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Historic Photos That Been Withheld From The Public (30 Pics)

The allies consisted of British, French, Australia and New Zealand against a fierce Turkish Army. In the end, the allied side lost 46,000 troops while the Turkish lost 65,000, with the Allies retreating from the battle. The Turks still consider their victory at Gallipoli to be a great, defining moment in the nation’s modern history. Eight years later, the Turkish War of Independence broke out, led by Mustafa Kemal Ataturk. Ataturk was a commander at the battle of Gallipoli. The battle was also Australia and New Zealand’s first military campaign as independent dominions in the British Empire. It was a formative moment in the national consciousness of both countries.
There have been several movies about German submarines and how they looked back in the day, but here is an actual picture taken from 1918.SM UB-110 was one of Germany’s infamous U-boats. It was commissioned into the Imperial Navy on March 23rd, 1918. Its tour of duty was short. The SM UB-110 was depth charged, rammed and sunk by the HMS Garry on July 19th, 1918 while under the command of Kapitänleutnant Werner Furbringer. The SM UB-110 was one of the last U-boats to be sunk during the War, and possibly the very last one. According to Furbringer, the Garry opened fire on the surviving, unarmed crew of his ship after it was sunk. 23 men were killed in the sinking and alleged aftermath.
The nuclear testing at Bikini Atoll program was a series of 23 nuclear devices detonated by the United States between 1946 to 1958.Test weapons were detonated on the reef itself, on the sea, in the air and underwater. The actual island, Bikini Atoll, is one island of 23 islands that comprises the Marshall Islands in the Pacific Ocean. Nuclear testing began in July of 1946 with Operation Crossroads. The nukes rendered the island and surrounding area uninhabitable due to radioactivity, stemming mostly from caesium-137.
As scientists were contemplating the medical specifics of weightlessness in space in 1958, they used a kitten as a stand-in for human testing.Capt. Druey P. Parks took an F-94C jet up to 25,000 feet to study the cat’s reaction. Of all the possible animals they could have released into zero-gravity, a cat seems like the least convenient option. Thankfully, the cat did not transform into a ball of slashing claws and fangs. Parks described the animal’s reaction as one of “bewilderment.”
The nuclear test was code named Trinity, but the atomic device was nicknamed The Gadget.The Gadget was the first atomic bomb ever made and was tested at Trinity Site, New Mexico, near Alamogordo on July 16th, 1945. It was the first detonation in the Manhattan Project. The code name “Trinity” was coined by J. Robert Oppenheimer, taken from a line of John Donne poetry. The Gadget had the same design as Fat Man, the bomb that destroyed Nagasaki.
The Bombing of Kobe in World War II on March 16 and 17, 1945 was part of the strategic bombing campaign waged by the United States of America against military and civilian targets and population centers during the Japan home islands campaign in the closing stages of World War II.During later months of the war, the city was bombed for a second time. It was targeted because at the time, it was the sixth largest population center in Japan, with a population of about a million people. Most structures in the city were made of wood, making them vulnerable targets for firebombing. Over the course of the Allies’ extensive bombing campaign against urban centers in Japan during the War, a massive death toll accrued. Conservative estimates claim 333,000 killed and 473,000 wounded, though other estimates place the fatalities at up to 900,000 people.
In 1911, Yale University professor and explorer Hiram Bingham ventured into the mountainous jungles of central Peru in search of an ancient Incan city.While seeking the lost city of Vilcabamba, Bingham came across Machu Picchu. Bingham later wrote that “Machu Picchu might prove to be the largest and most important ruin discovered in South America since the days of the Spanish conquest. Bingham took the first photo of Machu Picchu, but he may not have been the first Westerner to discover it. There were challenges in Bingham’s day, and a recent discovery suggests it may have been a German man named Augusto Berns, who attempted to mount an expedition to raid Incan ruins for treasure after buying a plot of land in the area. Machu Picchu is shown on one of his maps, from 1874.
This is allegedly an undoctored photo. More than likely, however, it’s a joke postcard from the 1930’s which were very common. If a grasshopper this big ever existed, we’d certainly know about it. But that doesn’t stop the internet from speculating.
On August 9, 1945, when a plutonium bomb was detonated over the city of Nagasaki, between 39,000 and 80,000 people were killed. Half of them were fortunate enough to die instantly, and the other half died slow, painful deaths. The photograph above shows the absolute devastation wreaked by the bomb. The bomb itself was more powerful than that used to destroy Hiroshima, but Nagasaki’s topography resulted in less net damage. While the nuclear detonation above Nagasaki is a well-known chapter in history, it is less well known that the nuke was preceded by a full year of smaller-scale bombing of the city. A total 270 tons of high explosive, 53 tons of incendiary and 20 tons of fragmentation bombs were dropped. Shipyards and arms factories were targeted, but bombs also fell on the Nagasaki Medical School and Hospital.
If you’ve ever seen Boardwalk Empire, then you know the extent in which bootleggers will go to keep their business thriving.When police entered a home and find illegal booze, the process was to literally dispose of it. This apartment building evidently had a pretty strong business going. As discussed before, Prohibition ultimately proved to be unsuccessful in the long run. Many people draw parallels between alcohol prohibition and the contemporary prohibition of recreational drugs.
In 1941, the bombings of London created a scary environment for families and children. All citizens of the UK were issued a gas mask during the War. There was a pervasive fear that the Axis powers would launch a gas attack on Britain. The masks themselves were oppressively uncomfortable. Thankfully the feared gas attack never occurred. Children were made to participate in gas attack drills at school. The air of gravity was punctured when the kids discovered they could make fart noises by exhaling sharply through the mask.
The Reichserntedankfest rally (Thanksgiving Celebration of the Reich) took place in Buckeberg in 1934.The rally attracted about 700,000 participants. It was an unprecedentedly large gathering, many people had never been present at such an event. The effect was powerful and certainly bolstered public morale and Nazi loyalty among German citizens. Photos of the Thanksgiving Celebration are sometimes mistaken for rallies at Nurnberg.
Leg irons were used as a device to restrain the enslaved. This is a photo of a British merchant on the HMS Sphinx removing these restraints in 1907. Britain had abolished slavery in the early 19th century. British traders transported an estimated 3.4 million Africans to North America as slaves during the 245 years the transatlantic slave trade was active.
German soldiers practice their marksmanship at the Karshorter Racecourse, Berlin, in 1935. Cavalry soldiers of the era would condition their horses to the stimulus of gunshots by shooting from their backs in this way, during calm conditions, so that they won’t panic during combat. Standing with both feet on the saddle was not common – they usually kept one foot in a stirrup. Horses were obviously phased out with the introduction of mechanized warfare, following WWI. During WWII, however, the Nazis and the Soviets used over six million horses in military operations.
A massive stack of liquor barrels, collected by the authorities in 1924 and ready to be set ablaze. This was during Prohibition, when liquor was outlawed. Prohibition was instated in 1920 and lasted until 1933. Prohibition was supported by a coalition of rural Protestants and urban progressives. It was codified in the 18th Amendement, which was repealed with the passage of the 23rd Amendment on December 5th, 1933. Prohibition is still considered to have been an unsuccessful project in the long view, but it did succeed in reducing alcohol consumption by half during the 20s. Its major failure was an unintended entrenchment of organized crime in American life.
Inejiro Asanuma was a Japanese politician known for his controversial advocacy for Socialism in post-war Japan, and his support of the Chinese Communist Party. During a televised debate on October 12, 1960, Asanuma was attacked and killed with a sword by a seventeen-year-old. The assassin, Otoya Yamaguchi, committed suicide a few weeks later. The killing sparked mass demonstrations and caused the disintegration of the Japan Socialist Party, which was later resurrected as the Social Democratic Party in 1996.
A Nevada mother and son watch a nuclear test explosion from the window of their home in 1953. This was before the effects of nuclear radiation from such explosions were publicly understood. There is some evidence that public knowledge of the side-effects were actually suppressed in order to avoid controversy. It’s certainly more interesting viewing than Gilligan’s Island, but it’s not exactly healthy. Thankfully, people are now more generally aware of the dangers of nuclear power.
A real letter sent from Gandhi to Hitler in July of 1939, which reads:
When the 3rd Armored Division of the US Army liberated Buchenwald, this Russian inmate points an identifying and accusing finger at a Nazi guard who was especially cruel towards the prisoners. The photo was taken on April 14, 1945. Estimates place Buchenwald’s death toll at over 56,000 people. It was built on Etter Mountain, near Weimar, in July of 1937. It was one of the original concentration camps built on German soil and also the largest. Buchenwald held 250,000 prisoners while it was open. More than twice as many deaths occurred there as in the Dachau concentration camp.
The Navy had a funny tradition – every time a plane would land on the wrong carrier, it would be covered with graffiti before being returned. There’s also a historical rivalry between the branches of the military, hence the “Must be Air Force” slogan. Moments of levity like this were important to break up the monotony of life in the military, and also to raise morale during a dark and frightening time.
This isn’t a prop, but a real gun that used to be commonly used in commercial waterfowl hunting. They were called “punt guns,” because they were used in a kind of boat called a “punt.” The guns fired almost a pound of shot, and could kill fifty birds in one shot. Unsurprisingly, they were outlawed when they devastated wild bird populations.
This postcard from 1940 was believed by some parts of the internet to be a legitimate photo of unwanted Italian babies being sold. It was actually a humorous postcard designed and marketed in France.
Mount Rushmore was originally supposed to be much larger than it is. Here, the monument’s designer Gutzon Borglum is seen scrutinizing the scale model. Only the heads were completed, as the project ran out of money.
The hanging of Rainey Bethea on August 14, 1936. It was the last public execution in the United States. The event was an item of national interest because Bethea was to be hanged by Florence Thompson, the sheriff of Davies County. Arthur L. Hash, a former policeman from Louisville, offered to pull the trigger for her, and she accepted. But on the day of the execution, Hash showed up drunk and missed his cue. A deputy did it instead, and America was disappointed.
This throwback (literally) photo shows actor Tommy Lee Jones in his high school football uniform. He’s a senior here, at Robert E. Lee High School in Midland, Texas. Laura Bush went to the same school.
This photograph has been fairly famous since it was originally published in The News Chronicle in 1937, with the headline “Every picture tells a story.” It shows two upper-class British youths standing with an air of impetuousness next to a group of three boys who had ditched school for the day. Many of them ended up having troubled lives.
This is Steve Carell in costume for a play at the Middlesex school, a grades 9-12 boarding school. It’s hard to believe he’s just a teenager in this.
A young Morgan Freeman, during a TV appearance in the 1970’s. No clue what the context is, but it all somehow fits together and makes at least a little bit of sense. Just look at that shirt.
This photograph alleges to show a German Communist being executed by a squad of Freikorps (Free Corps) soldiers in 1919. Some believe it to be a staged photo, perhaps to be used for Communist propaganda purposes or for a piece of journalism. Journalists commonly staged these kinds of scenes to be photographed for their work. The soldiers stand too close to the wall to fire without being struck by shrapnel, some of them are holding their rifles incorrectly, and the defiant attitude of the victim seems exaggerated.
Muhammad Ali was the greatest boxer in history. Before he was Muhammad, he was Cassius Clay. This photo shows him training and posing underwater at the Sir John Hotel, Miami in 1961.
These photos were doctored up to give OSS agents an idea of what Hitler would look like if he went into hiding in disguise. The top-left photo is the authentic one, if you for some reason didn’t already know that. The photos were made by a makeup artist from New York named Eddie Senz.

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