Angelo S. Klonis left his home in Kephallonia, Greece and stowed away on an American bound ship in hopes of a better life. Landing in L.A. California he worked his way across the country before finally settling in Santa Fe, New Mexico, in 1938. When the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor in 1941 he felt the call of duty to serve his adopted homeland.  At first, he tried to join the Marines but was turned down because he wasn’t an American citizen, he then tried the army who accepted him into their ranks on August 10, 1942. His family says that Klonis served in multiple theaters during the war including Europe, Africa, even Norway.

Like many men of his generation, Angelo didn’t talk much about the war and after he died it fell on his son to investigate Angelo’s service. Much like James Bradly who spearheaded research into his Dad’s iconic picture at Iwo Jima Angelo S. Klonis’ son, Nick Klonis, research unearthed many secrets that Angelo had taken to the grave. Through perseverance and lots of luck Nick was able to uncover that Angelo was actually a member of an elite army unit that fought in both Europe and Pacific theaters of WWII. Incredibly Angelo S. Klonis took part in the DDay invasion on June 6, 1944 before just weeks later crossing the world to fight during the brutal Battle of Saipan (June 15 – July 9, 1944).

After the war, Angelo S. Klonis visited his family in Greece and met his future wife Angeliki (“Kiki”). They had three boys Evangelo, in 1952, Nicalaos (“Nick”) in 1954 and Demosthenes (“Demo”) in 1955 before moving back to live in Greece for 10 years before the Klonis family returned to America in 1969. In 1971 he bought a bar and named it “Evangelo’s” giving it a Polynesian style with bamboo and tiki torches, probably influenced by the time he spent in the Pacific.

Angelo S. Klonis died in 1989. While he remembers being photographed by Smith he never saw the photograph himself and only knew that it had been published while he was overseas.

Thomas E. Underwood

For decades it was accepted that the man in this photo was Angelo S. Klonis but recent research into his identity reveals that the man might be PFC Thomas E. Underwood of B/1/24th Marines. Geoffrey a researcher that documents the men of First Battalion, 24th Marines does a exhaustive two-part investigation into the man in the picture:

Underwood v. Klonis I
Underwood v. Klonis II

W. Eugene Smith

William Eugene Smith grew up in Wichita, Kansas, America. He learned the ropes of photojournalism while working for the local Wichita papers, The Wichita Eagle and The Beacon. Looking to work in the big leagues Smith moved to New York and started with Newsweek before refusing to compromise his standards he quit and joined Life Magazine in 1939. During World War II he covered many theaters of operation including the fighting in Saipan where he would take the famous picture that would eventually end up in the Masters of American Photography Collectible Stamp Sheet. In May of 1945, he was hit by Japanese fire and sent to Guam to be patched up.

After the war, he covered the plight of the working man in beautifully put together photo essays, a concept that he pioneered. His work in the UK is now seen as invaluable insights into working-class Britain. In 1955 he left LIFE magazine and joined the Magnum photo agency.

In 70s Japan, while trying to tell a story of exploitation of the locals around polluting factories he was attacked by Japanese thugs trying to prevent him from exposing Minamata disease to the world. His injuries from the attack kept him bedridden for weeks but he was still able to capture one of his most famous pictures Tomoko Uemura in Her Bath.

His war injuries plus the injuries suffered from his beating at the hands of Japanese industrialists caused him to collapse into a bitter world of pain med-addiction and self-destruction. After ending his second marriage he struggled in poverty for a few years before, on October 15, 1978, he suffered a massive stroke in a Tucson, Arizona, while he was shopping to buy cat food. He was 59 years old.

Smith’s Published Books

Copyright info


Copyright to this photo is managed by Magnum American Soldier Drinking From A Canteen by W. Eugene Smith

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Soldiers at the Western Wall

Behind the camera: David Rubinger
Where: In front of the Western Wall in Jerusalem
Photo Summary: From left to right Zion Karasanti, Yitzhak Yifat and Haim Oshri standing looking at the Wall
Picture Taken: June 7, 1967

As the Six-Day War (Fought between June 5 and 10, 1967) raged between Israel and the neighboring Arab States Israeli photo journalist, David Rubinger, heard that something big was going on in Jerusalem. By helicopter, car and on foot he rushed to a divided city that Israeli paratroopers had overrun. When he got to the western wall he saw three paratroopers and told them to look up. Lying down on the ground he took this iconic shot.

The Six Day War

1967 Six Day War - The Jordan salient

IDF movements in the West Bank

Leading up to 1967 Six Day War Israel and the surrounding Arab states, Egypt, Jordan, and Syria were under a period of escalating tension and small border raids. Israel decided that the Arab states were eventually going to attack and so decided to take the initiative and launch a full-scale invasion of the surrounding territory. The resulting attack, coined the Six Day War, devastated the states surrounding Israel, while also seizing the Gaza Strip and the Sinai Peninsula from Egypt, the West Bank and East Jerusalem from Jordan, and the Golan Heights from Syria. In the words of David Rubinger, “we went from being doomed to having an empire. It was like a condemned man with the noose around his neck suddenly being told that not only was he going to live he was going to be the king.”

The Three

Rubinger captured and immortalized the three paratroopers, Zion Karasenti, Yitzak Yifat and Haim Oshri. They had just fought a brutal engagement, the Battle of Ammunition Hill where Israeli forces overran Jordanian forces in intense hand to hand combat. Karasenti remembers that the “Jordanians couldn’t get away, but they kept on fighting to the last man.” All three commented on how brave the Jordanians were in battle. The attack fell to the Israeli 3rd company of the 66th Battalion, of the Paratroopers Brigade’s reserve force (55th Brigade), and during the battle, a force of the 2nd company joined the fighting. During the battle 71 Jordanian soldiers and 36 Israelis were killed.

Zion Karasenti

Zion Karasenti remembers in an interview there was fierce fighting when the Israelis engaged the Jordanians.

I had finally been mobilized, and almost all of the reservists in my unit were already in combat, I remember my mother’s fear — and her tears. I knew our country had no choice, and I had to do my duty to defend it. [During the fighting] There was a passage covered with barbed wire, I jumped on it and helped others to cross. I felt no pain. We went into the trenches. They were not very deep, but they were quite narrow. [After the fighting Karasanti walked to the Western Wall]

I saw an Israeli soldier in the area– I had no idea where she came from. I asked her, ‘Where am I?’ She said, ‘This is the Western Wall.’ Then, before disappearing, she gave me a postcard and told me to write to my parents. I thought I had dreamed it. But years later, I met this woman. She was a soldier in the IDF Postal Corps.”

Karasenti would be around 70 in 2013 and worked as a director and choreographer. He lives in Afula.

Yitzhak Yifat

In the rushed nature of the war, Yitzhak Yifat actually had a toothache for most of the war, before the battle to take Ammunition Hill he had some dental work and actually fought with his face still numb from local anesthesia.

It was face-to-face fighting. I fought like a tiger. My friend was shot in the backside and he was about to be shot again by a Jordanian. I shot him. Another Jordanian saw I was out of bullets and he charged at me with a bayonet. I don’t know how I did it, but I took his gun and shot him with it. It was brutal, and a sad victory. I lost many friends. After the fighting, we built a memorial to our friends – and one to the Jordanians, in honour of their bravery.

Entering the Old City wasn’t such a big deal to me as it was to some. I wonder now if it was all worth it: it seems so complicated and our leaders have no vision for the future. I am glad we liberated Jerusalem and it should remain united under our sovereignty, but everyone, from any religion, should be allowed to visit. I’m angry about what the religious [Orthodox] have done to the Western Wall, dividing it between the sexes and imposing their rules on it.

Yitzhak Yifat would be 70 in 2013 and studied to become a gynecologist and obstetrician.

Haim Oshri

Oshri was a Yemeni Jew born in 1944 and emigrated to Israel in 1949 after it was created in the War of Independence. In an interview he remembers

The battle for Ammunition Hill was the worst moment of the war. There wasn’t a plan – we were just told to attack. The Jordanians were brave soldiers. Now it makes me angry to think of all the unnecessary casualties. If we had taken more time to plan, there would have been far fewer casualties.

As an Orthodox Jew it was special for me to be involved in the fight for Jerusalem. It doesn’t matter if you’re from Poland or Yemen, Jerusalem is our common bond. Every day we pray three times to Jerusalem, and I could never have imagined the magic of seeing the Kotel [Western Wall] for the first time.

David Rubinger Taking the Picture

The three men, Then and in 2007, AP IMAGES

The three men, Then and in 2007, AP IMAGES

David Rubinger was born in Vienna, Austria in 1924. As the Nazis overtook Europe he was able to escape to Palestine while his father made his way to England. His mother was not so lucky and died during the Holocaust. Settling in a Jordan Valley kibbutz he broke into photojournalism working at a number of Israeli papers until he was hired by Time-Life in 1954.

When the Six-Day War broke out Rubinger was covering the fighting in the Sinai and heard over the radio that something big was going to happen in Jerusalem. He was able to hitch a ride aboard a helicopter, for the wounded, to his car and then he drove the rest of the way, even picking up a hitchhiking soldier so that he could drive for a while so that Rubinger could catch up on some sleep. He remembers that when he heard the city had fallen to the Israelis he rushed to Wailing Wall and saw the three paratroopers. He directed them to look up while

I lay down to take the picture of the paratroopers because there was barely three metres between the Wailing Wall and the houses next to it. When I developed the film, I didn’t think much of the picture…

[He also took an emotional photo of Shlomo Goren, the chief army chaplain, with a shofar and a Torah scroll] I thought this was the picture, I was crying when I took it. I came back home, developed the film and showed the pictures to my wife, Annie. I said, ‘Look at this fantastic picture of Rabbi Goren.’ She said, ‘Yes, but the one with the three soldiers is better.’ I said, ‘It’s just three soldiers.’ It turned out Annie was right.”

…I gave it to the army. They passed it on to the government press office which then distributed it to everyone for virtually nothing. I still don’t think it’s a great picture, but often iconic pictures are created by the media and what people read into them.

To get front line access Rubinger and other photojournalists had made an agreement to share any photos he took.  When he sent this photo to them they immediately saw the potential and started printing millions of copies that they sold for pennies.  These printings and pirate copying spread it around the world and made it an iconic image.  Rubinger recounts, “I was very upset but, in retrospect, I have to be grateful to everybody who stole the picture. That’s what made it famous.”

Rubinger continued with his job at Time-Life and in published a book, Israel Through My Lens: Sixty Years As a Photojournalist. With his wife Anni the couple had two children, five grandchildren, and two great-grandchildren.

Two years after his wife died Rubinger met a widower Ziona Spivak who he had a relationship with until on the eve of the first Paul Goldman exhibition was to open in Detroit she was found murdered by her gardener. Rubinger was going to cancel the trip but “I came to the conclusion that, if I surrender to the mood, that there’s nothing more to live for, the body will follow the mind in a very short while. I made myself call Spencer and say ‘I’m coming.’ Thanks to that, I got out of it.”

Copyright

Copyright for held by AP Images Soldiers at the Western Wall by David Rubinger

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Uncle Sam Wants You

Behind the camera: James Montgomery Flagg
Where: Flagg’s Studio
Photo Summary: Uncle Sam pointing at the viewer in such a way that the finger seems to follow the viewer around the room.
Picture Taken: Originally published as the cover for the July 6, 1916, issue of Leslie’s Weekly with the title ‘What Are You Doing for Preparedness?’. Released as a poster in 1917.
This image is in the public domain because it was taken by a federal employee, James Montgomery Flagg

This World War I recruitment poster image of Uncle Sam is one of the most recognized posters in the world. The poster cemented the image of bearded Uncle Sam and over 4 million posters were created. It became so popular that it was recreated for World War II and since then used as inspiration for countless other posters.

Painting Uncle Sam

James Montgomery Flagg

James Montgomery Flagg

James Montgomery Flagg originally created the image for the July 6, 1916, issue of Leslie’s Weekly with the title “What Are You Doing for Preparedness?”. When America entered World War I the federal government set up a propaganda division called, Committee on Public Information, headed by one George Creel. Creel, in turn, created a Committee of Pictorial Publicity (COPP) which was to specialize in creating pro-war posters. Flagg joined COPP in 1917 and redesigned his earlier Leslie magazine cover into the present famous poster.

The image is actually based on a very popular British recruitment poster, Kitchener Wants You! (Shown Below), published in 1914 and designed by artist Alfred Leete. Looking for a more stern face for Uncle Sam Flagg used his own features for the face and, “an inescapable, slacker-accusing finger, demanding: I WANT YOU.” During World War II when presenting a copy to President Franklin Delano Roosevelt, Flagg remarked that he had used his own face. Roosevelt replied: “I congratulate you on your resourcefulness in saving model hire. Your method suggests Yankee forebears.”

Uncle Sam

Uncle Sam points from the cover of Leslie's Magazine Feb 15 1917

Uncle Sam points from his 2nd Front Cover of Leslie’s Magazine on Feb 15 1917

Uncle Sam’s origins remain rather murky but seem to have come from the war effort surrounding the War of 1812 when America tried to conquer its northern neighbour, Canada. Legend has it that the meat that the soldiers received had the initials E.A.– the U.S. stamped on all the army-bound food. E.A. stood for government subcontractor Elbert Anderson and the U.S. stood for the United States of America. Some of the soldiers didn’t make the connection and when asked what the initials stood for army suppliers told them, “Elbert Anderson and Uncle Sam” Uncle Sam being another contractor who supplied meat, a much loved Sam Wilson. History.com claims that on Sept 7, 1813, the “United States gets its nickname, Uncle Sam.”
Cecil Adams of the Straight Dope remarks that the story is, “Very neat, but is it true? On the surface, it might seem so. Researchers have established that Elbert Anderson and Sam Wilson did exist and did supply meat to the government during the War of 1812. What’s more, the earliest known reference to Uncle Sam in the sense of the U.S. government appeared in 1813 in the Troy Post.”

However, the first connection with Uncle Sam equaling Sam Wilson doesn’t appear in print until almost 30 years later. Even when Sam Wilson died in 1854 his home papers didn’t mention the Sam Wilson, Uncle Sam connection. The post in 1816 did print a story claiming that Uncle Sam originated from the United States Light Dragoons (USLD) a regiment formed in 1807. This story claims that when asked what was said on their hats the USLD soldiers would say, “Uncle Sam’s Lazy Dogs.” In any event, Uncle Sam’s origins will remain shrouded in history.

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Starving Sudanese girl

Behind the camera: Kevin Carter
Where: Ayod, Sudan (Now South Sudan)
Photo Summary: Young Sudanese girl crawling to the food station
Picture Taken: March 1993

In March of 1993 the combination of civil war, drought had created famine conditions throughout Southern Sudan. Reporting on the starving people Kevin Carter and other journalists flew into Ayod, Sudan (Now in the newly created country of South Sudan) where he took this famous picture of a young Sudanese girl crawling to the food station. For the image he won the 1994 Pulitzer Prize Winner for Feature Photography.

Taking the image

In 1983 the East African Famine had struck the whole region leaving millions starving in Africa. Carter was anxious to cover the event and took a leave of absence from his newspaper job and borrowed money to pay for the flight. At Ayod, Sudan a small village that became a food aid station, starving people from hundreds of kilometers away staggered into the camp to get food but were still dying at an incredible rate of twenty an hour. Seeing such horror Carter went out into the open bush outside the camp where he heard a whimper and walking towards the sound found the young girl resting on the ground. A vulture settled down nearby and Carter waited twenty minutes hoping it would spread its wings allowing him to snap a better picture. When the bird didn’t comply he snapped the now infamous shot and then shooed away the vulture. Distraught at not being able to help any of the people at Ayod he sat under a tree and cried in despair.
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Controversy

Returning from Ayod Carter was able to sell the image to the New York Times who published it on March 26, 1993. Almost immediately people phoned and wrote to the newspaper asking about the fate of the small girl. When it was learned that the journalist didn’t help the girl and that her fate was unknown people accused him of exploiting the desperate scene even though at the briefing in Sudan the journalists were warned that touching any of the famine victims was strictly forbidden. American papers like the St. Petersburg (The Florida city) Times slammed Carter saying “The man adjusting his lens to take just the right frame of her suffering, might just as well be a predator, another vulture on the scene.” Carter took the criticism harshly and spiralled into depression and drug use.

Kevin Carter

Carter was born in 1960 in South Africa during the height of apartheid. As a child, he saw how the injustice at how the state dealt with blacks and became outraged. He got a job as a photographer and quickly made a name for himself when he took a number of pictures of the anti-apartheid demonstrations and violent incidents in South Africa. He quickly fell into a group of like-minded individuals and “They put themselves in face of danger, were arrested numerous times, but never quit. They literally were willing to sacrifice themselves for what they believed in,” says American photojournalist James Nachtwey, who often worked with Carter and his group of friends.
Travelling in groups for safety Carter and his three friends Ken Oosterbroek, Greg Marinovich and Joao Silva covered the intense violence of the country as groups vied for power and fought the apartheid state. They became infamous for getting in the thick of things and were known as the The Bang-Bang Club
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Carter had a number of pictures published but what he was seeing in the violence of the townships was affecting his mental stability. He resorted to drugs to dull the pain and to forget the horrors he saw. He found a brief respite after winning the 1994 Pulitzer Prize Winner for Feature Photography and was headhunted by the prestigious photo agencies but after a number of bungled assignments, the death of Bang Bang member Ken Oosterbroek and mounting debts he became even more depressed and despondent. On Wednesday, July 27, 1994, Carter drove his vehicle to his childhood neighborhood ran a hose from the exhaust to the cab and killed himself via carbon monoxide poisoning. His suicide note wrote that he was “depressed . . . without phone . . . money for rent . . . money for child support . . . money for debts . . . money!!! . . . I am haunted by the vivid memories of killings & corpses & anger & pain . . . of starving or wounded children, of trigger-happy madmen, often police, of killer executioners . . . ” And then this: “I have gone to join Ken if I am that lucky.”

Pictures from other Wars

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SAS assault on the Iranian Embassy

Behind the camera: BBC footage Screen Capture
Where: Iranian Embassy – 16 Princes Gate, South Kensington, London, United Kingdom
Photo Summary: John ‘Mac’ McAleese leading SAS Team 1 into the building
Picture Taken: May 5, 1980

The Siege of the Iranian Embassy, located at 16 Princes Gate London, began at 1130 AM on April 30th, 1980. The Siege lasted six days and was eventually concluded after a daring raid by the British Special Air Service (SAS). Five of the six armed Iranian terrorists were killed, and 19 of the 26 hostages were saved.

Terrorists take the Embassy

At 11:30 a.m. on 30 April 1980, six armed revolutionaries of the Democratic Revolutionary Movement for the Liberation of Arabistan (DRMLA) burst into the Iranian Embassy at No. 16 Princes Gate, London firing weapons and taking twenty-six hostages. The police constable on guard outside the Embassy, Trevor Lock, was on duty was taken captive. In addition to the other 23 hostages, 2 BBC employees, journalist Chris Cramer and sound man Sim Harris were also taken as hostages while they were applying for visas.
The Terrorists came well armed with a small arsenal, including SMG and Browning 9mm pistols (loaded with hollow-point ammunition), a .38 revolver, and Russian-made hand grenades. They were protesting against oppression by Ayatollah Khomeini who had come to power in Iran during the previous year. Their demands were as follows:

One: we demand our human and legitimate rights. Two: we demand freedom, autonomy and recognition of the Arabistan people. Three: we demand the release of ninety-one Arab prisoners in Arabistan. [Then came the threat] If all the demands are not met by noon on Thursday, May 1, the Embassy and all the hostages will be blown up.

In addition to this, they demanded a plane to fly them out of British airspace.
Negotiations continued into the third day and deadlines came and went, Oan, the 27-year-old leader of the terrorists codenamed “Salim” (real name: Awn Ali Mohammed), became increasingly irritated with his lack of progress. Such was his obvious agitation, that authorities decided to agree to his request to the broadcast of his demands on national television. This seemingly promising step backfired, however, when the BBC incorrectly reported portions of his statement. Instead of pacifying him, this mistake further enraged the terrorist leader, and he vowed that the British hostages would now be the last to be released. At this point, the police decided to intervene. They transcribed Oan’s new demands verbatim as they were shouted from a first-floor window. This positive development prompted Oan to release two hostages, in return for a promise from authorities that the statement would be read promptly on the BBC TV News.
Any hope for a peaceful resolution to the siege ended at 1:45 p.m. on 05 May when Oan shot and killed Abbas Lavasani, the Iranian press attache and dropped his body out of a door to the Embassy. Upon hearing this news, Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher gave permission for the SAS to take the building.

Storming the Embassy: Operation NIMROD

Unbeknownst to the terrorists at any time, PC Trevor Lock had managed, during his capture, to activate an alert device concealed on his jacket lapel. The signal was forwarded to the Metropolitan Police’s C13 Anti-terrorist Squad who dispatched to the area around the Embassy and were joined shortly thereafter by members of C7, Scotland Yard’s electronic eavesdropping and surveillance branch. Sniper and counter-sniper positions were also manned by police sharpshooters.
While these events took place, at the headquarters of the 22 Special Air Service Regiment located at Hereford, a call was received by a former member of the unit’s “D Squadron” who at the time was working as a dog handler for the Metropolitan police. Receiving the call and a brief assessment of the situation through the grassroots intelligence network comprised of such former SAS operators gave the units Special Projects (SP) team of the SAS counter-revolutionary warfare ring a valuable “heads up” and they were able to immediately scramble the necessary personnel.

The members of B squadrons “Pagoda Troop”, the alert team always kept on standby within the SAS specifically for these types of situations, were going through standard Close Quarter Battle (CQB) drills within the Hereford “Kill House” when all their pagers went off simultaneously with the “999” code signalling that this was a real-life event, not a training exercise. They mobilized and were set up at a barracks in Regents Park London and had two-man teams conducting clandestine surveillance of the embassy, even going on to the roof, that very same night.
To mask efforts at surveillance and the storming of the building, all aircraft landing and taking off from Heathrow airport in London were ordered to fly considerably lower over the Embassy. In addition to this, jackhammers were used outside the embassy to mask the sound of drilling on walls for C7 specialists to plant various listening devices and fibre optic probes necessary for the SAS to ascertain exactly what rooms the terrorists were in.
After briefly questioning a janitor that worked in the embassy, it became clear that the initial tools for going through windows into a structure ie. a sledgehammer would not work due to the heavy, bulletproof glass used in the construction of the embassy. It was determined that specially shaped explosive charges should be employed.

The equipment used by the SAS operators for this assault contained Bristol body armour, Heckler & Koch MP5s, Browning High Power Pistols, lightweight Northern Ireland boots (good for running and kicking in doors), S6 respirators (so they could breathe through the CS gas) and an NBC suit, to be worn under the body armour. The clothing was designed to provoke a psychological response within the terrorists when confronted by this totally black, barely human figure the fraction of a second gained could be the difference between life and death.
The SAS had debriefed two hostages that had been released and had been told that the Terrorists had grenades, even some had them in their pockets. This resulted in a decision being made to “go in hard and hot” and eliminate anyone identified as a terrorist with extreme prejudice.
The assault started at 19:23 hours on 5 May 1980 23 minutes after the dead hostage had been thrown from the building. An explosive charge went off at the rear of the building shattering the skylight, raining glass and debris down and effectively stunning anyone in the second-floor stairwell. All power to the building was also cut at this time and the teams moved forward with the assault. A second explosive charge went off almost instantly, shattering the rear doors of the embassy. Five teams then took part in the assault.

Team 1- Using explosive charges on the windows this team entered on the first floor via the balcony. This is the image captured by ITN Cameras.
Team 2- Entered the first floor and clear the basement.
Team 3- Entered the first floor and clear the first floor also acted as a hostage collection point.
Team 4- Abseiled through the shattered skylight onto the second floor.
Team 5- Abseiled from the roof to the rear Balcony and entered there to aid in the clearing of the second floor.

Within 11 minutes 5 of the 6 terrorists were dead and 19 hostages were rescued.

The Picture


Mac

The lead man in the iconic image is John “Mac” McAleese, now 61 years old, is the SAS operator placing the charge on the window just before breaching and leading Team 1 through the windows onto the first floor. In the photo, the SAS can be seen carrying their HKMP5’s and wearing the dull black Bristol body armour and other kit. The image is part of a video seen by millions of people and was broadcast live during the Siege.
Aftermath and Controversy

Not for the last time, the tactics of the SAS were considered by many to be excessive, in particular, the deaths of two terrorists Shai and Makki. These men were, according to the hostages, shot as they lay unarmed and surrendering still within the Embassy. Denis Thatcher, the husband of Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher was quoted as saying “You let one of the bastards live.” However, the raid has been considered an incredible success and is often referred to as a textbook case of both counterterrorism and the employment of the special forces.

Recent Activity

Since 2009 the image has seen a resurgence in the media. Paul McAleese, son of siege hero and the lead man in the siege image John McAleese, was killed in Afghanistan on August 20th, 2009. His father John has spoken out regarding the insufficient levels of troop strength on the ground in Afghanistan.

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