Crowds fill up the Champs Elysees to celebrate the liberation of Paris, August 26th, 1944.
U.S. troops march down the Champs Elysees after the liberation of Paris, 1944.
These images of airships or dirigibles can add wings to your dreams. The above illustration is a Soviet poster, 1931. (Text: “We Are Building a Fleet of Airships in the Name of Lenin.”)
It’s easy to forget now, but the airship was once the Flying Machine of the Future.
On May 7, 1915, the German submarine (U-boat) U-20 torpedoed and sank the Lusitania, a swift-moving British cruise liner traveling from New York to Liverpool, England. Of the 1,959 men, women, and children on board, 1,195 perished, including 123 Americans. A headline in the New York Times the following day—”Divergent Views of the Sinking of The Lusitania”—sums up the initial public response to the disaster. Some saw it as a blatant act of evil and transgression against the conventions of war. Others understood that Germany previously had unambiguously alerted all neutral passengers of Atlantic vessels to the potential for submarine attacks on British ships and that Germany considered the Lusitania a British, and therefore an “enemy ship.”
The sinking of the Lusitania was not the single largest factor contributing to the entrance of the United States into the war two years later, but it certainly solidified the public’s opinions towards Germany. President Woodrow Wilson, who guided the U.S. through its isolationist foreign policy, held his position of neutrality for almost two more years. Many, though, consider the sinking a turning point—technologically, ideologically, and strategically—in the history of modern warfare, signaling the end of the “gentlemanly” war practices of the nineteenth century and the beginning of a more ominous and vicious era of total warfare.
Throughout the war, the first few pages of the Sunday New York Times rotogravure section were filled with photographs from the battlefront, training camps, and war effort at home. In the weeks following May 7, many photos of victims of the disaster were run, including a two-page spread in the May 16 edition entitled: “Prominent Americans Who Lost Their Lives on the S. S. Lusitania.” Another two-page spread in the May 30 edition carried the banner: “Burying The Lusitania’s Dead—And Succoring Her Survivors.” The images on these spreads reflect a panorama of responses to the disaster—sorrow, herois…
May 8th 1945: VE Day
On this day in 1945 at the end of the Second World War, combat ended in Europe with the Germans accepting unconditional surrender in Rheims, France. The German surrender marked the end of Hitler’s Third Reich, after the dictator’s suicide on 30th April. Germany’s surrender was led by German President Karl Dönitz, signed on 7th May and ratified on 8th May. The Western world celebrated, with huge festivities in Trafalgar Square and outside Buckingham Palace in London and in New York’s Time Square. British King George VI and Prime Minister Winston Churchill led the celebrations in their country, and US President Harry Truman dedicated the victory to his recently deceased predecessor remarking his only wish was that “Franklin D. Roosevelt had lived to witness this day”.
“This is your hour. This is your Victory”
- Winston Churchill to crowds on VE Day
VE [Victory in Europe] Day, May 8th, 1945 (via City of Toronto Archives: V-E Day and V-J Day in Toronto)
Pemberton Square, Boston, Massachusetts, ca. 1920.
Source: Boston Public Library
Williamsburg Bridge, looking west: traffic jam in Manhattan, on January 29, 1923.(Eugene de Salignac/Courtesy NYC Municipal Archives)