Thursday, October 6, 2011
Raising a flag over the Reichstag is a historic World War II photograph taken during the Battle of Berlin on 2 May 1945, by Yevgeny Khaldei. It depicts several Soviet troops raising the flag of the Soviet Union atop the German Reichstag building. The photograph was instantly popular, being reprinted in thousands of publications. It came to be regarded around the world as one of the most significant and recognizable images of the war.
The identities of the men in the picture were often disputed, also that of the photographer (Khaldei), who was only identified after the fall of the Soviet Union. The photograph is full of symbolism and represents an historic moment.
Erected in 1894, the Reichstag's architecture was magnificent for its time. The building contributed much to German history and was considered by the Red Army the symbol of their enemy. In reality, the Reichstag had not been used for any official purposes since the 1933 fire and had never been fully repaired. After very bloody and fierce combat within its walls, the Soviets finally captured the Reichstag on 2 May 1945, drawing closer to the end a war that had cost the lives of many millions of Germans and Soviets.
Celebrated as the image is, it was the reconstruction of a moment that had happened earlier but had been missed by the camera.