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World War II

World War II was the world's largest and bloodiest conflict. World War II touched every person on earth in some way or another. The Second World War was fought in thousands of locations and was photographed hundreds of thousands of times. Color photography was growing in popularity at the time of the conflict, but it was rarely used because of the additional work and equipment needed to develop it in the field. Thus, most WWII photographs were shot in black and white. My digital colorization of these events can help to appreciate the reality of this surreal war in vivid clarity.

Tank-borne infantry of the 29th Marines  moving up to take the town of Ghuta before the Japanese can occupy it. (Image Source)

The Battle of Okinawa (April 1, 1945-June 22, 1945) was the last major battle of World War II, and one of the bloodiest. On April 1, 1945—Easter Sunday—the Navy’s Fifth Fleet and more than 180,000 U.S. Army and U.S. Marine Corps troops descended on the Pacific island of Okinawa for a final push towards Japan. The invasion was part of Operation Iceberg, a complex plan to invade and occupy the Ryukyu Islands, including Okinawa. Though it resulted in an Allied victory, kamikaze fighters, rainy weather and fierce fighting on land, sea and air led to a large death toll on both sides. (history.com)

This photo was taken the morning before the major conlfict had begun. An estimated 20,000 Americans and 221 American tanks would be destroyed in the next 2 months of battle. Over 70 men from this 29th regiment  perished when they met heavy Japanese resistance on the 18th of May. It may be impossible to know how many of these men pictured would meet their fate in less than a month. They arrived in high spirits, but certainly left as changed, humbled men.

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His story is truly inspiring. "He became one of the first African-American drill instructors, demanding the utmost from every recruit he trained. Serving as one of the first African-American men to lead desegregation in the Marine Corps was a difficult task fraught with racial prejudice and many obstacles, on top of the already numerous rigors of military service. Johnson truly embodied the Marine Corps motto, “Semper Fidelis” to all around him with his refusal to ever give anything less than his best, nor to accept that from anyone elsegive anything less than his best, nor to accept that from anyone else."

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Group reading Los Angeles Times in front of office, Manzanar Relocation Center, California (Image Source)

Japanese internment camps were established during World War II by President Franklin Roosevelt through his Executive Order 9066. From 1942 to 1945, it was the policy of the U.S. government that people of Japanese descent would be interred in isolated camps. I love this image because of the incredible irony. The US government has set up a building where they express and grant the right to freedom of press, whilst simultaneously imprisoning Americans. Let us never forget.