These GIFs Offer A Rare Glimpse Of World War II

Friday marks the 70th anniversary of D-Day, when 156,000 Allied troops launched the largest amphibious invasion in history.

Many -- including those who were part of the D-Day invasion -- are pausing this June 6 to remember the historic turning point in World War II. The GIFs below give a glimpse of what WWII was like through rare historical footage.

A demonstration of napalm fuel. (Courtesy NARA via DPLA.)

Footage from the cockpit of a U.S. P-38 fighter plane as it strafes German railroad yards, oil storage tanks, locomotives, bridges, and motor convoys in 1945. (Courtesy NARA via DPLA.)

A U.S. Coast Guard officer is shown on lookout in a Department of Defense film about the Invasion of Normandy. (Courtesy NARA, via DPLA.)

The Army's mobile field bakery can be seen in action. (Courtesy NARA, via DPLA.)

Footage from a film created by the Department of the Air Forces depicting the Takarazuka Revue, an all-female musical theater troupe that still performs in Takarazuka, Japan. (Courtesy NARA, via DPLA.)

This bit of historical newsreel footage shows paratrooper training circa 1944 in Cedar Falls, Iowa. (Courtesy NARA, via DPLA.)

Footage of Operation Crossroads, the first atomic test after Nagasaki. It was designed to investigate the effect of nuclear weapons on warships. (Courtesy NARA, via DPLA.)

Archival footage of U.S. Army pilots circa 1943. The identities of the soldiers unknown. (Courtesy NARA, via DPLA.)

Captured Japanese home movie footage shows a beach scene. The identities of the family unknown. (Courtesy NARA, via DPLA.)

Mt. Vesuvius can be seen erupting from Naples, Italy, in March 1944. The last time Mt. Vesuvius had a major eruption was in March 1944. Massive explosions, starting on March 18, 1944 ended up destroying the villages of San Sebastiano al Vesuvio, Massa di Somma, Ottaviano, and part of San Giorgio a Cremano. The footage used for this loop was taken by Army pilots based out of the Pompeii Airfield near Terzigno, Italy, and shows the stunning growth and movement of the eruption smoke. (Courtesy NARA, via DPLA.)

The Digital Public Library of America (DPLA) and Imgur have teamed up for the Summer of Archives, a three-month experiment that will feature loads of awesome historical items from the sites' huge network of collections. For more information, go here.



U.S. Capitol Photos