OLD WAR MOVIES

OLD WAR MOVIES

OLD WAR MOVIES

...The 20th century has been characterized by three developments of great political importance: The growth of democracy, the growth of corporate power and the growth of corporate propaganda against democracy.

Friday, June 9, 2017



The Blitz has never looked so cheery! Incredible colour photos show how Britain kept calm and carried on with bunker parties, cups of tea - and making sure the milk still got delivered


  • Images include people browsing in bombed-out Holland House Library in Kensington, west London
  • Others show defiant Britons celebrating Christmas 1940 in air-raid shelter; and damaged St Pancras station 
  • The incredible pictures were colourised by electrician, Royston Leonard from Cardiff



As the Luftwaffe rained down terror from the skies during the Blitz, Britain remained defiant.
These uplifting colourised photographs reveal how the nation managed to smile, keep calm and carry on - and celebrate Christmas with their families, even it was in cramped underground shelters.
In light of the recent wave of terror attacks in Manchester and London, the spirit of the Blitz  - which lasted from September 1940 to May 1941 - serves as a timely reminder of how Britain has always reacted in the face of such atrocities.
Other images include a defiant milkman doing his rounds through a trail of destruction, men browsing books in a bombed-out library and a woman drinking tea while sitting on a pile of rubble. 

These wonderful colourised photographs show how Britons managed to smile and remain defiant during the Blitz. Above, families in London celebrate Christmas in 1940 - in the very cramped conditions of an underground shelter
These wonderful colourised photographs show how Britons managed to smile and remain defiant during the Blitz. Above, families in London celebrate Christmas in 1940 - in the very cramped conditions of an underground shelter
A milkman carries on his duty while walking over rubble in London, October 1940; in the background, firemen battle the aftermath of the 32nd straight night of bombing
A milkman carries on his duty while walking over rubble in London, October 1940; in the background, firemen battle the aftermath of the 32nd straight night of bombing
In September 1940, Holland House in Kensington, west London, was heavily bombed. Miraculously, much of the structure of its library survived - giving bookworms the chance to still indulge their passion
In September 1940, Holland House in Kensington, west London, was heavily bombed. Miraculously, much of the structure of its library survived - giving bookworms the chance to still indulge their passion
'The pictures show that community is all that matters, not buildings or material things... the more people try to destroy us, the more we will smile and carry on,' said Royston Leonard from Cardiff, who colourised this set of photographs
'The pictures show that community is all that matters, not buildings or material things... the more people try to destroy us, the more we will smile and carry on,' said Royston Leonard from Cardiff, who colourised this set of photographs
Drink tea and carry on: A woman finds time for a brew and contemplation after a German bombing raid in 1940
Drink tea and carry on: A woman finds time for a brew and contemplation after a German bombing raid in 1940
The World War Two pictures were modified by electrician, Royston Leonard from Cardiff, who does colourisation as a hobby.
'The Blitz was a very hard time when life still carried on around the country,' said Mr Leonard.
'The pictures show that community is all that matters, not buildings or material things. Their message is that the more people try to destroy us, the more we will smile and carry on.'
During the eight-month Blitz, the raids by Nazi Germany killed 43,000 civilians.
Mr Leonard said that his passion for colourisation has helped him improve his photography skills.
'I have learnt so much from colourising, I feel it has helped my photography along the way,' he said.
'The message is already there for all to see in the pictures themselves but I do feel that colourisation helps the younger generation to understand that what happened was real.
'I love giving more life to the pictures and I think that colour improves the story that the photographs tell.' 
The Blitz lasted for eight months from September 1940 to May 1941. The raids by Nazi Germany killed 43,000 civilians. Above, firemen tackle a blaze near London Bridge
The Blitz lasted for eight months from September 1940 to May 1941. The raids by Nazi Germany killed 43,000 civilians. Above, firemen tackle a blaze near London Bridge
Aldwych Underground Station was used as a major air raid shelter which could accommodate up to 1,500 people
Aldwych Underground Station was used as a major air raid shelter which could accommodate up to 1,500 people
Men are seen inspecting the damage after an air raid on Elephant and Castle Road, south-east London
Men are seen inspecting the damage after an air raid on Elephant and Castle Road, south-east London
During the Nazi air assault, London was attacked 71 times and bombed by the Luftwaffe for 57 consecutive nights
During the Nazi air assault, London was attacked 71 times and bombed by the Luftwaffe for 57 consecutive nights
St Pancras station in central London was hit several times - the worst being May 1941, when it was hit by five bombs 
St Pancras station in central London was hit several times - the worst being May 1941, when it was hit by five bombs 

Bombing Britain: The relentless terror of the Blitz

The Blitz (from the German word 'lightning') was the most intense bombing campaign Britain has ever seen.
Between September 1940 and May 1941, there were major raids with hundreds of tonnes of high explosives dropped on 16 British cities.
London was attacked 71 times and bombed by the Luftwaffe for 57 consecutive nights.
More than one million London houses were destroyed or damaged, and 43,000 were killed, almost half of them in London
The Blitz (from the German word, 'lightning') was the most intense bombing campaign Britain has ever seen
The Blitz (from the German word, 'lightning') was the most intense bombing campaign Britain has ever seen
Birmingham, Liverpool and Plymouth were also hit eight times, Bristol six, Glasgow five, Southampton four, Portsmouth three, and there was also at least one large raid on another eight cities.
Deeply buried shelters provided the most protection against a direct hit, although the government in 1939 refused to allow Tube stations to be used as shelters so as not to interfere with commuter and troop travel.
However, by the second week of heavy bombing, the government relented and ordered the stations to be opened.
Each day, orderly lines of people queued until 4pm, when they were allowed to enter the stations, and by mid-September 1939 about 150,000 a night slept in the Underground.
Despite the blanket bombing of the capital, some landmarks remained intact - such as St Paul's Cathedral, which was virtually unharmed, despite many buildings around it being reduced to rubble during the 57 nights of raid.
On the evening of Saturday May 10, 1941 the Luftwaffe mounted its last major bombing raid of the Blitz on London, known as 'The Longest Night', bringing to an end a deadly campaign. 





How the Blitz sent Britain sex mad:

  • During German bombing campaign, British public had to stay entertained
  • New book claims that underground bunkers became hotbed of sex
  • Alleges that 'sexual revolution' began - which even still influences us now
  • Blitzed lasted 267 days, left a million houses destroyed or damaged and killed 40,000 people


As the flames leapt into the air with a deafening roar and the sparks rained down in fiery showers, a young couple looked on in awe. A huge wood yard on London’s Embankment had been ignited by a stray bomb.
Returning home soon after, the man and his companion became aware of a second wave of bombers above. But heading for an air-raid shelter was the last thing on their minds. Instead, in the face of mortal danger, they launched into a night of passionate, abandoned lovemaking.
‘That night fear and pleasure combined to provoke a mood of wild exhilaration,’ wrote Peter Quennell, who would later become a renowned biographer and historian, eventually being knighted in 1992. ‘The impact of a bomb a few hundred yards away merely sharpened pleasure’s edge.’
The next day he and his girlfriend Astrid had wandered, ‘agreeably bemused’, among the shattered streets of Mayfair, ‘crunching underfoot green glaciers of broken glass strewn ankle deep upon the pavements’, remembered Quennell, in his autobiography more than three decades later.
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The Blitz intensified sexual desire. A full two decades before the so-called permissive society of the Sixties, a dramatic, if understated, sexual revolution was already taking place — one which would, significantly, prove to be a forerunner of the mores by which Britons live today
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The Blitz intensified sexual desire. A full two decades before the so-called permissive society of the Sixties, a dramatic, if understated, sexual revolution was already taking place — one which would, significantly, prove to be a forerunner of the mores by which Britons live today
‘People had love affairs they wouldn’t have had before the war,’ says Alison Wilson, who was a schoolgirl as the Blitz raged in 1940 and 1941. Her mother was one of many who, despite being married, took wartime lovers — in her case, a Scottish civil servant posted to London.
‘He was a married man with two children, and after the war he went back to his family,’ adds Wilson. ‘There was a live-for-the-moment attitude. You never knew when you were going to be killed by a bomb.’
The Blitz holds an extraordinary place in the British psyche. Over 267 days, between September 7, 1940 and May 21, 1941, a sustained aerial bombardment left a million houses destroyed or damaged in London alone, and 40,000 people, many of them civilians, dead.
Now, as Britain prepares to mark the 75th anniversary of the beginning of the Blitz, the question of what it was like actually to live through it remains as emotive and politically charged as ever. How did the country’s citizens really behave in their darkest hour?
Did they sing Roll Out The Barrel in communal shelters, shaking their fists at ‘bloody Adolf’ and cheerfully dodging the debris the next morning on their way to work? Or did they loot from bombed-out houses, fiddle their rations and curse foreigners, while all the time hoping for a negotiated peace that would save their wretched lives?
The truth, of course, is that they did both. But they did something else, too, that is perhaps less well documented: they got to know each other in ways that would have been unthinkable in Forties peacetime.
The Blitz intensified sexual desire. A full two decades before the so-called permissive society of the Sixties, a dramatic, if understated, sexual revolution was already taking place — one which would, significantly, prove to be a forerunner of the mores by which Britons live today.
It was not just the risk of death that made this first sexual revolution possible. The blackout offered anonymity and excitement. The arrival of foreigners — coinciding with the departure of husbands — offered hitherto unheard-of temptation, while the evacuation of children left mothers suddenly free from their parental responsibilities and with unexpected time on their hands.
Underground air-raid shelters offered unprecedented opportunities for sexual liaisons. What else could be expected when people were lying alongside each other in the dark for long periods, alternately scared and bored?
Underground air-raid shelters offered unprecedented opportunities for sexual liaisons. What else could be expected when people were lying alongside each other in the dark for long periods, alternately scared and bored?
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Underground air-raid shelters offered unprecedented opportunities for sexual liaisons. What else could be expected when people were lying alongside each other in the dark for long periods, alternately scared and bored?
Humorist and author Caryl Abrahams reported overhearing the following exchange in a public shelter, in which the Warden said: ‘Are there any expectant mothers in this shelter?’ and a woman replied: ‘Give us a chance! We’ve only been here ten minutes!’
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Humorist and author Caryl Abrahams reported overhearing the following exchange in a public shelter, in which the Warden said: ‘Are there any expectant mothers in this shelter?’ and a woman replied: ‘Give us a chance! We’ve only been here ten minutes!’
In November 1940 an outraged probation officer at Southwark Juvenile Court spoke of seeing ‘youngsters in their teens, of mixed sexes, making up their beds together on the floors of public shelters, even under their parents’ eyes’.
And a Mass Observation report from one of London’s largest shelters asserted that ‘prolonged observation, night after night’ had revealed ‘necking among young couples,’ along with glimpses of couples ‘engaged in sexual intercourse in the darker areas’.
Humorist and author Caryl Abrahams reported overhearing the following exchange in a public shelter:
Warden: ‘Are there any expectant mothers in this shelter?’ Woman: ‘Give us a chance! We’ve only been here ten minutes!’
The statistics tell their own story. The number of illegitimate births in England and Wales jumped from 24,540 in 1939 to 35,164 in 1942. The incidence of venereal disease rose by 70 per cent over the same period.
Ronald Blyth, a young man in 1940, remembers that inhibitions disappeared. ‘There was a huge amount of adventure, excitement and romance, because there was a breaking down of conventions,’ he says. ‘London was full of foreigners, and women behaving amazingly. It was a permissive period more secretive than the Sixties, and never quite admitted.’
Flamboyant writer and raconteur Quentin Crisp, had similar memories. ‘As soon as the bombs started to fall, the city became like a paved double bed,’ he wrote. ‘Voices whispered suggestively to you as you walked along; hands reached out if you stood still and in dimly lit trains people carried on as they had once behaved only in taxis.’
The Blitz holds an extraordinary place in the British psyche. Over 267 days, between September 7, 1940 and May 21, 1941, a sustained aerial bombardment left a million houses destroyed or damaged in London alone, and 40,000 people, many of them civilians, dead 
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The Blitz holds an extraordinary place in the British psyche. Over 267 days, between September 7, 1940 and May 21, 1941, a sustained aerial bombardment left a million houses destroyed or damaged in London alone, and 40,000 people, many of them civilians, dead
A Mass Observation report from one of London’s largest shelters asserted that ‘prolonged observation, night after night’ had revealed ‘necking among young couples,’ along with glimpses of couples ‘engaged in sexual intercourse in the darker areas’ 
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A Mass Observation report from one of London’s largest shelters asserted that ‘prolonged observation, night after night’ had revealed ‘necking among young couples,’ along with glimpses of couples ‘engaged in sexual intercourse in the darker areas’


Such increased sexual awareness had many manifestations. Working in a factory making military uniforms, one married woman slipped her address into the jacket pockets with the message: ‘Write to me if you’re in the mood and I’ll be in the nude.’
In a letter to the racy wartime magazine London Life, a correspondent calling himself ‘Shelterer’ records how he had been sitting in an air-raid shelter with a young actress who was reading an issue of the publication containing articles about sexual peccadillos.
This led others in the shelter to discuss their personal pleasures: underwear, corsets, body piercing, dressing in rubber and even a phenomenon known as ‘human pony riding’. The group became so involved in their discussion, they failed to react to a bomb exploding nearby.
When a warden came rushing in to find out whether anybody had been hurt, he was told that they had been far too busy talking to pay any attention to what was going on outside. The group decided that in the event of another raid they would host a special evening in the shelter where everyone would dress according to their own pleasure.
There was a huge amount of adventure, excitement and romance, because there was a breaking down of conventions.
Ronald Blyth, a young man in 1940
History does not relate whether this took place. But it does record that London Life featured on its cover in May 1941 three showgirls dressed in only underwear and gas masks. A more powerful symbol of the sexualisation of the Blitz would be hard to find.
Even in the absence of direct danger, the routine of violence during the Blitz was raising the nation’s temperature in a way simply unknown before, releasing neuroses and bringing all kinds of extreme behaviour within reach.
Gerald Dougherty was an ambulance and Light Rescue worker with vivid memories of the first day of the Blitz. Having spent the afternoon at a concert in Central London, he emerged to a fiery scarlet sky and the sound of aeroplanes and anti-aircraft fire overhead.
He immediately headed for the nearby Fitzroy Tavern in Soho, a pub known as a gay meeting place. ‘I thought, I may die tonight. I’m going to see what it’s like,’ he said.
Gerald left the pub with another man and they ran through Soho, dodging shrapnel as it sparked on pavements. Reaching Charing Cross Station, they found there were no trains running, so climbed into the first-class compartment of a stationary carriage.
‘It was most exciting, with the bombs dropping and the glass shattering,’ he recalled many years later. ‘I thought, this is the way to spend the first night of the Blitz — in the arms of a barrow boy in a railway carriage.’
The statistics tell their own story. The number of illegitimate births in England and Wales jumped from 24,540 in 1939 to 35,164 in 1942. The incidence of venereal disease rose by 70 per cent over the same period
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The statistics tell their own story. The number of illegitimate births in England and Wales jumped from 24,540 in 1939 to 35,164 in 1942. The incidence of venereal disease rose by 70 per cent over the same period
In the Armed Forces, too, homosexuality seems to have been unofficially tolerated. A Mass Observation correspondent in the Royal Army Medical Corps said it was well known that sexual activity was taking place in barrack room beds — the participants were admitting it freely.
The Corps’ recruits, he reported, came from all walks of life. Some were already ‘well versed in these [homosexual] arts, while the majority had no other outlet for their sexual frustration’.
He added that a number of men ‘are definitely treated as females by the others’. These men sometimes wore make-up, were known by female names and spoke often about the officers and NCOs who liked to ‘utilise their services’.
Although homosexuality would be illegal in England for another quarter of a century, the arrest of gay men was no longer a police priority. The fact that public attention was focused elsewhere allowed homosexuality to become more visible than it had ever been — or would be for many years in the future.
It could be argued that Britain’s new found sexual freedom was nothing more than a simple extension of the national sense of unity.
Joan Varley was a young woman living in London during the Blitz. One night she boarded a bus, climbed to the top deck and sat at the back. There was only one other passenger, there, a man sitting at the front.
As the bus drove through Westminster, Joan heard a bomb falling. The bus driver made a sudden sharp turn and went down side streets, as the bomb went off elsewhere. But while it was falling the man had walked down the bus, sat next to Joan and taken her hand.
‘Neither of us spoke a word,’ she remembers. ‘And once we were through the bomb area, he moved back to the front seat.’
SEXUAL ASSAULTS: PREDATORS WHO STRUCK IN THE BLACKOUT
There was a dark side to the spirit of freedom. As sexual activity increased, so did incidents of sexual assault. Mary Warschauer, a young woman in London during the Blitz, was approached in the dark one evening by a man who pushed her backwards into a doorway.
‘I was pretty strong in those days,’ says Mary, ‘and I gave him the hardest slap in the face.’ The man reacted unexpectedly. First he spat at her like a cat, before gripping her shoulders and shaking her until her pinned-up hair fell down her back. Only then did he run off.
A former WAAF, stationed in Yorkshire, remembers enjoying the opportunities offered by her new life. ‘I learned to drink beer at the pub,’ she recalls. ‘It was a coming-out. I was getting amongst the men. I was enjoying myself.’
There was a particular man, however, a French Canadian medical officer, about whom the WAAF had a bad feeling, which later turned out to be justified. ‘I won’t say what happened, but to this day, I resent having had to pay for my torn uniform,’ she says.
‘There was no point reporting it — it would have been his word against mine, and who was I? I think that happened to quite a number of women.’
Such intuitive companionship in extreme circumstances is barely any different from Peter Quennell’s memories of lying beside his girlfriend after a night of lovemaking: in both cases the people involved were able to imagine themselves safe, their intimacy allowing them, if only fleetingly, to forget the terrible events unfolding around them.
Perhaps it was for this reason that ‘wartime marriages’ such as that experienced by Alison Wilson’s mother and her lover were looked upon with sympathy. Ronald Blyth remembers: ‘One charming couple I knew, they were engaged before the war. She was in London, he was in the Army in the Middle East. They decided when they got married in 1946 that they wouldn’t ask each other about anything that had happened during hostilities.’
As writer Matt Wingett says: ‘People didn’t know if they were going to be alive tomorrow, so they took their fun wherever they could.’
Freedoms did not spread unchecked, however. A number of high-profile individuals and organisations fought to maintain standards. The Public Morality Council, for example, founded in 1899 to combat vice and indecency, remained vigilant throughout the war.
Its records for June 1940 reveal that an observer had found public lavatories at London’s Victoria Station, to be ‘infested’ by large numbers of ‘male perverts’.
The council’s main obsession, however, was prostitution. The same observer listed 12 Soho addresses in use as ‘disorderly houses’. Another observer reported that as many as 40 ‘undesirable women’ were regularly loitering around surface air-raid shelters on the Bayswater Road.
Mrs E Cullen was protected by her Anderson Shelter when a bomb fell nearby during a German raid that reached the south-west suburbs of London
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Mrs E Cullen was protected by her Anderson Shelter when a bomb fell nearby during a German raid that reached the south-west suburbs of London
He monitored a man and woman speaking outside one of the shelters. He tried to follow them inside, but another woman stepped in front of him to block his way.
The observer hurried to the other side of the shelter, hoping to get in unobserved — but the woman acting as guard called out a warning. By the time he got inside the shelter, the couple had separated — although the man appeared to be ‘adjusting his clothing’.
A Public Morality Council patrol in November 1941 established that Shepherd Market, in Mayfair, was ‘overrun by both English and foreign prostitutes’ who were established ‘in nearly all the flats of the district’.
In another part of London, a prostitute named Yetta Lewis had been working out of a filthy, disused shop in Drummond Street, near Euston Station, with several other women before it was raided by police.
Lewis had one previous conviction for soliciting — dating back to 1917. She might therefore be considered one of the more unusual veterans of two World Wars.
People didn’t know if they were going to be alive tomorrow, so they took their fun wherever they could.
Writer Matt Wingett
Some prostitutes worked in even worse conditions. James Morten patrolled the area around Tilbury air-raid shelter in 1940, and remembers many prostitutes plying their trade. ‘Bearing in mind there were still a lot of horse-drawn carriages about,’ he says, ‘the prostitutes used to be under the carts, on the carts, what have you, going full blast.’
Stan Poole was a wartime member of the Auxiliary Fire Service in London. In 2001, he gave an interview to Peter Hart of the Imperial War Museum in which he recalls entering a damaged house in the West End. ‘Up the stairs and in the back, there were three women. They didn’t have any clothes on. Whether they’d been blown off them or they’d got up in a panic, I’ll never know.’
From straight encounters to gay relationships, from lonely housewives and prostitutes to frustrated soldiers, Britain’s moral and sexual life was profoundly affected by the Blitz and war conditions. The spirit that drove people to break down barriers on the bus was the same spirit that drove strangers to hold each other close at night. ‘War is a prolonged passionate act,’ wrote the author Elizabeth Bowen, ‘and we were involved in it.’
But as the war came to an end, the authorities were keen to slam the door on the new freedoms, and to revert to pre-war standards of morality. In July 1945, the Archbishop of Canterbury, Geoffrey Fisher, gave a sermon urging Britons to turn away from wartime immorality and sexual indulgence, and to re-embrace Christian lives.
But as the war came to an end, the authorities were keen to slam the door on the new freedoms, and to revert to pre-war standards of morality
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But as the war came to an end, the authorities were keen to slam the door on the new freedoms, and to revert to pre-war standards of morality
A few days later, David R. Mace, secretary of the Marriage Guidance Council, wrote in The Spectator magazine: ‘Never in human history has family life suffered disintegration upon a scale commensurate with that which the past six years has witnessed.’
He urged a return to chastity: ‘We must inculcate, through every educational agency at our disposal, sound values and high ideals.’
In other words, the nation must be reconditioned to pre-war values.
And this, more or less, was what happened. The marriage rate leapt by 50 per cent in 1946 as the family ideal flourished. Women were encouraged to leave their newly found workplaces, to return to their old lives, and to engage with maternal responsibilities. The media focused on traditional female roles, feminine fashions returned, and government childcare support was reduced.
In 1951, anthropologist Geoffrey Gorer conducted a social survey, questioning more than 10,000 people about their sexual attitudes.
Their answers demonstrated an overwhelming belief in the importance of marriage and family life over love and sexual satisfaction. The survey also found that 52 per cent of respondents were opposed to any pre-marital sexual experience for men, and 63 per cent for women.
The moral change started by the Blitz was induced by transitory conditions and short-lived opportunities, and the authorities (and many citizens) were keen to reverse it.
But this reversal was itself temporary. Freedoms had been too widely tasted to be forgotten. The values of the post-war period duly gave way to the permissiveness of the Sixties — by which point the youngsters who had experienced so much during the war had grown into middle-aged authority figures, with their own fond memories.
The Woodstock generation may have thought they invented sex, but in truth they were only following a path that had been long since trodden by the uninhibited, trailblazing men and women of the Blitz.
  • Adapted from The Secret History Of The Blitz by Joshua Levine, to be published by

 


























































































German soldiers march through central Paris, a World War II warzone scarred by Nazi occupation.  
Although in these incredible images the streets are also full of modern day cars and tourists.
By pinpointing the exact locations of original photographs, Sergey Larenkov, is able to open a window into the past, revealing how troops and tanks once occupied the French capital.
German soldiers march down the streets of France near the famous Arc de Triomphe  
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German soldiers march down the streets of France near the famous Arc de Triomphe
People hide behind a tanks in the streets of Paris, as in the modern day street shoppers go about their daily business  
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People hide behind a tanks in the streets of Paris, as in the modern day street shoppers go about their daily business
Nazi flags are seen attached to a building while today it is a regular route for buses  
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Nazi flags are seen attached to a building while today it is a regular route for buses
German troops make their way through the streets of Paris  
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German troops make their way through the streets of Paris
Troops and dignitaries march the Parisian streets near the Arc de Triomphe  
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Troops and dignitaries march the Parisian streets near the Arc de Triomphe
Soldiers march down the streets of Paris, France  
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Soldiers march down the streets of Paris, France
People line the streets near the famous Arc de Triomphe  
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People line the streets near the famous Arc de Triomphe
People line the streets in support for allied troops as they make their way through Paris near the famous Arc de Triomphe  
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People line the streets in support for allied troops as they make their way through Paris near the famous Arc de Triomphe
This incredible series of photographs show how Paris would look if soldiers from World War II returned to the streets  
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This incredible series of photographs show how Paris would look if soldiers from World War II returned to the streets
'By stitching the two images together I feel it has the ability to transport someone from a peaceful, modern life to the hardest times of the war period."
'The hardest part of my photography is locating the exact point and angle from which the original picture had been taken, it can be very difficult locating the place, getting to this place, making shot and then processing it.
A man squatting near sandbags in a black and white photo mixed with how the street looks today  
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A man squatting near sandbags in a black and white photo mixed with how the street looks today
'I can spend months perfecting one shot, but other times it only takes me about 30 minutes.
'My grandfather's fought the Nazis defending Leningrad and now they are gone, I feel like I must tell my own children what their ancestors had to overcome, the theme of these photographs are very personal to me.'
Troops with a parked vehicle in the streets of Paris, whilst today a man can be seen flicking through tourist postcards  
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Troops with a parked vehicle in the streets of Paris, whilst today a man can be seen flicking through tourist postcards









































The devastation wreaked on the beaches of Normandy in northwest France as the Allies unleashed their history-changing assault against the Germans has been well-documented.
But in color photos taken by LIFE.com’s Frank Scherschel, but not published at the time, countless other scenes 'of the beginning of the end of the war' were captured.
From the reception troops enjoyed on their way to Paris to the jubilant liberation of the capital from Nazi control, these recently-released photos bring into the focus the spirit of the historic invasion on the 69th anniversary of the landings.
American Army trucks parade down the Champs-Elysées the day after the liberation of Paris by French and Allied troops, August 1944
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American Army trucks parade down the Champs-Elysées the day after the liberation of Paris by French and Allied troops, August 1944
Life after the French capital was liberated in August 1944
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Life after the French capital was liberated in August 1944
Troops and civilians pass the time on Henley Bridge, Henley-on-Thames, in 1944
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Troops and civilians pass the time on Henley Bridge, Henley-on-Thames, in 1944
On June 6, 1944, about 156,000 American, British and Canadian forces, led by General Dwight D. Eisenhower, landed on five beaches along a 50-mile stretch of the heavily fortified coast of France’s Normandy region. By late August 1944, all of northern France had been liberated, and by the following spring the Allies had defeated the Germans.
The Normandy landings have been called the beginning of the end of war in Europe.
Veterans of the 1944 Normandy landings gathered earlier this month on June 6 at the site of history's largest amphibious invasion for a day of ceremonies marking D-Day's 69th anniversary.
Captured German troops: From D-Day until Christmas 1944, German prisoners of war were shipped off to American detention facilities at a rate of 30,000 per month
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Captured German troops: From D-Day until Christmas 1944, German prisoners of war were shipped off to American detention facilities at a rate of 30,000 per month
Allied troops uniting with locals in liberated French towns after D-Day
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Allied troops uniting with locals in liberated French towns after D-Day
An American tank crew takes a breather on the way through the town of Avranches, Normandy, in the summer of 1944
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An American tank crew takes a breather on the way through the town of Avranches, Normandy, in the summer of 1944
OTHER IMAGES CAPTURED AT THE TIME OF THE HISTORIC INVASION
Operation Overlord Normandy: Four Allied soldiers are looking at a map with two French police officers in the center of a town in Normandy, June 1944
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Operation Overlord Normandy: Four Allied soldiers are looking at a map with two French police officers in the center of a town in Normandy, June 1944
In England, American soldiers, having loaded their equipment and supplies onto a landing craft tank, await the signal to begin the D-Day invasion, June 1944
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In England, American soldiers, having loaded their equipment and supplies onto a landing craft tank, await the signal to begin the D-Day invasion, June 1944
Two American members of the Women's Army Corps are looking at a map presented by a uniformed Frenchman in July 1944, after Cherbourg, France, was liberated by the U.S. Army
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Two American members of the Women's Army Corps are looking at a map presented by a uniformed Frenchman in July 1944, after Cherbourg, France, was liberated by the U.S. Army
In the wake of World War II's D-Day invasion, French townspeople wave at arriving Allied forces, Normandy, France, 1944
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In the wake of World War II's D-Day invasion, French townspeople wave at arriving Allied forces, Normandy, France, 1944
Three girls are playing in the sand next to a war-damaged vehicle in Cherbourg, July 1944
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Three girls are playing in the sand next to a war-damaged vehicle in Cherbourg, July 1944
French couple sharing cognac with American tank crew after Allied forces liberated the area
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French couple sharing cognac with American tank crew after Allied forces liberated the area
These eye-opening images bring the devastation of the Blitz into the modern world.
As a nation reflects on the 70th anniversary of one of the most brutal examples of 'total war' these montages blend vintage black and white shots of the carnage of 1940 with colour images of the same locations today.
One image shows a huge crater next to the Bank of England in London - perfectly merged with the same location as it looks today to bring home the dangers and privations that affected every Londoner - and indeed the inhabitants of most of Britain's major towns and cities.
Credit crunch: A different kind of crisis engulfed the Square Mile 70 years ago as German bombs rained on the Bank Of England
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Credit crunch: A different kind of crisis engulfed the Square Mile 70 years ago as German bombs rained on the Bank Of England

These remarkable pictures show the bomb damage of 1940 superimposed with the same scene today:  This view of Bruton Street in London shows Londoners picking their way through rubble on their way to work
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These remarkable pictures show the bomb damage of 1940 superimposed with the same scene today: This view of Bruton Street in London shows Londoners picking their way through rubble on their way to work
Well-dressed businessmen from seven decades ago are seen discussing the damage in the foreground, while modern city slickers pass by oblivious to the carnage that once took place where they now walk.
Another striking fused photograph shows in black and white how workers repaired a huge hole in the pavement just yards from Buckingham Palace. Meanwhile the outer edges of the picture show tourists visiting the royal landmark more recently. 
A black and white shot of  Newton Street in Birmingham, near near to the city's Children's Hospital reveals the snaking lines of firemen's hoses in the aftermath of an aerial incendiary bombardment on the Second City framed by a contemporary colour image of the same scene
In Bristol, firemen in 1942 try to retrieve a car that has plunged into a crater in the centre of city road Park Street, creating an eerie juxtaposition as they are surrounded by current day shoppers going about their business, unaware of the devastation that once brought Britain's cities almost to their knees.
THE BLITZ: THE TERROR FROM THE SKIES
The Blitz began on September 7, 1940, on a glorious sunny afternoon. 'All of a sudden, on the skyline coming up the Thames were black specks like swarms of flies, weaving their way through puffs of smoke,' recalled Robert Baltrop, who witnessed the attack, in Juliet Gardiner's book The Blitz: The British Under Attack.
'I began to hear loud thumps, and those were bombs falling, and clouds of smoke were rising up — clouds of black smoke floating away until you couldn't see anything but a huge bank of smoke, and still they were coming.'
Before then people hadn't really bothered carrying gas masks and air raid warnings were seen as a bit of an inconvenience. But that was all to change for the next harrowing eight months.
The precursor to the raid had been when on August 24 of that year the Luftwaffe offloaded, believed to be in error, seven or eight bombs over London.
This, however, gave Winston Churchill the chance to order raids on Berlin and then came the German retaliation.
The relentless aerial bombardment came to be known as 'the Blitz' after the German word 'Blitzkrieg', meaning lightning war.
In addition to London's streets, several other UK cities - targeted as hubs of the island's industrial and military capabilities - were battered by Luftwaffe bombs including Glasgow, Liverpool, Exeter, Cardiff, Belfast and Southampton and many others.
In London the City and the East End bore the brunt of the bombing with the course of the Thames being used to guide German bombers. Londoners came to expect heavy raids during full-moon periods and these became known as 'bombers'moons'.
Hitler intended to demoralise the country before launching an invasion using his naval and ground forces. The Blitz claimed the lives of 30,000 Londoners and ended on May 16, 1941.
'I'm glad we have been bombed. Now I can look the East End in the face' - The late Queen Mother was sanguine about the damage to Buckingham Palace in September 1940
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'I'm glad we have been bombed. Now I can look the East End in the face' - The late Queen Mother was sanguine about the damage to Buckingham Palace in September 1940
Newton Street in Birmingham showing the wartime scene of April 10, 1941 after it was bombed during the Blitz, and how it looks today
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Newton Street in Birmingham showing the wartime scene of April 10, 1941 after it was bombed during the Blitz, and how it looks today
St George's St in Birmingham where the Evening Mail depot and garage use to be situated on November 19, 1940, which shows the landscape after it was bombed during the Blitz, and how it appears today
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St George's St in Birmingham where the Evening Mail depot and garage use to be situated on November 19, 1940, which shows the landscape after it was bombed during the Blitz, and how it appears today
Pit crew: Rescue workers discuss how to extract a car from this huge hole in the centre of a Bristol street
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Pit crew: Rescue workers discuss how to extract a car from this huge hole in the centre of a Bristol street
Harley Street in London showing the scene after it was bombed during the Blitz (in black and white), and now (in colour).
Harley Street in London showing the scene after it was bombed during the Blitz (in black and white), and now (in colour).

Rarely seen images in colour display the horror and bravery experienced by millions during the Blitz.
These pictures show just some of the moments that will reignite memories for Brits who lived through terrifying raids and give a unique insight to those too young to experience or remember it.
On the week of the 70-year anniversary of the Blitz these shots, from a new ITV documentary, Words Of The Blitz, bring the horrifying series of German air attacks on the UK to life, with scenes of wartime British cities in moving colour images.
destruction
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Horrifying reality: This collection of images taken from the ITV documentary, Words Of The Blitz, reveal the devastating damage the Blitz had on the UK. This picture, above, shows crowds of survivors inspecting the remains of a building in Bristol after being hit during a raid in 1940
These images show devastating bomb damage in Bristol in 1940
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Path of devastation: The documentary features rare colour footage of cities across the country that have been battered by bombs. Above we see a volunteer walking across rubble in Bristol
Seven top British actors including Dominic West, Sheila Hancock and Steven Berkoff will read the diaries and letters of men and women fearing for relatives, watching neighbours' homes obliterated by German bombs and swathes of Luftwaffe aircraft sweeping overhead during shocking raids. 
Hearing the words of teenagers, a woman in love, fire-fighters responding to attacks, nurses treating the injured and dying, and senior government officials will offer viewers a rare and heart-rending glimpse into the deep personal impact of the terrifying air raids. The cast of actors will also be joined by other readers including a Bomb Disposal Officer recently returned from the war in Afghanistan, and by Blitz survivors reading their own accounts first hand. 
Accompanying the words that describe living through the Blitz in fear, and sometimes in excitement, are the incredible sights of London city being slowly crippled by WWII. 
Scenes from outside the dome of St. Paul's Cathedral show a sight that is hard to believe.
These emotive scenes of brave Air raid wardens and a rescue feature in the ITV documentary 'Words of the Blitz'
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Doing their bit: Scenes including those of brave air raid wardens ready for action, above, are accompanied with words describing what it was like to live during the terrifying time
These emotive scenes feature in the ITV documentary 'Words of the Blitz'
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Battling on: It is hoped by Director Paul Copeland that the programme, featuring against-the-odd rescues, above, will show people what really happened in Britain
With the shadow of the huge dome in the foreground, utter devastation fills the camera with several buildings flattened by German bombs.
Director Paul Copeland said: 'We wanted to make the war real. 
'We want to show people that this really happened in Britain, to real Brits and not just people speaking in funny accents and in black and white.
'Having this colour footage that most people have never seen before was a way to achieve that. It leaves you in no doubts that just 70 years ago London and other targets in Britain were being repeatedly attacked and parts of it were devastated.
'There are several images of the Blitz that are used over and over. We wanted to use material that was fresh and gives a new perspective.'
Copeland added: 'It's amazing how much footage is still turning up in old archives and attics.
'Having looked through all this colour footage, I now travel through London and every time I see some old Victorian terraces with a modern building in the middle, it makes me realise that a bomb must have landed there.
'Every time I see a big glass building in the middle of an old block, it's very likely it was a Blitz bomb. It's incredible to think that. The history of the Blitz is all around us.'
This week is the 70th anniversary of the Blitz which tore apart cities
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In memory: This fresh footage has been used to mark the 70th anniversary of the Blitz
Taken in early 1941 from above this shot highlights the terrifying extent of damage in London
A city on its knees: Taken in early 1941 from above this shot highlights the terrifying extent of damage in London
Volunteers worked to pull survivors from rubble of collapsed buildings across the country
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Images of heroism: Volunteers worked to pull survivors from rubble of collapsed buildings across the country
Luftwaffe aircraft swept across the skies during the raids which will be brought to life on the documentary
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Enemy in the skies: Luftwaffe aircraft swept across Britain dropping deadly bombs during the raids
These images, above and below, show terrible bomb damage in the shadow of St Pauls Cathedral  in the heart of the City of London
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Close-call: These images, above and below, show terrible bomb damage in the shadow of St Pauls Cathedral in the heart of the City of London
Accounts of the Blitz will accompany the incredible images during the documentary
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Other moments captured on camera are the thousands of Brits rushing to defend their country. 
Volunteering to become air raid wardens to signal forthcoming attacks and firemen to deal with the outbreak of fires or pull their countrymen from the rubble of collapsed buildings, lines of men are seen marching together in unison before being given their roles. 
Also brought to life are the words describing the moment Hitler launched the biggest air raid in history on September 7, 1940, as 350 enemy bombers escorted by 600 fighters head to pulverise London.
Teenager Colin Perry, whose diary is narrated by Russell Tovey, described the astonishing sight as the colossal raid headed towards the city over Surrey.
He likens the mesmerising formations of fighters swarming around their bombers to 'bees around their queen'.
Describing the attack that followed - pounding the city's docks and killing 400 Londoners - is Romola Garai reading from the diary of Joan Wyndham, then 18 and living in Chelsea.
Young men signed up for national service in 1940, above
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Pulling together: The documentary tells the stories of the young men who signed up for national service in 1940, above
Accounts of the Blitz will accompany the incredible images
Unforgettable: Much of the rarely seen footage has been found in archives
She said: 'Tonight the Blitz started. We saw four bombs fall on Kensington High Street. The sky over by the docks was red, as if it was an enormous sunset. The bombs are lovely. I think it's all thrilling.'
Unknown to Joan, the German bombers would return again and again, leading to over eight months of sustained air raids on Britain that almost brought the country to its knees.
The Blitz lasted until May 10, 1941and saw Britain sustain prolonged periods of heavy bombing by the Nazi Germany air forces in several phases of intensity.
Hitler intended to demoralise the country before launching an invasion using his naval and ground forces.
Much of the footage is available to view at Bristol Records Office, for free, and at the London Transport Museum's new exhibition 'Under Attack: London, Coventry and Dresden' www.ltmuseum.co.uk
Ladies evacuating for an air raid shelter, above
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The spirit of the Blitz: Air raid shelters, pictured, helped to protect people as Nazi Germany air forces bombed the country in several phases of intensity

















































The RAF commander who ordered the controversial fire-bombing of Dresden which killed an estimated 25,000 civilians during World War II said he would do it again in a long lost interview filmed 30 years after the end of the conflict.
Former marshal of the Royal Air Force, Sir Arthur 'Bomber' Harris, gave the green light for the 1945 bombing which reduced the city in Saxony, Germany, to rubble.
The attack was widely criticised because of 'blanket bombing' which hit civilian areas as well as military targets - killing thousands of innocents.
But the newly-discovered interview with Sir Arthur, which was filmed in 1977 and will be aired for the first time on the BBC tonight, shows the RAF chief defending his decision.
Scroll down to watch video
Commander: Air Marshal Arthur 'Bomber' Harris, who planned the majority of the RAF's night raids during World War II, is seen at work in his office
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Commander: Air Marshal Arthur 'Bomber' Harris, who planned the majority of the RAF's night raids during World War II, is seen at work in his office
Casualties: Around 25,000 people were killed by Allied bombers over the course of two night raids on the city of Dresden in Saxony, Germany, in February 1945
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Casualties: Around 25,000 people were killed by Allied bombers over the course of two night raids on the city of Dresden in Saxony, Germany, in February 1945
Fresh evidence: Footage of Air Arthur Harris being interviewed by Air Vice Marshal Tony Mason has emerged 36 years after it was filmed
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Fresh evidence: Footage of Air Arthur Harris being interviewed by Air Vice Marshal Tony Mason has emerged 36 years after it was filmed
And the chief commander of the Bomber Command tells his interviewer, Air Vice Marshal Tony Mason, that he would do it again if he had to.
He said: 'If I had to have the same time again I would do the same again, but I hope I wouldn’t have to.' Sir Arthur then adds: 'I hope it’s been of some use, for future generations in keeping them out of these riots. It never does anybody any good.'
During the interview, Mason discusses how many felt the Dresden attack was 'a city too far'.
However Harris stood his ground saying: 'The bombers kept over a million fit Germans out of the German army… Manning the anti-aircraft defences; making the ammunition, and doing urgent repairs, especially tradesmen.'
Interview: Sir Arthur said he would still make the same decision to bomb Dresden if given his time again
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Interview: Sir Arthur said he would still make the same decision to bomb Dresden if given his time again
Reduced to rubble: The 'blanket bombing' of Dresden was widely criticised as civilian areas were hit as well as military targets
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Reduced to rubble: The 'blanket bombing' of Dresden was widely criticised as civilian areas were hit as well as military targets
Destruction: The capital of Saxony was left in ruins after the Allied air bombings with the Town Hall, pictured in the background, reduced to a shell of a building
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Destruction: The capital of Saxony was left in ruins after the Allied air bombings with the Town Hall, pictured in the background, reduced to a shell of a building
Harris also countered the myth that area bombing was his idea - claiming it was already Government policy.
He said: 'I lived in a shower of directives from the day I took over to the last day of war.
'The directive when I took over was that I wasn't to specifically aim at anything unless ordered to do so and to blast the German cities as a whole.'
Air Marshall Arthur Harris, Head of the RAF Bomber Command, said it was Government policy not to bomb specific targets
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Air Marshall Arthur Harris, Head of the RAF Bomber Command, said it was Government policy not to bomb specific targets
Mason asked Harris why he was ordered to bomb whole cities rather than specific Nazi targets. In response, Harris said: 'They came to the conclusion that they weren’t hitting very much and they didn’t have very much to hit things with…'
Sir Arthur, who died in 1984 aged 91, refused a peerage because his men were denied a campaign medal.
The Bomber Command, which suffered the highest casualty rate of any British unit, losing 55,573 of its 125,000 men, eventually got a memorial last year.
It was erected despite numerous objections from German politicians.
Bomber Command veteran Doug Radcliffe, 89, who is now secretary of the Bomber Command Association, backed his former commander.
He told the Daily Express: 'Our raids meant there were 10,000 88mm anti-aircraft guns pointing up to the sky instead of at our troops and the Russians.
'Dresden was a major centre for the manufacture of opticals, such as gun sights and binoculars.'
He added: 'After Dresden we lost another 700 bombers, and London was being hit by V2s which nobody could fight against.'
It was initially claimed that up to 250,000 civilians lost their lives in the Dresden bombings but an official report released after the war showed the casualty figure was in fact closer to 25,000.
Over two days and nights in February 1945 British and American bombers turned the city into a sea of flames and rubble.
Air raids: Dresden can be seen in flames following allied bombings in February 1945
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Air raids: Dresden can be seen in flames following allied bombings in February 1945
Restoration: Residents can be seen working on the removal of debris from Dresden's Muenzgasse street in 1952
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Restoration: Residents can be seen working on the removal of debris from Dresden's Muenzgasse street in 1952
The victims - mostly women and children - died in savage firestorms whipped up by the intense heat of 2,400 tons of high explosive and 1,500 tons of incendiary bombs.
The newly-found footage will shed more light on Dresden and the actions of the RAF during World War Two.
Professor Richard Aldrich, University of Warwick, said: 'It’s interesting because it’s not done immediately after the second world war, it’s done at a time when there have already been several waves of interpretation about Bomber Command, about Harris himself and so one not only gets his memories which are still clearly quite fresh, but also is commentary on those different interpretations.
'It’s a multi-layered interview and all the more interesting for it.'
HOW THE BOMBER COMMAND CHANGED THE COURSE OF WORLD WAR II
RAF Fighter Command Disbandment Ceremony at Bentley Priory
Sir Arthur Harris was appointed commander-in-chief of The Bomber Command - the unit responsible for defending Britain from aerial attacks and bombing enemy targets - in 1942.
In the early part of the war, the Bomber Command’s raids had little effect.
The bombers only flew at night to reduce the danger of being shot down, but with primitive navigation equipment, this made it difficult to identify and hit a small target.
In 1941, it was decided that The Bomber Command would target entire industrial cities - known as area or blanket bombing.
This policy was endorsed by Churchill and formally adopted in early 1942 as Sir Arthur took the helm of The Bomber Command.
Harris said at the start of the bombing campaign that he was unleashing a whirlwind on Germany.
Working class housing areas were targeted because they had a higher density and firestorms were more likely. This disrupted the German workforce and the Germans capability of producing more weapons.
The plan was highly controversial even before it started, but the Cabinet thought bombing was the only option available to attack Germany directly as a major invasion of the continent was years away. The Soviets were also demanding that the Western Allies do something to relieve the pressure on the Eastern Front.
Brave: The Bomber Command, pictured, lost more soldiers than other unit during WWII
Brave: The Bomber Command, pictured, lost more soldiers than other unit during WWII
Dresden was one of the cities targeted with 'area bombings'. Around 25,000 civilians were killed by allied bombs dropped over the course of two days in February 1945.
The tactic has been strongly criticised leading to accusations of war crimes.
The Bomber Command suffered the highest casualty rate of any British unit - losing 55,573 of its 125,000 men.
After opposition from German politicians, a memorial to The Bomber Command was finally unveiled in Green Park, London, last year.
The memorial to The Bomber that was unveiled in Green Park, London, last year
Tribute: The memorial to The Bomber that was unveiled in Green Park, London, last year


























































Oradour-sur-Glane
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The village has purposely been left untouched since the massacre, to serve both as a shrine to those who died and as a constant reminder of the unremitting evil of the Nazis
On Wednesday, the regional court in Cologne said: 'The prosecutor's office in Dortmund has charged an 88-year-old from Cologne over the murder of 25 people committed by a group, and with aiding and abetting the murder of several hundred people.'
The man was named in documents as Werner C, his last name withheld in accordance with German privacy laws. His lawyer, Rainer Pohlen, said his client was at the village but had nothing to do with the massacre.
Oradour
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Dortmund prosecutor Andreas Brendel told French reporters in Oradour: 'We hope the survivors may be able to help us identify any culprits who are still alive'
Oradour-sur-Glane
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Remains of a burnt out vehicle. A new village of Oradour-sur-Glane was built nearby which is now home to more than 2,000 people, while the abandoned village is popular with tourists curious about the war
Rows of burnt out cars
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Oradour
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Rows of burnt out cars reveal the extent to which the Nazis obliterated the town in 1944
The remains of the church in Oradour
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The remains of the church in which 247 women and 205 children were trapped and killed by the Nazis. The middle window behind the altar is the one through which the only survivor Marguerite Rouffanche escaped
The village has been left untouched since the massacre to serve both as a shrine to those who died and as a constant reminder of the unremitting evil of the Nazis.
On June 10, in 1944, SS Panzer Division member entered the village to avenge a German soldier kidnapped by the French Resistance,
More than 400 women and children were herded into the village church where SS troops soaked the church pews with petrol and barred all exits before setting it on fire.
Only one woman managed to escape the flames.
More than 200 men were herded into a barn where machine gunners opened fire, shooting at their legs so they could not move then dousing them with petrol and setting them alight.
A new village of Oradour-sur-Glane was built nearby which is now home to more than 2,000 people.
Dortmund prosecutor Andreas Brendel told French reporters in Oradour last year: 'We hope the survivors may be able to help us identify any culprits who are still alive.'
Oradour-sur-Glane
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Oradour-sur-Glane in a picture taken not long after the troops left and survivors were left to pick up the pieces
Oradour-sur-Glane
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Robert Hebras, 87 - was one of only six villagers who escaped the carnage - said: 'It is a very strange moment to see German officials here 68 years later'
Oradour-sur-Glane's church
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French historian Guy Perlier told Le Figaro newspaper, 'This illustrates German thinking which insists on shedding light on all acts committed by the German army during this period'
THE HORROR OF JUNE 10 1944: HOW MARGUERITE ROUFFANCHE ESCAPED NAZIS MURDERERS AND LIVED TO TELL THE TALE
Oradour-sur-Glane
Bodies of the victims lined up following the village massacre in 1944
Early on the morning of 10 June 1944, the 2nd SS Panzer Division entered the village of Oradour-sur-Glane to avenge the death of a German officer who had been kidnapped by the French Resistance.
They marched into the town and separated the men from the women and children.
The men were taken to six barns and shed while the women and children were locked in the church while the village was looted.
The men were said to be shot in the legs before being doused in petrol and set alight.
Six men escaped although one was later found nearby and shot dead. In total 190 men perished.
The soldiers proceeded to the church and tried to set it alight. Women and children tried to escape through the doors and windows of the church, but were met with machine-gun fire.
A total of 247 women and 205 children died. Two women and one child survived; one was 47-year-old Marguerite Rouffanche. She hauled herself out of a window behind the altar, followed by a young woman and child. German soldiers shot all three of them, killing the woman and child by wounding Rouffanche who escaped into nearby foliage where she stayed until she was rescued the following day.
The following is part of her testimony read out to the 1953 Bordeaux military tribunal:
'Firing burst out in the church then straw, faggots and chairs were thrown pele-mele onto bodies lying on the stone slabs. I had escaped from the killing and was without injury so I made use of a smoke cloud to slip behind the altar. In this part of the church there are three windows. I made for the widest one in the middle and with the help of a stool used to light the candles, I tried to reach it. I don't know how but my strength was multiplied. I heaved myself up to it as best I could and threw myself out of the opening that was offered to me through the already shattered window. I jumped about nine feet down.
'When I looked up I saw I had been followed in my climb by a woman holding out her baby to me. She fell down next to me but the Germans, alerted by the cries of the baby, machine-gunned us. The woman and the mite were killed and I too was injured as I made it to a neighbouring garden and hid among some rows of peas and waited anxiously for someone to come to help me. That wasn't until the following day at 5 p.m.'
Although several probes have previously been opened into the massacre, they had to be shut down due to a lack of evidence, and many of the Germans involved in the atrocity, including senior officers, were soon killed in the Battle of Normandy.
But when a historian in 2010 discovered documents implicating all six suspects, still alive and now aged between 85 and 86, the case had enough evidence to be re-opened.
Dortmund prosecutor Andreas Brendel said that the aim of last year's visit, the first by German investigators since World War Two was to identify the exact locations where the SS unit was deployed and interview witnesses to the massacre.
Camille Senon, one of the survivors who witnessed the aftermath of the massacre in which her family members died, said: ‘It is considered  a positive gesture by the Germans to send investigators for the first time, 68 years after, even though I would have liked to have seen it happen sooner’.
In September, Joachim Gauck became the first German leader to visit the French 'ghost' village.
The highly symbolic visit was as much a part of France's willingness to face up to its wartime past as Germany's.
Thousands of French including police and railwaymen participated in the Nazi Holocaust, while collaboration with military units like the SS was also rife.
French President Francois Hollande and Mr Gauck were accompanied by two of only three living survivors of the Oradour massacre, including Robert Hebras, 88.
Mr Hebras, who was 19 at the time, hid under the corpses of others who were machine-gunned.
'I was consumed by hatred and vengeance for a long time,' said Mr Hebras, adding: 'We must reconcile with the Germans.'
Oradour-sur-Glane
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Camille Senon, one of the survivors who witnessed the aftermath of the massacre in which her family members died, said: ‘It is considered a positive gesture by the Germans to send investigators'
Oradour-sur-Glane
The remains of the village bakery destroyed by SS troops
Oradour-sur-Glane
Wide shot of the village showing the complete destruction of every single building
Oradour-sur-Glane
Survivors sift through the remains in the immediate aftermath of the 1944 raid by Hitler's troops
Oradour-sur-Glane located on a map of France
Oradour-sur-Glane located on a map of France

































































































































European Cities in War and Peace



Storming the crumbling Reichstag, Soviet troops appear to attack the Berlin landmark as modern day tourists queue to enter the historic building.
But these extraordinary images are the result of merging two pictures taken in the same location over 60 years apart.
Amateur Russian photographer Sergey Larenkov, 42, collected old pictures of five European cities which suffered the heaviest fighting during World War Two.
He spent 12 months painstakingly travelling to Paris, Leningrad (now St Petersburg), Berlin and Prague to re-create the 'today' shots before mixing the pictures together on a computer.
Merge: Red Army storms Reichstag, Berlin, in 1945, as tourists queue to enter the historic building
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Merge: Red Army storms Reichstag, Berlin, in 1945, as tourists queue to enter the historic building
Contrast: 1940 snap of Hitler in Paris is merged with a shot of exact location more than 70 years on
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Contrast: 1940 snap of Hitler in Paris is merged with a shot of exact location more than 70 years on
Defence: Soviet soldiers digging-in at Mozhaisk during the Battle of Moscow in 1941
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Defence: Soviet soldiers digging-in at Mozhaisk during the Battle of Moscow in 1941
In one snap Russian troops appear to be storming into the Reichstag in Berlin while on the steps, modern day tourists queue to visit the home of German politics.
Sergey said he was inspired to create the images after his daughter asked about his grandparents experience of being trapped in Leningrad during the two-year blockade by Nazi troops.
He said: 'I was born in St Petersburg and have lived there for all my life.
'I have been working as a sea pilot for 11 years, I have never worked as a photographer - photography is just my hobby.
Juxtaposed: Soldiers marching in 1941 down a street in Leningrad - now St Petersburg in 2011
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Juxtaposed: Soldiers marching in 1941 down a street in Leningrad - now St Petersburg in 2011
War and peace: The Palace Embankment in Leningrad was a scene of destruction in 1941 - but 71 years later, it glistens in sunshine as one of St Petersburg's most picturesque riverside settings
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War and peace: The Palace Embankment in Leningrad was a scene of destruction in 1941 - but 71 years later, it glistens in sunshine as one of St Petersburg's most picturesque riverside settings
Generations: Tourists flock to the Reichstag in Berlin, where Russia's Marshal Zhukov stood in 1945
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Generations: Tourists flock to the Reichstag in Berlin, where Russia's Marshal Zhukov stood in 1945
'During the Second World War, my grandparents stayed in blockaded Leningrad and protected their city from enemy.
'I started collecting old postcards and photos about ten years ago. 'I like to look at old cards and work out what these places look like today. So, I tried to combine these views.
'I have got two daughters. One, my youngest, asked me to tell her about the war and I decided to show her. So I started making collages on a military theme.
Echoes of history: St Petersburg's modern day residents follow in the footsteps of youngsters during the German's ruthless siege of Leningrad in 1941, which lasted 872 days
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Echoes of history: St Petersburg's modern day residents follow in the footsteps of youngsters during the German's ruthless siege of Leningrad in 1941, which lasted 872 days
Phoenix from the flames: The Church of the Big Palace in Peterhof, Ste Petersburg, has returned to its former splender following its 1943 destruction
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Phoenix from the flames: The Church of the Big Palace in Peterhof, Ste Petersburg, has returned to its former splender following its 1943 destruction
Destruction: 21st Century youngster stares at the destroyed Dubovy Fountain, Peterhof, in 1943
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Destruction: 21st Century youngster stares at the destroyed Dubovy Fountain, Peterhof, in 1943, collages show people the horrors of the WWII and the difference between today's life and those days.
Bringing history to life: Re-enactors staged the WWII battle which ended the Nazi Siege of Leningrad on its 70th anniversary
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Bringing history to life: Re-enactors staged the WWII battle which ended the Nazi Siege of Leningrad on its 70th anniversary
Realistic: History fans dressed as Soviet Red Army soldiers and Nazi Germany troops to recreate the battle
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Realistic: History fans dressed as Soviet Red Army soldiers and Nazi Germany troops to recreate the battle
The battle marked the end of the Nazi blockade of the city of Leningrad, now St Petersburg,  in the village of Porogki
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The battle marked the end of the Nazi blockade of the city of Leningrad, now St Petersburg, in the village of Porogki

It also involved military vehicles, trucks, cars, and motorcycles of the era as wartime planes whizzed overhead while actors sought to imitate the battle as closely as possible. The siege of Leningrad began in September 1941, three months after Nazi Germany launched Operation Barbarossa against the Soviet Union.
The German and Finnish siege was broken on January 18, 1943, but it wasn't until January 27, 1944, a year later that it was finally lifted.
More than one million people perished during the 872-day siege. Leningrad's name was changed back to St Petersburg after the 1991 Soviet collapse.
Meanwhile, Russian President Vladimir Putin took part in a memorial ceremony in Kirovsk, near his native city of St Petersburg, to mark the anniversary.
The 61-year-old leader said the world should never forget 'the courage and heroism of the Soviet people and residents of Leningrad'.
The German and Finnish siege and blockade of Leningrad was broken on January 18, 1943, but only fully lifted a year later on January 27, 1944
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The German and Finnish siege and blockade of Leningrad was broken on January 18, 1943, but only fully lifted a year later on January 27, 1944
A re-enactor dressed as a Soviet Red Army soldier, top, can be seen fighting Nazi troops, bottom
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A re-enactor dressed as a Soviet Red Army soldier, top, can be seen fighting Nazi troops, bottom
More than one million people perished, many from starvation, during the 872-day siege
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More than one million people perished, many from starvation, during the 872-day siege
Brutal: World War II re-enactors armed with rifles and knives stage the bloody battle
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Brutal: World War II re-enactors armed with rifles and knives stage the bloody battle
The near two-and-a-half-year siege by Nazi forces is seared into the national consciousness as one of the darkest moments in Russian history.
Taking Leningrad was a strategic part of Adolf Hitler's ultimately failed plan to eliminate the Soviet Union as a threat to German domination of Europe.
The assault is considered one of the most devastating sieges in history, with German commanders calculating that starvation would be their most effective weapon.
'360,000 civilians died in Leningrad over a period of just four months from the end of 1941 to the start of 1942,' Putin said at a meeting with war veterans and survivors of the siege.
'Britain lost nearly the same amount in the entire World War II. Can you imagine the difference between the victims that the Soviet Union and other countries of the world laid on the altar of common victory?'
Surrounded by several dozen survivors of the siege, Putin earlier visited the famed Piskaryovskoe Memorial Cemetery, the main memorial to the victims of the siege.
A wreath laying ceremony at the Piskaryovskoye Cemetery where most of the Leningrad Siege victims were buried during World War II
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A wreath laying ceremony at the Piskaryovskoye Cemetery where most of the Leningrad Siege victims were buried during World War II
Russian President Vladimir Putin lays flowers at the Piskarevskoye cemetery on a memorial to the one million people who perished during the 1941-1944 Siege of Leningrad, now St Petersburg
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Russian President Vladimir Putin lays flowers at the Piskarevskoye cemetery on a memorial to the one million people who perished during the 1941-1944 Siege of Leningrad, now St Petersburg
Putin also honoured the memory of his elder brother who died during the blockade and was buried at the cemetery in a mass grave, the Kremlin said.
The president also laid flowers at a memorial on the banks of the Neva River marking the site of one of the most important battles during the siege in which his father participated as a soldier.
The blockade of the former imperial capital claimed the lives of more than a million people, according to historians.
Most of them died of hunger and exhaustion during an extremely cold winter at the beginning of the siege from 1941 to 1942 when rations fell to just 125 grams of bread per person for white-collar workers and municipal heating was switched off.
People were forced to eat pets, earth and glue and some even resorted to cannibalism. Dead bodies littered the streets for days as the survivors were too weak to bury the deceased.
Early Monday, some 1,500 people took part in a military parade showcasing Soviet-era war-time T-34 tanks as well as modern Iskander ballistic missiles.
In the run-up to the anniversary the local authorities put together an exhibition reconstructing part of a street in the city centre with siege-related artifacts like sandbags, boarded-up windows, theatre bills and old cars and trolleybuses.
Russian President Vladimir Putin honoured the memory of an older brother who died during the blockade
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Russian President Vladimir Putin honoured the memory of an older brother who died during the blockade
Russian President Vladimir Putin pictured at the 'Breakthrough of the Siege of Leningrad' exhibition in St Petersburg
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Russian President Vladimir Putin pictured at the 'Breakthrough of the Siege of Leningrad' exhibition in St Petersburg
'When I look at the chronicles and the pictures I can barely hold back tears,' said Natalia Zvereva, 60, who brought her grandchild to see the exhibition. 'It was such an awful time.'
Sergei Stepanenko, 45, added: 'My grandmother survived the blockade. She could not talk about it. It was too horrible.'
Elsewhere, German lawmakers honored the victims of the Nazi army's three-year siege of Leningrad as part of this year's Holocaust Remembrance Day.
German President Joachim Gauck wrote to Putin to express Berlin's 'deep sadness and shame'.
'Germany recognises its historical responsibility for the suffering inflicted on the people of Leningrad and for the brutal warfare of its soldiers, commandos and SS formations," he wrote in the letter provided to reporters by his office.
'I tell you and your people that we share the pain for the losses and sympathise with the survivors who are still suffering from the aftermath of the war.'
Gauck acknowledged that starving the besieged population into submission had been the strategy of the Nazis. The assault on Leningrad is considered the most lethal siege in history.
'The monstrous scope of human suffering still leaves us aghast,' he said.
A Holocaust survivor places a lit candle at the Monument of the Victims during ceremonies to mark the 69th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz Nazi death camp in Oswiecim, Poland
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A Holocaust survivor places a lit candle at the Monument of the Victims during ceremonies to mark the 69th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz Nazi death camp in Oswiecim, Poland
The Soviet Red Army liberated the camp 69 years ago. The Nazis killed around 1.5 million people, mostly Jews, at the camp during World War II
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The Soviet Red Army liberated the camp 69 years ago. The Nazis killed around 1.5 million people, mostly Jews, at the camp during World War II
Gauck said that the shared memories of Leningrad served 'to make us particularly appreciate every step toward German-Russian reconciliation'.
The German Bundestag lower house of parliament dedicated its memorial day for the victims of Nazi Germany this year to the people of Leningrad.
The anniversary coincides with the liberation of the Auschwitz death camp a year later, in 1945.
Writer and war veteran Daniil Granin, 95, was invited to describe his horrific memories of the siege to the chamber, where Gauck and Chancellor Angela Merkel were also seated.
'Hunger was brought to the city to wage war, instead of soldiers,' Granin said speaking through an interpreter.
'We had to load the corpses that were so emaciated they were as light as firewood onto wagons. For a long time I could not forgive the Germans,' he said.
The 872-day siege by Nazi forces between September 1941 and January 1943 is widely seen as one of the darkest moments in Russian history.
The blockade of the former imperial capital claimed the lives of more than a million people, according to historians.
Striking and evocative, they chart a dramatic period of British history - from the end of the World War One to the year of the Queen's Coronation.
But these treasured photographs of famous landmarks such as St Paul's Cathedral and Blackpool Tower could have been lost forever, were it not for a major conservation project which has made them freely available on the internet for the first time.
More than 15,000 pictures - many so old and fragile that they were close to becoming beyond repair - have been uploaded on to the Britain from Above website, which is launched today.
Aerial view: More than 15,000 photographs, including this picture of St Paul's Cathedral in London from March 1921, have been made freely available on the internet for the first time
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Aerial view: More than 15,000 photographs, including this picture of St Paul's Cathedral in London from March 1921, have been made freely available on the internet for the first time
St Paul's Cathedral
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Blackpool Tower
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Back to the future: A much cleaner and white modern St Paul's Cathedral and colourful - but seemingly less vibrant - Blackpool Tower in pictures taken last year
Landmarks: The instantly recognisable Blackpool Tower and the Winter Gardens, as they were in July 1920.
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Landmarks: The instantly recognisable Blackpool Tower and the Winter Gardens, as they were in July 1920.
It is the first batch of some 95,000 images, taken between 1919 and 1953, that are due to be put online in the next two years, showing the changing face of modern Britain.
The pictures come from one of the earliest and most significant collections of aerial photography.
Many shots were said to have been taken during the early days of aviation by former war pilots flying at very low altitudes.
The collection includes rare photographs of some of Britain's most historic landmarks, such as a picture of St Paul's from 1921, a 1927 image of Brighton's West Pier, and a view of the Forth Rail Bridge from 1937.
Full house: Wembley Stadium hosts the 1935 FA Cup final, which Sheffield Wednesday won by beating West Bromwich Albion 4-2. The Cierva autogyro in the foreground was flown by Scotland Yard, experimenting with air observation to monitor crowds
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Full house: Wembley Stadium hosts the 1935 FA Cup final, which Sheffield Wednesday won by beating West Bromwich Albion 4-2. The Cierva autogyro in the foreground was flown by Scotland Yard, experimenting with air observation to monitor crowds
Aerial image of Wembley Stadium, London
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Aerial view of Wimbledon
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Revamped: The new Wembley Stadium (left), which opened on the site of the old one in 2007, and Centre Court beside the newer, spherical Court No 2 at Wimbledon
Pastime: Fans watch the tennis at Wimbledon in June 1921 amid much smaller grounds than exist today
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Pastime: Fans watch the tennis at Centre Court Wimbledon in June 1921 amid much smaller grounds than exist today
Amusements and attractions: The collection includes an aerial view of Brighton's West Pier, taken in April 1927
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Amusements and attractions: The collection includes an aerial view of Brighton's West Pier, taken in April 1927
Brighton Pier
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Liverpool
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Updated: Brighton Pier now has a theme park built on the end and the Mersey water front in Liverpool has undergone significant regeneration
Heritage: A July 1920 photograph of George's Stage and the Three Graces in Liverpool is in the collection
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Heritage: A July 1920 photograph of George's Stage and the Three Graces in Liverpool is in the collection
But experts have asked the public to help them identify other photographs whose subjects remain a mystery.
The website has interactive features which visitors can use to add information, share personal memories, download images and customise their own themed photo galleries.
Today's launch is the latest stage of a major exercise in conservation and cataloguing.
The photographs come from the Aerofilms Collection, which was acquired for the nation in 2007 when the company faced financial difficulties.
They have been digitised with the help of the English Heritage and the Royal Commissions on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Scotland and Wales.
Fog on the Tyne: The Tyne Bridge under construction in Newcastle in 1928 as coal ships and other vessels dock at the riverside
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Fog on the Tyne: The Tyne Bridge under construction in Newcastle in 1928 as coal ships and other vessels dock at the riverside
Newcastle
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Shipyards
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Changing faces: Newcastle's Tyne Bridge this week with Olympic rings added (but missing the industry) and an overhead view of Meadowfield Quay in Glasgow where ships are still being built - but far fewer than in its heyday
Age of industry: The extensive Meadowside Quay and Upper Clyde Shipbuilding Yard in Glasgow in 1931
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Age of industry: The extensive Meadowside Quay and Upper Clyde Shipbuilding Yard in Glasgow in 1931. The docks are surrounded by quadrangle tenements for the army of workers
Bird's-eye view: This August 1937 photograph of the Forth Rail Bridge and Inch Garvie in Scotland is freely available online for the first time
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Bird's-eye view: This August 1937 photograph of the Forth Rail Bridge and Inch Garvie in Scotland is freely available online for the first time
Forth of Firth
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Largs
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Updated transport: The Forth Bridge, which is used by trains, was joined to its west by the Forth Road Bridge in 1964, while today Largs ferries are no longer paddle boats
Glorious holidays: Tourists wait at the Largs Harbour Pier on the west Scottish coast to catch a paddle boat steamer to one of the islands
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Glorious holidays: Tourists wait at the Largs Harbour Pier on the west Scottish coast to catch a paddle boat steamer to one of the islands
Highlights include the first boxing match at Wembley Stadium in 1924, crowds on the banks of the River Clyde watching the first voyage of the newly-built RMS Queen Mary in 1936, and the Thames Flood of 1947.
Other photographs taken in Scotland include bird's-eye views of the Tay bridge, the Wallace Monument, Edinburgh's Princes Street, the Caledonian Canal, Glasgow Green and Hampden Park.
March 1921: Densely packed housing along Kensal Rise, London
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Home: A steam train chugs through densely-packed housing Kensal Rise, west London in March 1921
A cliff-top campsite in Crimdon Park, County Durham, was photographed in 1946
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Away: A cliff-top campsite in Crimdon Park, County Durham, in 1946 shows how Britons with limited means after the Second World War enjoyed themselves in another age of austerity
Water, water everywhere: A dramatic picture of the Thames Flood of March 1947 can be viewed on the website
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Water, water everywhere: A dramatic picture of the Thames Flood of March 1947 can be viewed on the website
Crowds: This July 1948 photograph of Durham Miners Gala is among more than 15,000 images which have been put on the website
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Crowds: This July 1948 photograph of Durham Miners Gala is among more than 15,000 images which have been put on the website
When was this taken? Visitors have been urged to share their thoughts on pictures, such as this undated photograph of the civic centre in Swansea, south Wales
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When was this taken? Visitors have been urged to share their thoughts on the pictures, such as this undated photograph of the civic centre in Swansea, south Wales
Swansea
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Hampden
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Moving forward: Swansea's former Civic Centre - now known as the Guildhall - reveals many more cars than before the war, while Hampden Park has been revamped
Field of dreams: Hampden Park in Glasgow, where the Scotland football team plays its home matches, as it was in 1927
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Field of dreams: Hampden Park in Glasgow, where the Scotland football team plays its home matches, as it was in 1927
Majestic: The collection includes this aerial image of Windsor Castle, taken in August 1928
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Majestic: The collection includes this aerial image of Windsor Castle, taken in August 1928
Also shown are the luxury hotel and golf resort at Gleneagles, which will host the 2014 Ryder Cup, as well as the seaside town of Oban, in Argyll, Balmoral Castle and the A8 road which runs through the central belt connecting Glasgow and Edinburgh.
Anna Eavis, head of archive at English Heritage, said that the Aerofilms Collection embodies all that is exciting about aerial photography.
Rebecca Bailey, head of education and outreach at the Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Scotland said: 'We hope that people today will be able to immerse themselves in the past through the new website, adding their own thoughts and memories to this remarkable collection.'
The photographs can be viewed at www.britainfromabove.org.uk
All aboard: Crowds line the banks of the River Clyde in Clydebank to watch the first voyage of the newly-built Queen Mary in March 1936
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All aboard: Crowds line the banks of the River Clyde in Clydebank to watch the first voyage of the newly-built Queen Mary in March 1936
High Street in Oxford, pictured in May 1920
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Dreaming spires: The towers, domes and quadrangles of the colleges at the University of Oxford in May 1920
King's College, Cambridge, pictured in January 1920
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University days: The magnificent surroundings of King's College, Cambridge, pictured in January 1920
The Caledonian Canal at Kilmallie, pictured in 1950
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Black and white beauty: The stunning landscape surrounding the Caledonian Canal at Kilmallie in Scotland, pictured in 1950
The Wallace Monument in Stirling, taken in 1928
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Standing proud: Stiirling's Wallace Monument - commemorates the 13th century Scottish hero William Wallace - taken in 1928
Splendour: The grounds of the Gleneagles Hotel in Auchterarder, Scotland, pictured in 1932
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Splendour: The grounds of the Gleneagles Hotel in Auchterarder, Scotland, pictured in 1932
Shining light: The Kinnaird Head lighthouse and Denmark Street leading into the town centre of  Fraserburgh, Scotland in 1939 at the outrbreak of WWII
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Shining light: The Kinnaird Head lighthouse and Denmark Street leading into the town centre of Fraserburgh, Scotland in 1939 at the outrbreak of WWII
Howzat! Northampton cricket ground surrounded by terraced houses and shoe-making factories in 1926
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Howzat! Northampton cricket ground surrounded by terraced houses and shoe-making factories in 1926
Early days of flight: A DeHavilland DH9B G-EAVK, which captured many of the aerial photograps, at Hendon airfield, north-west London in 1921
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Early days of flight: A DeHavilland DH9B G-EAVK, which captured many of the aerial photograps, at Hendon airfield, north-west London in 1921

























































































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These German soldiers stand in the debris strewn street of Bastogne, Belgium, on January 9, 1945, after they were captured by the U.S. 4th Armored Division which helped break the German siege of the city. (AP Photo) # 
Refugees stand in a group in a street in La Gleize, Belgium on January 2, 1945, waiting to be transported from the war-torn town after its recapture by American Forces during the German thrust in the Belgium-Luxembourg salient. (AP Photo/Peter J. Carroll) # 
A dead German soldier, killed during the German counter offensive in the Belgium-Luxembourg salient, is left behind on a street corner in Stavelot, Belgium, on January 2, 1945, as fighting moves on during the Battle of the Bulge.(AP Photo/U.S. Army Signal Corps) # 
From left, British Prime Minister Winston Churchill, U.S. President Franklin Roosevelt and Soviet Premier Josef Stalin sit on the patio of Livadia Palace, Yalta, Crimea, in this February 4, 1945 photo. The three leaders were meeting to discuss the post-war reorganization of Europe, and the fate of post-war Germany. (AP Photo/File) # 
Soviet troops of the 3rd Ukrainian front in action amid the buildings of the Hungarian capital on February 5, 1945. (AP Photo) # 
Across the Channel, Britain was being struck by continual bombardment by thousands of V-1 and V-2 bombs launched from German-controlled territory. This photo, taken from a fleet street roof-top, shows a V-1 flying bomb "buzzbomb" plunging toward central London. The distinctive sky-line of London's law-courts clearly locates the scene of the incident. Falling on a side road off Drury Lane, this bomb blasted several buildings, including the office of the Daily Herald. The last enemy action of British soil was a V-1 attack that struck Datchworth in Hertfordshire, on March 29 1945. (AP Photo) # 
With more and more members of the Volkssturm (Germany's National Militia) being directed to the front line, German authorities were experiencing an ever-increasing strain on their stocks of army equipment and clothing. In a desperate attempt to overcome this deficiency, street to street collection depots called the Volksopfer, meaning Sacrifice of the people, scoured the country, collecting uniforms, boots and equipment from German civilians, as seen here in Berlin on February 12, 1945. The Volksopfer bears the words "The Fuhrer expects your sacrifice for Army and Home Guard. So that you're proud your Home Guard man can show himself in uniform - empty your wardrobe and bring its contents to us". (AP Photo) # 
Three U.S. infantrymen look over the bodies of a number of dead German soldiers arranged in rows before an unidentified building in Echternach, Luxembourg, about 25 miles south of Pruem, on February 21, 1945. (AP Photo) # 
A party sets out to repair telephone lines on the main road in Kranenburg on February 22, 1945, amid four-foot deep floods caused by the bursting of Dikes by the retreating Germans. During the floods, British troops further into Germany have had their supplies brought by amphibious vehicles. (AP Photo) # 
This combination of three photographs shows the reaction of a 16-year old German soldier after he was captured by U.S. forces, at an unknown location in Germany, in 1945. (AP Photo) # 
Flak bursts through the vapor trails from B-17 flying fortresses of the 15th air force during the attack on the rail yards at Graz, Austria, on March 3, 1945. (AP Photo) # 
A view taken from Dresden's town hall of the destroyed Old Town after the allied bombings between February 13 and 15, 1945. Some 3,600 aircraft dropped more than 3,900 tons of high-explosive bombs and incendiary devices on the German city. The resulting firestorm destroyed 15 square miles of the city center, and killed more than 22,000. (Walter Hahn/AFP/Getty Images) # 
A large stack of corpses is cremated in Dresden, Germany, after the British-American air attack between February 13 and 15, 1945. The bombing of Dresden has been questioned in post-war years, with critics claiming the area bombing of the historic city center (as opposed to the industrial suburbs) was not justified militarily. (Deutsches Bundesarchiv/German Federal Archive) # 
Soldiers of the 3rd U.S. Army storm into Coblenz, Germany, as a dead comrade lies against the wall, on March 18, 1945.(AP Photo/Byron H. Rollins) # 
Men of the American 7th Army pour through a breach in the Siegfried Line defenses, on their way to Karlsruhe, Germany on March 27, 1945, which lies on the road to Stuttgart. (AP Photo) # 
Pfc. Abraham Mirmelstein of Newport News, Virginia, holds the Holy Scroll as Capt. Manuel M. Poliakoff, and Cpl. Martin Willen, of Baltimore, Maryland, conduct services in Schloss Rheydt, former residence of Dr. Joseph Paul Goebbels, Nazi propaganda minister, in Münchengladbach, Germany on March 18, 1945. They were the first Jewish services held east of the Rur River and were offered in memory of soldiers of the faith who were lost by the 29th Division, U.S. 9th Army. (AP Photo) # 
American soldiers aboard an assault boat huddle together as they cross the Rhine river at St. Goar, Germany, while under heavy fire from the German forces, in March of 1945. (AP Photo) # 
An unidentified American soldier, shot dead by a German sniper, clutches his rifle and hand grenade in March of 1945 in Coblenz, Germany. (AP Photo/Byron H. Rollins) # 
War-torn Cologne Cathedral stands out of the devastated area on the west bank of the Rhine, in Cologne, Germany, April 24, 1945. The railroad station and the Hohenzollern Bridge, at right, are completely destroyed after three years of Allied air raids.(AP Photo) # 
With a torn picture of his "Führer" beside his clenched fist, a general of the Volkssturm, Hitler's last-stand home defense forces, lies dead on the floor of city hall in Leipzig, April 19, 1945. He committed suicide rather than face the U.S. troops capturing the city.(AP Photo/U.S. Army Signal Corps, J. M. Heslop) # 
An American soldier of the 12th Armored Division stands guard over a group of German soldiers, captured in April 1945, in a forest at an unknown location in Germany. (AP Photo) # 
Adolf Hitler decorates members of his Nazi youth organization "Hitler Jugend" in a photo reportedly taken in front of the Chancellery Bunker in Berlin, on April 25, 1945. That was just four days before Hitler committed suicide. (AP Photo) # 
Partly completed Heinkel He-162 fighter jets sit on the assembly line in the underground Junkers factory at Tarthun, Germany, in early April 1945. The huge underground galleries, in a former salt mine, were discovered by the 1st U.S. Army during their advance on Magdeburg. (AP Photo) # 
Soviet officers and U.S. soldiers during a friendly meeting on the Elbe River in April of 1945. (Waralbum.ru# 
Compounds erected by the Allies for their collections of prisoners never seem to be big enough, here is an over-crowded cage of Germans rounded up by the Seventh Army during its drive to Heidelberg, on April 4, 1945. (AP Photo) # 
A U.S. soldier stands in the middle of rubble in the Monument of the Battle of the Nations in Leipzig after they attacked the city on April 18, 1945. The huge monument commemorating the defeat of Napoleon in 1813 was one of the last strongholds in the city to surrender. One hundred and fifty SS fanatics with ammunition and foodstuffs stored in the structure to last three months dug themselves in and were determined to hold out as long as their supplies. American First Army artillery eventually blasted the SS troops into surrender. (Eric Schwab/AFP/Getty Images) # 
Soviet soldiers lead house-to-house fighting in the outskirts of Königsberg, East Prussia, Germany, in April of 1945.(Dmitry Chernov/Waralbum.ru# 
A German officer eats C-rations as he sits amid the ruins of Saarbrücken, a German city and stronghold along the Siegfried Line, in early spring of 1945. (AP Photo) # 
Overwhelmed with emotion, this Czech mother kisses a Russian soldier in Prague, Czech Republic on May 5, 1945, thanking one who fought to free her beloved home. (AP Photo) # 
The subway rush hour is brought to a standstill in New York City, May 1, 1945 as the report of Hitler's death was received. The German leader and head of the Nazi Party had shot himself in the head in a bunker in Berlin on April 30, 1945. His successor, Karl Dönitz, announced on German radio that Hitler had died the death of a hero, and that he would continue the war against the Allies.(AP Photo) # 
Britain's Field Marshal Bernard Montgomery, right, reads over the surrender pact, while senior German officers, from left, Major Friedel, Rear Admiral Wagner and Admiral Hans-Georg Von Friedeburg, look on, in a tent at Montgomery's 21st Army Group headquarters, at Luneburg Heath, on May 4, 1945. The pact agreed a ceasefire on the British fronts in north west Germany, Denmark and Holland as from 8am on May 5. German forces in Italy had surrendered earlier, on April 29, and the remainder of the the Army in Western Europe surrendered on May 7 -- on the Eastern Front, the German surrender to the Soviets took place on May 8, 1945. More than five years of horrific warfare on European soil was officially over. (AP Photo) # 
A seething mass of humanity jammed itself into Whitehall in central London on VE-Day (Victory in Europe Day), May 8, 1945, to hear the premier officially announce Germany's unconditional surrender. More than one million people celebrated in the streets of London. (AP Photo) # 
Looking north from 44th Street, New York's Times Square is packed Monday, May 7, 1945, with crowds celebrating the news of Germany's unconditional surrender in World War II. (AP Photo/Tom Fitzsimmons) # 
Celebration of Victory in Moscow's Red Square, in the Soviet Union. Fireworks began on May 9, 1945, followed by bursts of gunfire and a sky illuminated by searchlights. (Sergei Loskutov/Waralbum.ru# 
The wrecked Reichstag building in Berlin, Germany, with a destroyed German military vehicle in the foreground, at the end of World War II. (AP Photo) # 
Soviet Ilyushin Il-2 ground attack aircraft fly in the skies above Berlin, Germany in 1945. (Waralbum.ru# 

A color photograph of the bombed-out historic city of Nuremberg, Germany in June of 1945, after the end of World War II. Nuremberg had been the host of huge Nazi Party conventions from 1927 to 1938. The last scheduled rally in 1939 was canceled at the last minute due to a scheduling conflict: the German invasion of Poland one day prior to the rally date. The city was also the birthplace of the Nuremberg Laws, a set of draconian antisemitic laws adopted by Nazi Germany. Allied bombings from 1943 until 1945 destroyed more than 90% of the city center, and killed more than 6,000 residents. Nuremberg would soon become famous one last time as the host of the Nuremberg Trials -- a series of military tribunals set up to prosecute the surviving leaders of Nazi Germany. The war crimes these men were charged with included "Crimes Against Humanity", the systematic murder of more than 10 million people, including some 6 million Jews.

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