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100 iconic photos that capture 100 years of world history

Stacker Logo By Rachel Cavanaugh of Stacker | Slide 1 of 101: It’s been said that a “picture is worth a thousand words,” and throughout history, the adage has proven true. Photographers have documented the major events of our time, from wars and protest marches to space landings, historic speeches, scientific discoveries, sporting events, and other unforgettable moments.

Not only have these photographs captured our attention visually, they’ve prompted action at times—even occasionally changing the course of history. During the 1960s, for example, images of children being sprayed with fire hoses brought attention to the Civil Rights movement. During the 1970s, a photograph of a college student screaming in Ohio turned America’s eyes towards the conflict in Cambodia and police brutality at home. A similar phenomenon occurred during the Vietnam War when, unlike the pre-screened shots permitted to be published during World War II, the images that came home were uncensored and graphic. These raw photos fueled general anti-war activism and may have even prompted John F. Kennedy to take action. 

It hasn’t all been doom and gloom, either. Photographs have captured our most joyous events and proudest achievements, from famous entertainers, athletes, movie stars, dancers, and others. Stacker gathered the most iconic images from the past 100 years, beginning in 1918 and leading up to present day. Scroll on to see history told in 100 photographs.

It’s been said that a “picture is worth a thousand words,” and throughout history, the adage has proven true. Photographers have documented the major events of our time, from wars and protest marches to space landings, historic speeches, scientific discoveries, sporting events, and other unforgettable moments.

Not only have these photographs captured our attention visually, they’ve prompted action at times—even occasionally changing the course of history. During the 1960s, for example, images of children being sprayed with fire hoses brought attention to the Civil Rights movement. During the 1970s, a photograph of a college student screaming in Ohio turned America’s eyes toward the conflict in Southeast Asia and police brutality at home. A similar phenomenon occurred during the Vietnam War when, unlike the pre-screened shots permitted to be published during World War II, the images that came home were uncensored and graphic. These raw photos fueled general anti-war activism

It hasn’t all been doom and gloom, either. Photographs have captured our most joyous events and proudest achievements, from famous entertainers, athletes, movie stars, dancers, and others.

Stacker gathered the most iconic images from the past 100 years, beginning in 1918 and leading up to the present day. Click through this slide show to see history told in 100 photographs.

© Gerard Malie /AFP // Getty Images

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