The amazing life and work of ace war photographer ROBERT CAPA

The British soldiers were all tense. They were in a landing vessel and within minutes they would disembark at Omaha beach on the French coast. It was D-Day in 1944. The captain had told them that chances were half of them would be killed in the hail of German bullets. They noticed a man casually puffing at a cheroot. On his shoulder was not a gun, but a camera.

The man was Life magazine's ace war photographer Robert Capa.

Capa was born Andre Friedman in Austria. He was a Jew. At the rise of Hitler, he moved first to Britain then to America. There he adopted the name Robert Capa.

He was the playboy around town, carefree and naughty.

To try his hand at war photography he went to Spain in 1936 to cover the Spanish Civil War.

There he met the beautiful lens woman Gerda Taro. Gerda's attitude of going to any length to cover the ongoing war attracted Capa towards her. She used to say that to get a good picture it is necessary to go close to the object. She died when she stepped on a landmine.

Capa's brief liaison with Gerda and her gruesome death changed him for ever. He never married. War photography became his passion and his suicidal motto was, "If your photographs aren't good enough, you're not close enough."

After the Spanish Civil war Capa got his chances during the Second World War.

He shot to fame by his coverage of D-day. He was injured with three bullet wounds.

The rolls he shot were flown to Britain but unfortunately due to a mistake of a lab technician, four of the rolls got spoiled. Only a few photographs of D-day could be saved.

But these were enough to make the people understand the horrors of war when they were published by Life magazine.

Capa became famous.

He was invited for an assignment to cover the war in Indo-China where the French were battling the Vietnamese. He toured widely with the French soldiers and got some great pictures. One day he got down from the jeep ( despite admonitions by the soldiers) and moved onwards to capture on film the advance of French troops. Ten minutes later there was an explosion. Capa had stepped on a landmine.

Capa died the way his beloved Gerda had died.

Below are some of the greatest works of Robert Capa

BELGIUM. W.W.II. Ardennes. Battle of the Bulge. Near Bastogne. December 23rd-26th, 1944. An American soldier capturing a German soldier.

INDO-CHINA. On the road from Namdinh to Thaibinh. A French military convoy. May 25th, 1954.

Paris liberated: A French civilian who was unable to contain his wrath against a German soldier who had surrendered.

Omaha Beach. June 1944. French fishermen looking at the bodies of soldiers killed during the landing.

Spanish Civil War: The Death of a Loyalist Militiaman, Cerro Muriano, Cordoba front, September 5, 1936.

American soldiers deal with the treacherous conditions of Omaha Beach, Normandy, France, June 6, 1944.

An American soldier landing on Omaha Beach, D-day, June 1944.

An American soldier killed by German snipers, Leipzig, Germany, April 18, 1945.

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Points To Ponder


It is difficult to distinguish between the quality of both the German and Russian soldiers. Both were motivated by their love for their motherland. But there were others factors that drove the two sides to such desperate fighting.

One, both sides knew that this was a no-holds bar war. Not fighting was thus not an option.

Second, both Hitler and Stalin had squads that killed any deserter. Turning away from fighting was just not possible.

Thus was seen some of the most bitter, brutal and desperate fighting on the WW2 eastern (Russian) Front.
"Those who do not remember the past are condemned to repeat it."
-- George Santayana


"Be polite; write diplomatically; even in a declaration of war one observes the rules of politeness."
--Otto von Bismarck

"When the enemy advances, withdraw; when he stops, harass; when he tires, strike; when he retreats, pursue.'
--Mao Zedong


"The main thing is to make history, not to write it."
--Otto von Bismarck

"When you have to kill a man it costs nothing to be polite."
--Winston Churchill


"In time of war the loudest patriots are the greatest profiteers."
--August Bebel

"God is not on the side of the big battalions, but on the side of those who shoot best."

Quotes about War....

"Anyone who has ever looked into the glazed eyes of a soldier dying on the battlefield will think hard before starting a war."
---Otto von Bismarck


"Naturally the common people don't want war; neither in Russia, nor in England, nor in America, nor in Germany. That is understood. But after all, it is the leaders of the country who determine policy, and it is always a simple matter to drag the people along, whether it is a democracy, or a fascist dictatorship, or a parliament, or a communist dictatorship. Voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is to tell them they are being attacked, and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same in any country."
--Hermann Goering


"To conquer the enemy without resorting to war is the most desirable. The highest form of generalship is to conquer the enemy by strategy."
--Tzu Sun

"All men are brothers, like the seas throughout the world; So why do winds and waves clash so fiercely everywhere?"
--Emperor Hirohito