World War II

Italian artist Girolamo di Tommaso da Treviso created the ceremonial shield around 1535.

Ornate Medieval Shield Looted by the Nazis Will Be Returned to the Czech Republic

Created in the 16th century, the intricately decorated piece of armor was once owned by Archduke Franz Ferdinand

Three firefighters—George Johnson, Dan McWilliams and Bill Eisengrein—raising the American flag on September 11, 2001. This last of the series remains the most striking, yet least-known depiction of this scene.

September 11

A Lesser-Known Photo of an Iconic 9/11 Moment Brings Shades of Gray to the Day's Memory

On the 20th anniversary of the attacks, photographers who immortalized the famous scene reflect on what their images capture and what remains out of frame

This summer's excavations revealed a Nazi bunker nestled in the ruins of the Nunnery, a former Roman fort on the Channel Island of Alderney.

World War II Bunker Discovered Inside Ruins of Roman Fort

Nazi soldiers built the shelter during the German occupation of Alderney, an island in the English Channel

The Great Synagogue of Vilna was built in the 1630s.

Cool Finds

Remains of Lithuanian Synagogue Destroyed by Nazis and Soviets Unearthed

Excavations uncovered the Great Synagogue of Vilna's Torah ark, impressive staircases, a raised prayer platform and more

One of 664 uranium cubes used in a nuclear reactor during World War II. Researchers are trying to confirm whether a similar cube housed in the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory's collections was also part of the Nazis' failed nuclear program.

Did the Nazis Use This Uranium Cube in Their Failed Nuclear Program?

New research may help the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory confirm the identity of a mysterious object in its collections

In 1946, Lynwood Shull, police chief of Batesburg, South Carolina, brutally blinded U.S. Army veteran Isaac Woodard (pictured here with his mother). An all-white jury acquitted Shull of the attack in just 28 minutes.

After Victory in World War II, Black Veterans Continued the Fight for Freedom at Home

These men, who had sacrificed so much for the country, faced racist attacks in 1946 as they laid the groundwork for the civil rights movement to come

Veteran Martin Adler poses with Bruno (left), Mafalda (right) and Giuliana (center) Naldi. Thanks to social media and a dogged journalist, the 97-year-old reconnected with the three siblings after 77 years.

World War II Veteran Reunites With Italian Children He Almost Shot in 1944

Martin Adler encountered the three siblings, who were hiding in a wicker basket, while he was searching for Nazi soldiers

An aerial view of Poland's "Death Valley," where the Nazis carried out mass executions during World War II

Remains of Nazi Massacre Victims Discovered in Poland's 'Death Valley'

In January 1945, German forces murdered around 500 Polish resistance fighters in a forest near the village of Chojnice

Josephine Baker's remains will be reinterred at Paris' Panthéon on November 30.

Performer Josephine Baker to Be First Black Woman Buried at Paris' Panthéon

The talented entertainer, activist and spy will be the fifth woman accorded one of France's highest honors

Anne Frank pictured at school in Amsterdam in 1940

New Education Center Dedicated to Anne Frank Debuts in South Carolina

The space is the Amsterdam-based Anne Frank House's only official outpost in North America

Finds ranged from a portrait of Adolf Hitler to a revolver, gas masks, Nazi Party badges, brass knuckles, letters and documents.

Trove of Nazi Artifacts Found Stashed in Wall of German House

Likely hidden as the Allies advanced on the city at the end of WWII, the cache includes gas masks, a revolver and boxes of documents

The P-51 Mustang was the darling of the Army Air Forces. Aerodynamically agile and acrobatic, the aircraft was fast and furious in its effectiveness in downing enemy aircraft.

The P-51 Mustang Was the Quintessential Aircraft of the World War II Era

In duels over Eastern Europe, the agile fighter scored kill after kill

Tea Time, Hongkew, Shanghai, China, April 1946

Europe's Jews Found Refuge in Shanghai During the Holocaust

A new exhibition in Illinois centers the stories of the 20,000 Jewish refugees who fled to the Chinese city

The Messerschmitt Me 262 A-1a Schwalbe, meaning Swallow, held in the Smithsonian's National Air and Space Museum was captured in 1945 by a special U.S. Army Air Force team led by Col. Harold Watson. The Americans and British, who were also developing jet aircraft, used captured Swallows to enhance their own programs.

The Day Germany's First Jet Fighter Soared Into History

Allied pilots were surprised by the aircraft's speed and armament; but it was a case of too little too late

The U.S. Third Army discovers Édouard Manet’s The Winter Garden in the salt mines at Merkers on April 25, 1945.

When the Monuments Men Pushed Back Against the U.S. to Protect Priceless Art

A new show spotlights the scholars who protested the controversial, post-war American tour of 202 German-owned artworks

Visitors explore during a sneak preview of the newly renovated Harry S. Truman Presidential Museum and Museum in Independence, Missouri. The $29 million expansion took 2 years to complete.

At the Harry Truman Library and Museum, Visitors Get to Ask Themselves Where the Buck Stops

Interactive exhibitions pose questions about the decision to drop the nuclear bomb, the Red Scare, Truman's foreign policy and more

Greek police recovered two paintings by Pablo Picasso (left) and Piet Mondrian (right) this week, after the works were stolen in a 2012 heist of the National Gallery.

Cool Finds

How a Self-Professed 'Art Freak' Pulled Off a Bold Heist at Greece's National Museum

Greek police recovered two paintings by Picasso and Mondrian, stolen 9 years ago in an early morning caper, after a 49-year-old man confessed to the crime

James Smithson was the Smithsonian’s founding donor, bequeathing approximately one ton of gold British sovereigns.

Smithsonian 175

Why Did James Smithson Leave His Fortune to the U.S. and More Questions From Our Readers

You've got questions. We've got experts

An engineer demonstrates a car phone five months before the historic first call on a competing company’s commercial mobile telephone service in 1946.

The First Mobile Phone Call Was Made 75 Years Ago

The evolution of the cell phone illustrates what it takes for technologies to go from breakthrough to big time

Max Brod, a fellow writer and the literary executor of Kafka's estate, preserved the newly digitized collection of letters, manuscripts and drawings.

You Can Now Explore an Unseen Trove of Franz Kafka's Personal Papers Online

The National Library of Israel has digitized a rare collection of the "Metamorphosis" author's letters, drawings and manuscripts