Most Powerful Historical Photos Ever Discovered

What Makes A Moment "Historic"

In some cases, only the passage of time and the consequence of that 'moment' makes us realize just how special it was; in other cases, regardless of time, context or place, we just KNOW that what we're looking at will ultimately have a huge say in shaping human history - with this in mind, we decided to gather together some of the most powerful and shocking historical photos ever taken. some of these photos have shaped human history.

Chernobyl Nuclear Disaster

An aerial view of the damaged Chernobyl nuclear-power plant, photographed a few weeks after the disaster, in May 1986. On April 26, 1986, a series of explosions and failures destroyed Chernobyl’s reactor No. 4. Several hundred staff and firefighters were faced by a fire that burned for 10 days sending radioactive radiation around the world. More than 50 reactor and emergency workers were killed in the immediate aftermath.

German Soldiers Reaction to Concentration Camps Footage, 1945

As part of the allied policy of postwar denazification, “forced confrontation” brought Germans face-to-face with the worst works of the Third Reich. The image shows the faces of German prisoners of war, captured by Americans. The original photo can be found in the US Holocaust Memorial Museum.

The Most Beautiful Suicide 

Bookkeeper Evelyn Mchale Leaps to Her Death from the 86th Floor Observation Deck of the Empire State Building, 1947. Technically rich, visually compelling and downright beautiful, this photo is widely regarded among the most iconic suicide photographs. In accordance with Mchale’s last wishes, she was cremated with no memorial, service or grave.

The body of 23-year-old Evelyn McHale rests atop a crumpled limousine minutes after she jumped to her death from the Empire State Building, May 1, 1947.

Chernobyl Nuclear Plant Meltdown Forms the World's Most Dangerous Lava Flow

The “Elephant's Foot” Eight months after the Chernobyl nuclear disaster, this solidified lava mass of melted nuclear fuel was discovered in the ruins of the reactor building. At the time of its discovery, the emitted radiation was high enough to be lethal in less than three minutes.

West Berliners Lift & Show Their Children to Grandparents Residing on The Eastern Side, 1961

When the Berlin Wall was built in August 1961 entire families and neighborhoods became suddenly divided in what had until then been Germany’s capital. From family to friends to work colleagues, tens of thousands became abruptly separated with no chance of meeting face to face.

Executing a Young German Communist In 1919

Some sources say that the circumstances were real, others claim that the photograph had been staged for PR purposes. Two of the guys in the back rank appear to be unfamiliar with their Mauser riffles? The supposed to be executed man looking way too calm? Authentic or fake, we may never know.

Buchenwald concentration camp

German civilians are forced by American troops to bear witness to Nazi atrocities at Buchenwald concentration camp, mere miles from their own homes, April 1945.

History’s Most Evil Man: A Young Hitler Cheers the Commence of WWI, 1914

Local photographer Heinrich Hoffmann took this photo at a rally in support of war against Russia in Munich’s Odeonsplatz on August 2, 1914. Used countless times in newspapers, books, biographies and school books, this photo would later become a popular tool in the Nazi propaganda machine, appearing with headers such as “Adolf Hitler: A man of the People”.

French Resistance Member Georges Blind Smiles at A German Firing Squad, 1944

Georges Blind was a fireman from Belfort, France arrested in October 1944 for resistance activities. He refused to speak so the Nazis made him undergo a mock execution, hoping his comrades would speak. It didn't work. The Germans then deported him to Blechhammer concentration camp where he was murdered in November 1944.

Buchenwald concentration camp 2

These are Buchenwald concentration camp guards who received a beating from the prisoners when the camp was liberated by the Americans. The picture was taken in April 1945, by the U.S. military photographer Elizabeth Miller.

California Lumberjacks Felling Giant Redwoods, 1915

A time when tree logging was at its peak at Humboldt County, California. Up to then, the redwood forest covered more than two million acres of the coast of California. This location attracted ambitious lumbermen, and a minor gold rush brought others to the region.

Mickey & Minnie Costumes, Disneyland, 1930s

In our opinion, these original costumes of Disney icons Mickey and Minnie Mouse are terrifying! The kid in the picture
certainly seems to think so. We’re not entirely sure whose idea it was to give Mickey and Minnie a serious makeover,
but whoever it was deserved a medal – the next version was far closer to how we’ve now become accustomed to seeing them
and the millions of kids who visit the park each year are the happier for it!

The Last Photo of All Four Beatles Together

Everyone has their own particular favorite band or musician, but speaking in general terms, The Beatles are often
regarded as the greatest band of all time – they are certainly one of the most popular. When the four boys from
Liverpool, England decided to call it a day, people around the world were absolutely devastated. Taken August 22nd,
1969, this is the last photo of ‘the fab four’ together. Today, they remain as popular as ever and have influenced
countless other bands.

Couple Refuse to Allow Their Home to Be Destroyed for New Road

Construction seems to be moving at an alarming rate, and it seems that sooner rather than later, there won’t be any
space left in the world; with big corporations looking to build more and more hotels, roads and other infrastructures,
there’s something quite inspiring about individuals taking a stand – this picture was possible because an elderly
Chinese couple refused to sign an agreement allowing their house to be demolished for a new road. What a strange and
surreal sight!

Traffic Chaos On The First Morning After Sweden Changed Driving Lane, 1967

Different countries drive on different sides of the road, and it can often be difficult to pick things up if you find
yourself having to drive in a foreign country; how well you adapt is obviously hugely dependent on how good a driver
you are in the first place. Well, regardless of how good any of these drivers were beforehand, Sweden plunged into
chaos the first morning after they decided to switch from driving on the left to the right.

Madonna, Sting and Tupac Hanging Out

When you get three of the biggest music stars in history gathered around the very same table, one can only imagine what
they were talking about – whatever it was, we bet it was super cool! Of course, this is none other than Madonna, Sting
and hip-hop legend Tupac, you know, just casually hanging out. We would love to have been a fly on the wall during this
night and we bet the three superstars were talking until the early hours.

Einstein’s Office on the Day He Died, April 18th 1955

At first glance, this looks like your typical – albeit slightly messy! – office. But then we learn who its occupant was
and the poignancy of the scene is clear: this is Albert Einstein’s office on the day he died, April 18th, 1955.
Fittingly, there are equations scribbled on the board, while the chaos on his desk is befitting of a man who was
notoriously messy. There’s a misconception that to do good work, one must keep a tidy workplace; Einstein proved
otherwise!

April 12th 1945 Franklin D. Roosevelt’s Funeral Procession

Franklin Delano Roosevelt (January 30, 1882 – April 12, 1945), often referred to by his initials FDR, was an American statesman and politician who served as the 32nd president of the United States from 1933 until his death in 1945. A member of the Democratic party, he won a record 4 presidential elections and became a central figure in world events during the first half of the 20th century. His last years in office were dominated by World War II.

Marilyn Monroe Opens a Soccer Match

Here is Hollywood icon Marilyn Monroe kicking out the first ball in a soccer game between a combined American Soccer
League team and Hapoel FC, from Israel. The match took place on the 12th of May 1957. Marilyn is rumored to have had to
try the kick three times before photographers could get the exact shots they wanted – once the actual match started,
the Israeli team ended up winning 6-4. but all anyone could talk about afterward was Marilyn’s ferocious kick!

Circus Elephant Being Transported in the Early 1930's

Established way back in 1871, Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus was an American traveling circus company
billed as ‘The Greatest Show on Earth’; largely due to weakening attendance and high operating costs, the circus closed
on May 21, 2017, after 146 years in existence. Still, the circus remains a fixture in the US and beyond, and elephants
have long been an integral part of the experience – this picture depicts the transportation of a circus elephant in the
early 1930s.

The Man Who Played Alien

It might not look scary here, but in the movie, it was terrifying. Surprising or not, Badejo’s role in Alien was his one and only every on-screen acting part. He died on the 22nd of December, 1992 from sickle cell anaemia. He was 39 years old.

Extinct: Only Known Photo of a Living ‘Quagga’

This isn’t something you’ll see every day…in fact, you won’t see this animal AT ALL anymore: this is the only known
photo of a living Quagga at London zoo, taken in 1870. The Quagga was a plains zebra that lived in South Africa before
becoming extinct some time in the latter part of the 19th century. Initially, experts believed the animal to be of its
own species, but genetic studies ultimately decided it was a subspecies of the far more common plains zebra.

Bill Gates Gets Arrested

Usually, when someone is arrested, it’s not exactly their proudest moment, but Bill Gates, the founder of Microsoft,
seems to have taken it in his stride! Pictured after being arrested in December 1977 in Albuquerque, New Mexico, while
the exact circumstances behind the arrest remain unclear, the general consensus is that he was pulled over after
jumping a red light while driving without a license. Naughty boy! Gates would go onto become one of the richest men in
the world.

Photo of Salvador Dali & Three Flying Cats

Legendary Spanish surrealist painter Salvador Dali was well known for his eccentricities, so it seems very fitting that
he would be the central subject in this strange and beautiful image. The photo was taken by celebrated photographer
Philippe Halsman, who knew he would need to create something elaborate around his notoriously eccentric subject –
Halsman’s wife and young daughter stood out of the frame and threw three cats and a bucket of water into the air while
Dali jumped up!

Bob Marley & Jimi Hendrix Playing Soccer, 1968

This photo depicts what was a CHANCE meeting between two men who are now regarded as being among the most iconic
musicians in human history. This previously unknown meeting between Jimi Hendrix and Bob Marley took place in Greenwich
Village, lower Manhattan in 1968 when a 23-year-old Marley happened to bump into Hendrix jamming with some of Blues
musicians. Clearly, someone who was there that day got hold of a soccer ball and hey presto, this amazing shot was
taken.

Unbroken Seal on Pharaoh’s Tomb, 1922 (3,245 Years Untouched)

The 1922 discovery by Howard Carter of Tutankhamun’s (Tutankhamun means ‘Living Image of Amun’) nearly intact tomb
received worldwide press coverage at the time, and sparked a renewed public interest in ancient Egypt – Tutankhamun was
an Egyptian pharaoh of the 18th dynasty, during the period of Egyptian history known as the New Kingdom. Tutankhamun
was nine years old when he became Pharaoh and reigned for about ten years; his death may have occurred unexpectedly,
prior to the completion of a grander tomb.

Earliest Born Individual Ever Captured on Film

At first glance, the photo of this woman might not seem particularly special or significant – but the truth is, it is both those things and more! For those who didn’t already know, this woman is none other than Hannah Stilley. Reported to have been born way back in the year 1746, here is Hannah photographed nearly hundred years later – photographic experts believe that Hannah, via this very picture, is the earliest born individual ever captured on film. Incredible.

The Brady Bunch Meets The Jacksons, 1971

Before Michael Jackson went on to achieve incredible success as a solo artist, he was a member – alongside various
family members – of the Jackson 5; a huge success in their own right, this image depicts Jackson and his siblings
meeting another famous family (albeit a fictional one!) in the shape of 1970s TV favorites The Brady Bunch. Considered
one of the last of the old-style family sitcoms, The Brady Bunch aired for five seasons between 1969 and 1974.

First Ever Hair Dryer, 1920's

You’ve just come out of the shower and your hair is soaking wet, but it’s okay. because you’ve got your trusty,
convenient hair dryer – well, it wasn’t always as simple as that! One of the household appliances we take for
granted today, things were a little bit different in the 1920s when the first ever har dryer entered the
market. Of course, they weren’t yet suitable for the home, and imagine how much space they took up at the
salon!

Last of the Alcatraz Inmates Leaving the Prison in 1963

Now a popular tourist attraction after initially being used as the site for a notorious prison, Alcatraz Island is
located in San Francisco Bay, 1.25 miles (2.01 km) offshore from San Francisco, California, United States. The small
island was famously used as that aforementioned federal prison from 1934 until 1963. In 1972, Alcatraz became part of a
national recreation area and received designation as a National Historic Landmark in 1986. This pic shows the last of
the inmates leaving in 1963.

Audrey Hepburn & Friend

Audrey Hepburn was a huge movie star in her time and was the lovable star of such Hollywood classics as Breakfast at
Tiffany’s. Roman Holiday, Funny Face, Sabrina, and of course, My Fair Lady. Here she is just doing her weekly shop,
perhaps on the lookout for some bargains…oh, and she just so happens to have her pet deer for company! Long before Mike
Tyson had a pet tiger, Audrey did it so much better with her pet deer!

Muhammad Ali & The Beatles

Born Cassius Marcellus Clay Jr. in 1942, Muhammad Ali was an American professional boxer, activist, and philanthropist.
He’s widely regarded as one of the greatest sports icons in history and most fans and critics deem him to be the
greatest boxer ever. Here he is ‘punching’ The Beatles, who are similarly iconic; the British band had an incredible 17
number one hits in the USA while in their homeland, in terms of revenue accumulated, they are the most successful band
ever.

Shield to Protect Face During Snow Storms in Canada, 1939

When it comes to battling the elements, say, the blazing sun or the terrible chill of winter, there are limits to what
even the most advanced pieces of technology can do, and we usually have to rely on clothes and other garments to help
us battle the elements – so while these strange-looking shields used to protect people’s faces in snow storms in 1939
might look odd, how far have we really come since then? Still, imagine wearing one of these today!

Illegal Alcohol Poured Onto Street During Prohibition

From 1920 to 1933 in the United States, the country was forced to adhere to strict alcohol laws, in a period known as
prohibition – prohibition is the illegality of the manufacturing, storage in barrels or bottles, transportation, sale,
possession, and consumption of alcohol including alcoholic beverages, or a period of time during which such illegality
was enforced. As you can see in this pic from 1929, the illegal alcohol in this building in Detroit is being poured
onto the street.

Nikola Tesla in His Laboratory

Born in 1856, Nikola Tesla was a Serbian American inventor, electrical engineer, mechanical engineer, physicist, and
futurist, best known for his contributions to the design of the modern alternating current (AC) electricity supply
system. His name has become synonymous with all things electrical and he was a pioneer in his field. Here he is in his
laboratory, sitting behind his ‘magnifying transmitter’. Tesla conducted pioneering work in electric light, electric
motors, radio, x-ray, remote control, radar, wireless communications, and robotics.

Adolf Hitler Inspecting and Critiquing His Massive 800mm Railway Gun

The German Heavy Schwerer Gustav from the late 1930's was the largest gun ever built. It was more than 149 feet long, 40 feet tall and weighed an astounding 1,500 tons. The steel factory made only two of them by design, and none of them worked well.

The weapon derived from past experience of WWI, After witnessing the success of other railway guns, the German High Command asked Krupp’s engineers to design a weapon who's able to destroy  and break the French border fortifications known as the Maginot Line.

First African-American to Attend White School, 1960

Born in 1954, civil rights activist Ruby Nell Bridges Hall was the first African-American child to attend an all-white
elementary school in the South; the school in question was the William Frantz Elementary School in Louisiana, and Ruby
attended during the New Orleans school desegregation crisis in 1960. Due to the controversy, she had to to be escorted
to and from school by US marshalls, as depicted in the picture. In 2014, a statue of Bridges was unveiled in the
school’s courtyard.

Salvador Dali Kisses Raquel Welch’s Hand of After Finishing Her Portrait, 1965

Painted by Spanish surrealist painter Dalí as part of the promotional work for Richard Fleischer's Fantastic Voyage (1966), starring American actress and singer Raquel Welch and Stephen Boyd. The painting was made in the window of the National Cash Register showroom at Madison Avenue and 61st St, New York, on 9 February 1965.

Filming the MGM Studio Emblem in 1928

Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Studios Inc. (more commonly known by its initialized version MGM) is an American media company,
involved primarily in the production and distribution of feature films and television programs. It is one of the
world’s oldest and most iconic film studios, partly to do with the ‘lion’s roar’ emblem presented before each and every
film it’s involved with. MGM’s headquarters are located in Beverly Hills, California. This image is a behind the scenes
look at the recording of that aforementioned roar!

Chernobyl Reactor Liquidation 

Liquidators clear radioactive debris from the roof of the No. 4 reactor after the Chernobyl Disaster. They throw it to the ground where it will after be covered by the sarcophagus. The work be done very fast. They have only seconds  to reach a pile of debris, shovel load, and throw it among the ruins.

Spoils Of War - WWI

After the end of WWI, Americans came back home and showed what they brought back home. It's almost impossible to imagine it happening today but here's a picture of a giant pyramid made out of captured German helmets from WWI, at Grand Central Terminal, New York, 1918

Massive Crowds Gather for the First Woodstock, 1969

The Woodstock Music & Art Fair (informally referred to as simply Woodstock) was a music festival in the United
States in 1969; it has since gone down as perhaps the most iconic music festival in history. An enduring image of the
‘flower power’ movement. the festival attracted an audience of more than 400,000. Scheduled for August 15–17 on a dairy
farm in the Catskill Mountains of southern New York State, such were the revelries, it ran over to Monday, August 18.

Man Measuring Women’s Bathing Suits

Imagine: you’ve gone to the beach, and all you want to do is dive straight into the ocean, but before you’re allowed
into the water, this man appears to measure your bathing suit; if it’s too short, you’re fined on the spot. The women
in this picture don’t need to imagine anything, because that is exactly what they were put through in the
1920s. We may have come a long way since then, but there’s still some way to go.

Historical Urban America - Los Angeles

Long before Frank Zappa moved to the corner of Lookout Mountain and Laurel Canyon Boulevard, here we see a 1913 photo of a man overlooking a beautiful yet unexploited Laurel Canyon in Hollywood.