21 Pulitzer Prize-winning photos that capture the essence of war

Updated onMay 26, 2023
2 minute read
pulitzer prize photo


Each of these amazing Pulitzer prize-winning photos captures something poignant and striking about the nature of war.

These 21 images (shared with WATM courtesy of Lou Reda Productions) vividly capture the nature of war from a variety of angles. Each of them was awarded the Pulitzer prize for photography in the year indicated in the caption.

Take a look at these 21 Pulitzer Prize-winning photos that capture the essence of war

1944 - Aftermath of a flamethrower attack on Tarawa

(Photo: Frank Filan, Associated Press)

1944 - Lt. Col. Robert Moore, USA, returns to his family after fighting the Germans in North Africa

(Photo: Earle Bunker, The Omaha World-Herald)

1945 - The flag raising at Iwo Jima

(Photo: Joe Rosenthal, Associated Press)

1951 - Refugees fleeing across the Taedong River during the Chinese invasion of North Korea

(Photo: Max Desfor, Associated Press)

1965 - South Vietnamese casualties after a firefight with the Vietcong

(Photo: Horst Faas, Associated Press)

1966 - Vietnamese refugees fleeing an attack

(Photo: Kyoichi Sawada, United Press International)

1969 - Lt. Col. Nguyen Loan summarily executes a VC prisoner on the streets of Saigon

(Photo: Eddie Adams, Associated Press)

1972 - Marine on top of a war-torn hill after battle with NVA

(Photo: David Hume, United Press International)

1973 - Vietnamese children fleeing after napalm attack on Vietcong-held village

(Photo: Nick Ut, Associated Press)

1974 - Lt. Col Robert Stirm, USAF, returns to his family after 5 years as a POW in North Vietnam

(Photo: Sal Veder, Associated Press)

1977 - Vietnam veteran and wounded warrior Eddie Robinson at Chattanooga Veterans Day parade

(Photo: Robin Hood, The Chattanooga News Free Press)

1978 - American mercenary, member of "Grey's Scouts," holds gun to the head of a Rhodesian prisoner

(Photo: J. Ross Baughman, Associated Press)

1980 - Iranian Republican Guardsmen executing Kurdish rebels

(Photo, UPI)

1995 - American Marine trying to keep Haitian rioters at bay during unrest

(Photo: Carol Guzy, The Washington Post)

2002 - B-52 contrails during bombing mission over Afghanistan

(Photo: The New York Times)

2004 - Soldiers jumping into ditch in Iraq

(Photo - Cheryl Diaz Meyer and David Leeson, Dallas Morning News)

2004 - Soldiers taking Iraqi prisoner

(Photo: Cheryl Diaz Meyer and David Leeson, Dallas Morning News)

2004 - Iraqi schoolboy proclaims his freedom

(Photo: Cheryl Diaz Meyer and David Leeson, Dallas Morning News)

2005 - Marine taking an Iraqi insurgent prisoner in Fallujah

(Photo: Associated Press)

2005 - Marines huddle over wounded comrade during fighting in Anbar Province

(Photo: Associated Press)

2006 - Katherine Cathey spends the night next to the casket of her fallen husband, 2nd Lt. James Cathey, USMC

(Photo: Todd Heisler, Rocky Mountain News)

These images and many other iconic shots can be found in Moments, The Pulitzer Prize-Winning Photographs, A Visual Chronicle of Our Time (Hal Buell, Tess Press).