The photography of World War II is often characterized by the images that emerged from the conflict surrounding the Holocaust. While these images are undoubtedly the most powerful of all the photographs from the war, the liberation of the Jewish concentration camps could not have been possible without the valiant efforts of the Soviet Union's Red Army. The Red Army engaged with the Nazis in eastern Europe for nearly four years as they repelled the Nazi invasion of the Soviet Union and ultimately drove the Germans back to Berlin until their defeat. These incredibly violent and casualty filled years of fighting were captured by Russian photographer Dmitri Baltermants.
Baltermants became prominent during and after World War II for his photographs the eastern front. Having fought in the Red Army in Ukraine, Poland, and Germany, Baltermants had the opportunity to capture images from a variety of locations for the Soviet newspaper, Na Razgrom Vraga. While many of his most famous images were not published until the 1960s under Nikita Khrushchev due to Stalin's censorship policies, Baltermants had established himself as a notable war photographer. Baltermants' images of the Russian front are a vital part of Soviet photojournalism and offers viewers a glimpse into the life of the Russian soldier.
These images vary in subject, yet manage to show the severity of the war in the east. Ranging from depictions of great Soviet victories to moments of devastation and grief, Baltermants successfully characterizes the sentiment surrounding the war. Despite the eventual allied victory over the Nazis, the horrors of the war for the Russians in their homeland reflects the cost of war.