13. Wedding Rings
Wedding rings from WW II concentration camps. Each pair of rings represents a family, a marriage, a couple. 1945. They also took golden teeth to sell as well.
Elderly swagman in Australia, 1901.
“Waltzing Matilda” is Australia’s most widely known bush ballad, and has been described as the country’s “unofficial national anthem”.
The title was Australian slang for travelling on foot (waltzing, derived from the German auf der Walz) with one’s belongings in a “matilda” (swag) slung over one’s back. The song narrates the story of an itinerant worker, or “swagman”, making a drink of tea at a bush camp and capturing a jumbuck (sheep) to eat. When the sheep’s owner, a squatter, arrives with three police officers to arrest the worker for the theft, the swagman commits suicide by drowning himself in a nearby billabong (watering hole), after which his ghost haunts the site.
Cabinet Ministers lined up to be executed after a coup d’état in Liberia, 1980.
On April 12, 1980, Samuel Doe led a military coup, killing President William R. Tolbert, Jr., in the Executive Mansion. Twenty-six of Tolbert’s supporters were also killed in the fighting. Shortly after the coup, government ministers were walked publicly around Monrovia in the nude and then summarily executed by a firing squad on the beach. Hundreds of government workers fled the country, while others were imprisoned. Here is the picture of the The execution itself.
It is noteworthy that this marked the end of the Americo-Liberian rule, which had lasted since independence. Liberia started as a colony of the American Colonization Society for freed slaves. White Americans were afraid of the rising number of freed slaves and considered it to be best to send them to Africa. The British had started doing the same in Sierra Leone, right next door. The freed slaves and their descendent became known as Americo-Liberians.
The Americo-Liberians of course knew little about the African culture their ancestors had before becoming enslaved. They had European-American educations and knowledge. So they ran the colony as some kind of little America in Africa. Which ironically included enslaving the indigenous people and suppressing them. Liberia was even kicked out of the League of Nation because of slavery. There were regular insurgencies and riots going on.
When Doe took over and killed Tolbert and his supporters this marked the end of the Americo-Liberian rule. Doe was eventually tortured and killed in front of a camera when Prince Johnson and Charles Taylor launched a military campaign against him. Eventually Charles Taylor was elected and then a second civil war started to dispose him. Quite a messy and brutal history.
16. Sgt. Stubby
Sgt. Stubby, a highly decorated war dog who fought with the US Army during World War I, 1919
He ‘joined’ the American 102nd Infantry Division which fought during World War I, smuggled along by his master, Robert Conroy, who had found him as a stray. As part of the 26th Division, his unit was one of the first committed to the front, fighting in over a dozen battles with distinction, and wounded twice, once from shrapnel, and once from a gas attack. During his time in the trenches, he became known for his acute senses, allowing him to warn the other soldiers of incoming gas attacks and artillery barrages. His forays into No Man’s Land resulted in the locating and rescue of numerous injured soldiers, and on one notable occasion, the capture of a German observer attempting to map out the American trench line, which resulted in his promotion to Sergeant.
With the end of the war, he returned to the US a hero, enjoying a meeting with President Wilson himself, and was personally presented with an award for his heroics by Gen. Pershing. Upon his retirement from the army, he ‘attended’ Georgetown University, where Conroy was pursuing a law degree, and he became the mascot, entertaining the crowds at halftime with his antics at football games. His body is now preserved by the Smithsonian.
17. Lviv Pogroms
Young Ukrainian boys with wooden clubs chase a battered and bloodied Jewish woman during the Lviv pogroms 1941. The Lviv pogroms were the consecutive massacres of Jews living in the city of Lwów (now Lviv, Ukraine), which took place from 30 June to 2 July 1941, and from 25 to 29 July 1941 in occupied Poland, during World War II.
18. Australian POWS
Australian POWS rescued from a Japanese prison camp (1944).
19. Stephen Hawking
1965: Stephen Hawking marries Jane Wilde.
20. Veronica Lake
Actress Veronica Lake with her hair twisted in a drill press, demonstrating potential dangers to women in factories during WWII, November 9, 1943. Veronica Lake was asked to change her hairstyle during the war and made a film for the government about “safety styles” for women working in factories. Changing her hairstyle affected her career negatively.
21. Chaplain John McNamara
Chaplain John McNamara of Boston makes the sign of the cross as he administers the last rites to photographer Dickey Chapelle, (the first female war correspondent to be killed in Vietnam), South Vietnam November 4, 1965 by Henri Huet.
Chapelle was covering a U.S. Marine unit on a combat operation near Chu Lai for the National Observer when she was seriously wounded, along with four Marines, by an exploding mine. She died in a helicopter en route to a hospital. She became the first female war correspondent to be killed in Vietnam, as well as the first American female reporter to be killed in action. Her body was repatriated with an honor guard consisting of six Marines and she was given full Marine burial.
22. Gwen Verdon
Dancer-actress Gwen Verdon in a hammock wearing a ballgown on NYC rooftop.
Mahatma Gandhi on the steps of 10 Downing Street, after he visited the British Prime Minister Ramsay MacDonald, 1931.
Winston Churchill commenting on Gandhi’s meeting with the Viceroy of India in 1931 said,
“It is alarming and nauseating to see Mr Gandhi, a seditious Middle Temple lawyer, now posing as a fakir of a type well known in the east, striding half naked up the steps of the viceregal palace, while he is still organising and conducting a campaign of civil disobedience, to parlay on equal terms with the representative of the Emperor-King.”
Here’s another memorable Churchill quote:
“I do not understand the squeamishness about the use of gas. I am strongly in favour of using poisonous gas against uncivilised tribes… [It] would spread a lively terror.”
24. For Jews Only
A woman on a park bench in Nazi Germany hides her face behind her handbag, 1938. The bench is marked ‘Nur Fur Juden’ (For Jews Only).
25. Fishing Trip
Che Guevara and Fidel Castro fishing, 1960.
People in Eastern Germany were able to buy bananas. However, the GDR did not import many of them, so they were really hard to get. There was no ban on bananas or anything. With the economy decreasing, the state was not able to get enough exchange currency to important luxury items from abroad.
I wonder in the year 2116 if someone will do 25 interesting photos from the 21st Century