Adolf Hitler declares war on the United States - Kroll Opera House, Berlin, on December 11th 1941. Mads Madsen /

By Ben Wheeler

ON THE ANNIVERSARY of the declarations that fanned the flames of World War Two, a series of chilling photos from inside Nazi Germany have resurfaced.

One picture, which depicts Adolf Hitler stood triumphantly in the Reichstag as he declares war against the United States of America to Nazi colleagues on December 11, 1941, has been specially colourised as part of a new book on the history of photography, ‘Retrographic: History in Colour.’

Other chilling snaps from the Nazi era show a huge gathering at a party rally in 1934, whilst an additional photograph shows a group of school children doing the Nazi salute.

101st Airborne Division WW2. Public domain /


The Nazi’s were not the only country to make a declaration of war seventy-six years ago today as Mussolini’s Italy joined Hitler in declaring war on the US after America had declared war themselves on Japan in the wake of Pearl Harbour.

President Franklin D. Roosevelt then, in turn, declared war on Germany and Italy as pictured, whilst Poland also declared war on Japan.

Michael D. Carroll, author of Retrographic, discusses Hitler’s declaration of war to a greater extent in the book.

Nazi party rally grounds (1934). Public domain /


“Just three days before this speech, on December 8th, 1941, Japan attacked America’s Pacific fleet in Pearl Harbour, Hawaii, bringing America into Britain’s war against Japan. Against the advice of his most senior supporters, who feared a Germany already at war with Britain and Russia would overextend itself, Hitler decided nevertheless to declare war on America,” he said.

The Nazi Salute at School (1934). Children were indoctrinated early on. Public domain /


“The Fuhrer was surrounded by his closest allies as he made his history-changing declaration. Directly behind him sat Hermann Goering, acting as President of the Reichstag and next to him was Foreign Minister Joachim von Ribbentrop to his right, and Propaganda chief Joseph Goebbels on his left.

Hitler with unidentified Nazis. Public domain /

“Hitler declared war on the US in part, so his submarine fleet of U-boats could attack American supply ships that were vital in keeping Britain in the war, but also in the belief that Japan would reciprocate by declaring war on his enemy, Russia. He was mistaken. Japan failed to declare war on Russia, which allowed the Soviets to throw all their forces at countering the German invaders.”

Striking images like these are featured in British author Michael D. Carroll’s new book, Retrographic on the colourisation of historical images.

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