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WW2 Pacific battles in pictures by W Eugene Smith

Pacific battles of WW2 in pictures by W Eugene SmithAmerican photographer W Eugene Smith spent almost four years capturing the battles of the Pacific theater of WW2. He documented such important historical events as Battle of Sipan and a decisive battle of Iwo Jima. The WW2 assignment of W Eugene Smith was the very beginning of this bright photo career that made him a world-famous photographer.

A genius photographer followed the rule of thumb of the war correspondents: if you want your images to be good enough, you have to be close enough. This was mandatory for all outstanding war photographers like Eddie Adams and Susan Meiselas, and Eugene Smith wasn’t an exception. He approached the front line as close as possible to make the most excellent and heart-touching pictures. As a result, he paid a high toll for his passion for impressive images. He covered many of the most critical battles of the Pacific, including Tarawa, Saipan, Guam, and Iwo Jima.

Eugene Smith remembered once that he saw his photographs of World War II not strictly as a vehicle through which to communicate historical events but also as “a strong emotional catalyst” that would help flash the disasters of war and prevent them from occurring once more. The mortar fire severely wounded Eugene Smith in 1945 while covering the invasion of Okinawa in 1945. An explosion damaged his jaw, kneck, and left arm. The recuperation took long four years, and he underwent 32 operations.

The Battle of Iwo Jima, US forces landing on the beach

The Battle of Iwo Jima, US forces landing on the beach.

The unique approach of Eugene Smith

While the best-known WW2 Pacific battles photo belongs to Joe Rosenthal (Raising Flag on Iwo Jima), Eugene Smith photographed a different side of the war. He focused on capturing the emotions and feelings of both combatants and Japanese civilians. The natural empathy was a signature perk of the W Eugene Smith as a photographer. It allowed him to take heart-touching moments like a US soldier holding a wounded baby.

He photographed the Pacific Battles of WW2 as a correspondent of the LIFE magazine. He used to send some short pieces of information together with photos to the editors. In those notes, Smith mentioned that Japanese islands were some of the worst terrains that US forces have ever fought on.” LIFE magazine used some of Eugene Smith’s memoirs as captions for illustrations of the historical reportages.

Photographer continued to cooperate with the LIFE magazine after he recovered from the WW2 injury. He took his wide-spread ‘Country doctor’ photo in 1948. This image importance pushed it to the list of TOP 100 most influential pictures in history, according to the TIME magazine.

Interestingly, the destiny will return W Eugene Smith to Japan decades later, when he’ll produce his final significant photo essay about eco-disaster in Minamata.

US soldier washing in the rain

US soldier washing in the rain

US soldiers killed during the Battle of Saipan

US soldiers killed during the Battle of Saipan

Weary Marines filled canteens with water while the fighting raged on during the battle to wrest control of Saipan.

Weary Marines filled canteens with water while the fighting raged on during the battle to wrest control of Saipan.

Wounded US marines during the Battle of Saipan Island

Wounded US marines during the Battle of Saipan Island

US marine during the close battle, during the Battle of Saipan Island

Soldier during the close battle, during the Battle of Saipan Island.

US marine drinking water during the Battle of Saipan Island

Marine drinking water during the Battle of Saipan Island

U.S. soldiers tended to wounded comrades while the fighting raged on during the battle to take Saipan.

US soldiers managed to wounded comrades while the fighting erupted during the battle to take Saipan.

U.S. Marines tended to wounded comrades while the fighting raged on during the battle to take Saipan.

U.S. Marines taking care of wounded comrades while the combat exploded on during the battle to take Saipan.

The crew of the USS Bunker Hill aircraft carrier being briefed before the attack

The squad of the USS Bunker Hill aircraft carrier during a commander speech before the invasion.

The Battle of Saipan. Anenger fighter bombers moving towards the Saipan Island to attack the Japanese.

The Battle of Saipan. Avenger fighter bombers are flying towards Saipan Island to strike the Japanese.

The Battle of Saipan, 1944.

The Battle of Saipan, 1944.

The Battle of Okinawa. US anti-aerial artillery highlight the Japanese aircrafts.

The Battle of Okinawa. US anti-aerial artillery highlight the Japanese aircraft.

The Battle of Iwo Jima. US forces landing on the beach.

The Battle of Iwo Jima. US forces landing on the shore.

The battle of Iwo Jima. The demolition team blasts the cave on the hill

The battle of Iwo Jima. The demolition team blasts the cave on the hillside.

The Battle of Iwo Jima, US forces landing on the beach

The Battle of Iwo Jima, US forces landing on the beach.

Pacific campaign during WW2. American air-raid against the Island of Rabaul.

Pacific campaign during WW2. American air-raid against the Island of Rabaul.

Native civilians fled ruins of a village during the fighting between Japanese and American forces for control of Saipan.

Native civilians fled the ruins of a village during the combat between Japanese and American forces for control of Saipan.

Marines followed tanks against the last Japanese defenders with machine gunners providing cover. Three men alongside the photographer were hit just before he took the picture.

Marines guarded tanks against the last Japanese defenders with machine gunners providing cover. Three combatants alongside the photographer were hit just before he took the picture.

Japanese civilians emerging from the hidings, Saipan Island

Japanese civilians arising from the hidings, Saipan Island

Japanese civilians captured by the US forces

Japanese civilians captured by the US forces.

Bulldozer scooping out the grave for 2000 Japanese soldiers

Bulldozer preparing a common grave for 2000 perished Japanese soldiers.

Battle of Saipan, 1944.

Battle of Saipan, 1944.

Battle of Okinawa. US flame throwers used to dislodge the Japanese from thier bunkers

Battle of Okinawa. US flame throwers used to displace the Japanese from their bunkers.

Battle of Iwo Jima. US amphibious troops seen from a former Japanese gun tower

Battle of Iwo Jima. US amphibious troops as seen from a former Japanese gun tower

An American soldier pointed a rifle into a bunker during fighting in the final days of the invasion.

An American soldier pointed a rifle into a bunker during fighting in the final days of the invasion.

American attack against a Japanese ship during the Marshall Islands Campaign

American attack against a Japanese ship during the Marshall Islands Campaign

A US soldier helps a wounded soldier from his unit.

A US soldier helps a wounded private from his unit.

A U.S. Marine rested behind a cart on a rubble-strewn street during the battle to take Saipan from occupying Japanese forces.

A U.S. Marine rested behind a cart on a rubble-strewn road during the battle to take Saipan from occupying Japanese forces.

A medic tended to a wounded soldier during a fierce battle to take Saipan from occupying Japanese forces.

A medic tended to a wounded soldier during a fierce battle to take Saipan from occupying Japanese forces.

A Japanese father and daughter captured by the US marines

A Japanese father and daughter captured by the US marines.

US marine holding a wounded Japanese kid during WW2

US marine holding a wounded Japanese baby during WW2

 

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