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“An American soldier of the Antitank Co., 34th Regiment who was killed by mortar fire.”

Combatants in World War II possessed far greater firepower than ever before. Consequently, the incidence of death and mutilation in units actually fighting the enemy was extremely high, sometimes one in three. World War II was the first war in which combat deaths actually outnumbered fatalities from disease or accident. President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s wartime government carefully controlled what information reached the American public from the battle fronts. Until September, 1943, government censors blocked the publication of all photographs showing dead American soldiers. After that, censors continued to withhold many pictures—such as this photograph taken on Leyte Island in the Philippines on October 31, 1944—that did not, even in death, conform to the heroic image of the American fighting man.

Source: National Archives.