Rosenthal, Joe, 1911-2006

Alternative names
Birth 1911-10-09
Death 2006-08-20

Biographical notes:

Joe Rosenthal (1911-2006) was an employee of the Associated Press in 1945 when he took this photograph of U. S. Marines raising the flag on Iwo Jima. He won the Pulitzer prize for it that same year. Rosenthal later worked for the San Francisco Chronicle, retiring in 1981. He made the photograph in this collection from his original negative in 1997 and gave it to fellow photojournalist David Hume Kennerly who donated it to the Briscoe Center.

From the guide to the Joe Rosenthal Iwo Jima Photograph 2004-88., 1945, (Dolph Briscoe Center for American History, The University of Texas at Austin)

From the description of Rosenthal, Joe, Iwo Jima photograph, 1945. (University of Texas Libraries). WorldCat record id: 652681546

The Battle of Iwo Jima took place from February 19th to March 25th, 1945 on an island only two miles wide and four miles long. The United States wanted to control this tiny island to shut down the airfields that launched the infamous Kamikaze planes and also to use it as an emergency landing strip for bombers that were taking off from the Mariana Islands to attack mainland Japan. What officers planned to be a week-long fight turned into one of the most deadly battles on the Pacific front. Although there were about 80,000 US Marines and 20,000 Japanese, most Marines never saw their enemy because they were concealed in an intricate underground tunnel and cave system below the volcanic sand. Iwo Jima was a very gruesome, vicious fight with machine guns, Sherman tanks, howitzers, flamethrowers (to kill the Japanese Soldiers underground), napalm, and hand grenades. Of the 80,000 U.S. Marines who fought, 1 in 3 were killed or wounded. Virtually all of the 20,000 Japanese perished or were imprisoned. 6,000 are considered to still be entombed underground. 27 Medals of Honor were awarded, more than any other single battle in US history. Although not included in this collection, Joe Rosenthal's famous photograph of six soldiers raising a flag atop Mt. Suribachi, Iwo Jima has become a symbol of American heroism and patriotism.

There were at least four photographers (including Joe Rosenthal, Eugene Jones, Robert R. Campbell and Louis Lowry) at the Battle of Iwo Jima. In the inventory the names of the photographers and the text in which their photos were found are noted next to their descriptions.

From the guide to the William S. Wilson Iwo Jima photographs, 1945., (Utah State University. Special Collections and Archives)


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Ark ID:


  • World War, 1939-1945--Casualties--Photographs
  • World War, 1939-1945--Trench warfare--Japan--Iwo Jima (Volcano Islands)
  • Iwo Jima, Battle of, Japan, 1945--Photographs
  • Military
  • World War, 1939-1945
  • World War II
  • World War, 1939-1945--Prisoners and prisons, Japanese--Photographs
  • Politics, Government, and Law


not available for this record


  • Iwo Jima (Volcano Islands, Japan) (as recorded)
  • Iwo Jima (Volcano Islands, Japan) (as recorded)