Fucking Awesome: Life Magazine Reveals Never Before Seen WWII Photos


"A never-published Vandivert photograph, illustrating a common practice of soldiers through the centuries: scrawling graffiti to honor fallen comrades, insult the vanquished, or simply announce, I was here. I survived. "Columns at entrance into Chancellery gardens," wrote Vandivert of this eerie scene, "showing bomb and artillery wreckage and names of Russians who fell in fighting there." From Life Magazine Online

Life Magazine has a really awesome story up on their website called “Inside Hitler’s Bunker,” showcasing many never before published photos from Life photographer William Vandivert.

From the article:

“William Vandivert was on the scene, photographing Berlin’s devasted landscape. Hundreds of thousands perished in the Battle of Berlin — including untold numbers of civilian men, women, and children — while countless more were left homeless in the ruins. But it was two particular deaths — that of Hitler and his longtime companion and (briefly) wife, Eva Braun — in a sordid underground bunker on April 30, 1945, that truly signaled the end of the Third Reich. Here, LIFE.com presents never-before-published images from both the bunker itself, and the decimated city beyond its concrete walls.”

In a never-published photo, Russian soldiers and an unidentified civilian struggle to move a large bronze Nazi Party eagle which once loomed over a doorway of the Reich Chancellery in Berlin. "They are loading this on to a truck," Vandivert typed in his notes, "to be carried away as a trophy." From Life Magazine Online

These photographs give the viewer a sense of  both the brutality of the war, as well as the celebratory nature of the Russian and American troops who invaded Berlin after the German surrender. There are even photos of soldiers examining the suicide site of Hitler and Eva Braun, including the blood stains on the couch.

It is absolutely worth checking out the full article with 12 more pictures at Life Magazine online.

This never-before-published image not only captures the chaotic state of Hitler's bunker when Vandivert made his way there in 1945, but also features an item that recalls the wanton gangsterism and greed that characterized Nazi rule: a 16th-century painting looted from a museum in Milan. In the typed notes (see next slide) that Vandivert sent to LIFE's New York offices "immediately after getting to Berlin," Vandivert described his intense and harried visit to the bunker: "(Note and note well)," he wrote "These pix were made in the dark with only candle for illumination since lights were only on in two rooms and when we were there there were no lights at all. Our small party of four beat all rest of mob who came down about forty minutes after we got there." From Life Magazine Online

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~ by K. Ritcheson on April 30, 2010.

One Response to “Fucking Awesome: Life Magazine Reveals Never Before Seen WWII Photos”

  1. […] Pacific During WWII Well my darlings, it seems to be a World War II oriented day as earlier I posted pictures and links to Life Magazine’s online feature: “Inside Hitler’s […]

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