City of Fullerton
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Fullerton, CA 92832
Phone: (714) 738-6317


Subject :

“Memories of World War II: Photographs from the Associated Press” to Open at Fullerton Museum
Exhibit Reception on January 18, 2014
Contact :Fullerton Museum    (714) 738-6545
Fullerton City Manager’s Office    (714) 738-6317
Fullerton, Ca – Almost two hundred reporters and photographers fanned out around the globe to cover World War II for The Associated Press, the world's largest news service. Five reporters lost their lives. Seven others won Pulitzer Prizes, including Joe Rosenthal who clambered up Iwo Jima’s Mount Suribachi to take the flag-raising photo that became the emblem of American victory and one of the most famous photos of all time.  

Visitors to the Fullerton Museum Center will get a unique look back in time when the award-winning Fullerton Museum with its newest exhibit, "Memories of World War II: Photographs from the Associated Press" which opens Saturday, January 18 through April 13, 2014.

An Exhibit Opening Reception will be held from 6 p.m. - 9 p.m. on Jan. 18.  “Memories of World War II: Photographs from the Associated Press” showcase over 100 iconic photographs taken during World War II by the Associated Press. The reception is free for museum members and $10 for all guests.

The AP exhibit is a spectrum of photos from all theaters of the war and the home front, ranging from AP photographer Joe Rosenthal’s classic Iwo Jima flag raising in 1945 to scores of pictures not seen in decades.

“As far as we know, all of the pictures were transmitted at some time on AP wires, but some probably have not been touched since the war,” said Charles Zoeller, curator of the exhibit author of an accompanying book, and chief of AP’s vast photo library.

Founded in 1848, the AP is the world’s oldest and largest newsgathering organization, serving some 15,000 media outlets in more than 120 countries.

In the exhibit, familiar scenes of Japan’s attack on Pearl Harbor, along with British and American troops hitting Normandy beaches on D-Day and marching through newly liberated Paris, are juxtaposed with hidden surprises sure to evoke strong memories among older Americans. There are photographs of Hitler and Mussolini at the peak of fascist power, Winston Churchill in unmistakable silhouette, actor James Stewart being inducted into the military, Nazi SS troops herding defiant Jews after the Warsaw Ghetto uprising of 1943, and Russian women laying flowers at the feet of four dead GIs who helped liberate them from a slave labor camp. Despite censorship that delayed the release of pictures and restricted caption information, the wartime cameras recorded dramatic close-ups of power and pathos, the leaders and the lost. President Franklin Roosevelt, Soviet leader Josef Stalin and Churchill sit for a group portrait at Tehran. King George VI and Queen Elizabeth clamber through London bomb rubble. Gen. Douglas McArthur wades ashore in the Philippines.  In Cherbourg, France, Army Capt. Earl Topley gazes at a German soldier sitting dead in a doorway. Dead Japanese soldiers lie half-buried in sand on a Guadalcanal beach; dead U.S. Marines sprawl in the volcanic ash of Iwo Jima.

In the foreword to a book that has 170 photographs and also is titled, “Memories of World War II” (Harry N. Abrams, Inc.), former U.S. Sen. Bob Dole says the pictures have greater impact for being in black and white. “The causes and objectives of the United States and our Allies in World War II were just that, black and white, good against evil,” writes Dole, who was severely wounded in Italy in 1945.  

The photos are “personal history relived” for those who fought the war and millions more for whom it was “part of their lives,” Dole writes. “For many millions more, the postwar generations, who know the war only as distant history, these images will serve as the record of a shared and shaping era in our nation’s history.”

Many photos credit AP staff photographers by name; others came from anonymous Army or Navy photographers. Some were killed in combat; others went on to postwar prominence in their craft.  “You had the same fears as the GIs, but you had to think about the picture,” says retired AP photojournalist Max Desfor, who covered the battle of Okinawa and Japan’s surrender aboard the battleship USS Missouri, and later won a Pulitzer Prize in Korea. “My camera was my shield, and I didn’t even think about the idea that a bullet might hit me.”

In an introduction to the book, retired CBS anchor Walter Cronkite praises the courage of journalists who shared danger with the troops. “Indeed, if there were no correspondents or photographers who went to war, what would the folks at home know ... what would future generations know?” writes Cronkite, who covered the war for AP’s then rival, United Press.

The showing here at the Fullerton Museum is part of national tour that began in 2005. The exhibition of photographic reproductions from the Associated Press has traveled to more than 20 museums and will continue to travel through 2014. The tour was developed and managed by Smith Kramer Fine Art Services, an exhibition tour development company in Kansas City, Missouri. 

For more information about the Opening Reception or for this exhibit, please contact the Fullerton Museum at (714) 738-6545 or visit