Photos that changed the world

Photography gave people a very different perspective on life. Perhaps more than anything, photography shocked people by showing the horrors of war. Previously, war had occurred largely out of sight and out of mind. It was easier to give a false patriotic view on the glories of war. For example, from the Crimean war, we get Tennyson’s famous ‘Charge of the Light Brigade’

‘Cannons to the left, Cannons to the right’

We didn’t get pictures of mutilated corpses.

It was the American civil war, where photography started to become influential. The very new technology became widely used. Firstly families wished to take a family photo before their son went off to combat. Secondly, images of dead bodies on battlefields showed the tragic consequences of civil war.

Other images, have become iconic memories. As the saying goes ‘A picture paints a thousand words’

Some memorable photos that changed the world.

The Atomic Bomb

August 9, 1945
Because of  a single bomb, over 150,000 people died at Hiroshima and 80,000 in Nagasaki. Many scientists who had worked on nuclear fusion were shocked when they realised the power of their science. Otto Hahn and Albert Einstein, both became leading advocates for nuclear disarmament, despite having played a role in the advancement of nuclear physics.

Hindenburg Burning 1937

Zeppelin LZ-129 Hindenburg, shortly after catching fire on May 6, 1937 at Lakehurst Naval Air Station. Zeppelin travel soon ended.

The Great Depression


Destitute pea pickers in California.” Mother of seven children. Age thirty-two. Nipomo, California.” – Source: Library of Congress

The human face of the Great Depression. See also: John Steinbeck who wrote about the great depression.

Fall of the Berlin Wall

Since its creation in 1961, the Berlin wall epitomised the “Iron Curtain” which separated East Europe from West Europe. The Berlin wall came down due to the work of Mikhail Gorbachev and others, such as Lech Walesa and Pope John Paul II

Bombing of Guernica – 1937

Bombing of Guernica - 1937

Moon Landing 1969

Moon Landing 1969
  20 July 1969 Buzz Aldrin. Photo by Neil Armstrong.

Gandhi on Salt March 1930

Gandhi on Salt March 1930
Gandhi at Dandi, South Gujarat, picking salt
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