Trick photos of world history

Several years ago, when photographs were not digital, they were also retouched. Often, the changes were related to political expediency. There are iconic cases of such retouching. They would trick the photograph to make some inconvenient character disappear or change some detail in the image to give it a totally different meaning. This is how they recorded some scenarios, With tricked photos of world history.

trick photos of the Second World War
World War II. Photo commissioned by Stalin. Image from La Vanguardia
Different trick photos from history.

Nowadays, the digital era intervenes in countless tasks. It allows us to make great modifications to photographs. Powerful photo editors help us to improve the quality of the image, but we can also modify it. Almost all the photographs we see on the covers of magazines and newspapers, not to mention social networks, are retouched to improve one or another feature and beautify the image.

But in the old days, they made real montages, such as the one of the American soldiers nailing the flag on Iwo Shima on Mount Suribachi. It was on February 23, 1945, and its author, Joe Rosenthal, even received a Pulitzer Prize for it, and it was always doubted that it had been staged beforehand. The real flag that was nailed there was much smaller than the one that was later added by retouching.

Photoshopped photo on Mt. Suribachi
Mount Suribachi – Image by La Vanguardia
Stalin also has his photos modified

Another well-known case is that of Stalin, who commissioned photographer Yevgeny Khaldelei to take a photo similar to that of Mount Suribachi. The famous photograph of Soviet soldiers raising the Soviet flag in Berlin was doctored and rigged from start to finish. The photographer spent several days studying the ideal location to take the most suitable shots. Even in the original shot of the photograph, the flag had not been unfurled, and was added later in the lab.

Likewise, this is not the only retouching of the photo. They also added the tanks and smoke to give it more drama. In addition, the soldier holding the banner is wearing two watches, probably thanks to the looting of some dead German soldier.

Khaldéi himself scraped the photograph with a pin to remove the second watch. Looting was a big problem and the photo was proof. Looting was punishable by death in the Soviet Union.

The same thing happened with Trotsky in the Soviet Union. It took Stalin four years to remove him from the party, when he succeeded, he fled to Mexico. At that time, he was literally erased from all the images where he appeared together with other leaders like Lenin.

Stalin's doctored photos
Image from Actually Notes Magazine
The case of Hitler and Rudolf Hess

In those days, there were no photo editors or computers for retouching. The fact consisted in modifying the images by cutting and pasting, or replacing the background to eliminate some inconvenient character.

As in the case of the photographs in which Rudolf Hess appears next to Hitler. After his trip to England without Hitler’s authorization, Hess was removed from the pictures as if he had never existed.

There are many, many more examples of historical photo retouching, and not only in politics. There were also doctored photos in show business and sports.

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