Stunning color images of World War II

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Normandy, France, June 6, 1944

Remarkable images from World War II to mark the 75th anniversary of the beginning of conflict. See gallery

September 1, 2014 marks the 75th anniversary of the start of World War II, one of the defining – and most visually recognizable – events of the 20th century.

Although color photography was rare at the time, a small series of fully hued images were captured between 1939 and 1945, which offer an incredibly alternative view of the conflict – like this image of some of the first United States infantrymen approaching Omaha Beach in France, as part of the D-Day landings.

 

Click or swipe through for more amazing images of World War II in color.

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China, March 1940

Members of the Chinese Army.

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Britain, circa 1940

British infantrymen in training.

Hugo Jaeger/Timepix/The LIFE Picture Collection/Getty Images
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Kunto, Poland, circa 1940

Displaced Jews stand outside a car that's been converted into a shelter in the Kunto Ghetto.

Fox Photos/Getty Images
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Unknown location, circa 1940

British Royal Air Force members in training.

Ivan Dmitri/Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images
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Canada, circa 1940

Royal Canadian Air Force crew in training.

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Unknown location, circa 1940

British Royal Navy sailors prepare to launch torpedoes.

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England, circa 1940

American pilot Lieutenant Vernon L. Richards flies over Britain.

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France, circa 1940

A soldier guards a huge piece of German coastal artillery on the Atlantic Wall (colourized photo).

William Vandivert/The LIFE Picture Collection/Getty Images
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London, England, October 15, 1940

A bus lies in a large crater in the road in the London neighbourhood of Balham after a German air raid during the Battle of Britain.

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North Atlantic Ocean, circa 1941

A German submarine emerges from the sea.

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Unknown location, circa 1941

A German tank on the Eastern Front.

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Soviet Union, circa 1941

German soldiers attack a Russian bunker on the Eastern Front.

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Soviet Union, circa 1941

German troops take a cigarette break on the Eastern Front.

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Aleutian Islands, United States, circa 1941

An American plane in action.

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Soviet Union, circa 1941

A German solider aims a flamethrower across a field of tall grass.

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Soviet Union, circa 1941

German machine gunners survey the land on the Eastern Front.

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Kentucky, United States, circa 1942

A tank driver in training at Fort Knox.

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Near Moscow, Soviet Union, circa 1942

A German tank and infantrymen roll through thick fog during during the Battle of Moscow.

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Soviet Union, circa 1942

A Russian tank abandoned in a sunflower field on the Eastern Front.

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Hawaii, United States, February, 1942

American sailors in Hawaii commemorate the victims of the Pearl Harbor attacks.

Margaret Bourke-White/The LIFE Picture Collection/Getty Images
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North Africa, circa 1942

United States servicemen buy dates from a market in an unspecified town.

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California, United States, circa 1942

An American woman working on an airplane motor at a plant in California.

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Soviet Union, circa 1942

Two German soldiers hold a Swastika flag to protect against friendly fire on the Eastern Front.

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Unknown location, December 1942

Finnish soldiers in action against the Soviet Union.

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Pretoria, South Africa, January 1943

A Commonwealth soldier local to South Africa – known as an Askari – guards an Allied air base.

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Unknown location, circa 1943

A female pilot of the Air Transport Auxiliary.

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Unknown location, circa 1943

A British Royal Air Force airman.

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Britain, circa 1943

British munitions workers learn to fire a mortar under army supervision.

Time Life Pictures/US Navy/The LIFE Picture Collection/Getty Images
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Japanese-held Wake Island (no date)

US Navy Douglas SBD Dauntless torpedo dive bombers on a bombing raid.

Eliot Elisofon/Time & Life Pictures/Getty Images
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El Guettar Valley, Tunisia, 1943

Lt. General George S. Patton watches American tanks in the desert.

Eliot Elisofon/The LIFE Picture Collection/Getty Images
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El Guettar Valley, Tunisia, 1943

German POWs receive water in an Allied-controlled prison camp.

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North Africa, March 1943

The American crew of a bomber nicknamed ‘Oh-7’ prepare to board.

Carl Mydans/The LIFE Picture Collection/Getty Images
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Cassino, Italy, May 1, 1943.

British and South African soldiers hold up a Nazi flag as a trophy.

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California, United States, circa 1943

United States soldiers undergo chemical weapons training.

J. R. Eyerman/The LIFE Picture Collection/Getty Images
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Tarawa, Gilbert Islands, December 1943

A United States sailor inspects his sea shell collection.

J.R. Eyerman/The LIFE Picture Collection/Getty Images
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Near New Guinea, in April, 1944

Flight deck crew prepare for launch aboard the United States’ vessel USS Lexington.

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Southern England, circa 1944

Soldiers move ammunition and weapons onto planes.

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England, circa 1940-1945

American pilots, navigators, bombardiers, gunners and radio operators gather at an unspecified Air Force base.

Carl Mydans/The LIFE Picture Collection/Getty Images
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Unknown location, June 1944

United States soldiers play volleyball on the deck of a troop ship.

Carl Mydans/The LIFE Picture Collection/Getty Images
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Unknown location, June 1944

A United Service Organizations performer entertains United States soldiers aboard a troop transport ship.

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England, June 4, 1944

United States Army soldiers prepare to leave the English coast for the Normandy region of France ahead of the Allied invasion of German-occupied France - codenamed Operation Overlord, but also known as the D-Day landings.

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England, June 5, 1944

United States troops march to their ships on the English coast before leaving for France, as part of D-Day operations.

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Normandy, France, June 6, 1944

A United States landing craft filled with invasion troops approaches the French coast during the Normandy landings.

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Normandy, France, June 1944

A group of German POWs taken during Operation Overlord are held behind barbed wire.

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Gosport, England, June 1944

German POWs arrive in England.

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Normandy, France, June 1944

A German Panzer tank abandoned following combat.

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France, July 20, 1944

American Mustang fighters fly high over Europe.

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Saint-Lô, France, August 1944

Allied vehicles pass through the ruins of Saint-Lô, a French commune destroyed during the Normandy landings.

Frank Scherschel/The LIFE Picture Collection/Getty Images
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Paris, France, August 1944

A burned-out German Panther tank on display in Place de la Concorde after the liberation of Paris.

Frank Scherschel/The LIFE Picture Collection/Getty Images
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Paris, France, August 26, 1944

Civilians parade through the streets in celebration of the previous day's liberation of Paris by the Allies.

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Paris, France, August 1944

American soldiers buy ice creams outside the cathedral of Notre-Dame de Paris following the liberation of Paris.

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New York, United States, August 11, 1944

Unites States battleship the USS Missouri is commissioned during a ceremony at the New York Navy yard.

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England, circa 1945

Ace American pilot Lieutenant Colonel Francis S. Gabreski poses in a cockpit. The flags refer to the 28 enemy planes brought down by Gabreski.

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Livadiya, Soviet Union, February 1945

British Prime Minister Winston Churchill, American President Franklin Delano Roosevelt and Soviet General Secretary Joseph Stalin (front row, left to right) – three leaders of the major allied nations during World War II – pose during the Yalta Conference, held to discuss the post-war Europe.

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Near Remagen, Germany, March 1945

Two United States soldiers guard the Allied Rozisch-Blackburn-Thompkins-Bridge across the Rhine.

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Iceland, June 1945

A United States floatplane flies at dawn.

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Yokosuka, Japan, August 1945

Japanese Vice Admiral Michitoro Totsuka, commanding officer of Yokosuka Naval base, surrenders to the United States Navy.

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