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June 8, 2020

30 Stunning Color Photographs of Normandy, France After World War II

These stunning photographs of Normandy were taken by Magnum photographer David “Chim” Seymour in the Spring of 1947, during the second anniversary of the end of World War II.

Though the guns had long gone silent, the scars of war were still visible everywhere: damaged buildings, destroyed fortifications, and discarded tanks and airplanes. Civilians, many of which wore clothing left by the US Army, were still cleaning up and adapting to life in peace-time. It was during this trip that Seymour became concerned with children in post-war Europe, predating the series of stories he shot for UNICEF in 1948.

Though Chim’s black and white images from the story have been published many times since 1947, most of these color images have never been seen before.

The Normandy landings were the landing operations and associated airborne operations on Tuesday, June 6, 1944 of the Allied invasion of Normandy in Operation Overlord during World War II. Codenamed Operation Neptune and often referred to as D-Day, it was the largest seaborne invasion in history. The operation began the liberation of German-occupied France (and later western Europe) and laid the foundations of the Allied victory on the Western Front.

Planning for the operation began in 1943. In the months leading up to the invasion, the Allies conducted a substantial military deception, codenamed Operation Bodyguard, to mislead the Germans as to the date and location of the main Allied landings. The weather on D-Day was far from ideal, and the operation had to be delayed 24 hours; a further postponement would have meant a delay of at least two weeks, as the invasion planners had requirements for the phase of the moon, the tides, and the time of day that meant only a few days each month were deemed suitable. Adolf Hitler placed Field Marshal Erwin Rommel in command of German forces and of developing fortifications along the Atlantic Wall in anticipation of an Allied invasion.

The amphibious landings were preceded by extensive aerial and naval bombardment and an airborne assault—the landing of 24,000 American, British, and Canadian airborne troops shortly after midnight. Allied infantry and armored divisions began landing on the coast of France at 06:30. The target 50-mile (80 km) stretch of the Normandy coast was divided into five sectors: Utah, Omaha, Gold, Juno, and Sword. Strong winds blew the landing craft east of their intended positions, particularly at Utah and Omaha. The men landed under heavy fire from gun emplacements overlooking the beaches, and the shore was mined and covered with obstacles such as wooden stakes, metal tripods, and barbed wire, making the work of the beach-clearing teams difficult and dangerous. Casualties were heaviest at Omaha, with its high cliffs. At Gold, Juno, and Sword, several fortified towns were cleared in house-to-house fighting, and two major gun emplacements at Gold were disabled using specialized tanks.

The Allies failed to achieve any of their goals on the first day. Carentan, St. Lô, and Bayeux remained in German hands, and Caen, a major objective, was not captured until July 21. Only two of the beaches (Juno and Gold) were linked on the first day, and all five beachheads were not connected until June 12; however, the operation gained a foothold that the Allies gradually expanded over the coming months. German casualties on D-Day have been estimated at 4,000 to 9,000 men. Allied casualties were documented for at least 10,000, with 4,414 confirmed dead. Museums, memorials, and war cemeteries in the area now host many visitors each year.

(Photos: © David Seymour/Magnum Photos)


  1. "...most of these color images have never been seen before."
    Total bullshit.
    Chim was the president of Magnum photos until his death in 1956, these photos have been exhibited all over the world since they were first published in the late 1940's!
    Where do you even come up with this garbage?!

    1. Take a deep breath, monkey-boy.

    2. Don't worry. Like most of the rest of this site's users, he is gone now and won't be back.
      BTW, I thought your catch phrase was "Shut up, moron." Is that not working for you anymore?

    3. Shut up, moron.

  2. If you came here for historical accuracy and facts, you came to the wrong place. But if you came for pix of naked little girls you are apparently in luck. :(

    1. This comment has been removed by the author.




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