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This Happened

This Happened - April 23: ​History's First Iconic War Photo

Roger Fenton's photograph "the Valley of the Shadow of Death," is considered the first-ever iconic war image, and was taken on this day in 1885.

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What is the Valley of the Shadow of Death?

The area known as the "Valley of the Shadow of Death" is a narrow valley in Crimea, where one of the bloodiest battles of the Crimean War took place on October 25, 1854. The photograph was taken in 1855, after the battle had taken place. It is not a photograph of the actual battle, but rather a photograph of the aftermath.

What is the significance of the Valley of the Shadow of Death photograph?

The image is significant because it is one of the first images in the early years of photography to depict the aftermath of a battle. It shows a desolate landscape littered with cannonballs, and it captures the horror and devastation of war. The photograph also raises questions about the role of photography in shaping public opinion about war.

What happened to the Valley of the Shadow of Death?

The Valley of the Shadow of Death is still in the Crimea, and it is now a popular tourist destination. The area has been cleaned up and is no longer littered with cannonballs, but there are still signs of the battle, including trenches and fortifications.

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Putin & Kim: What Happens When Two Pariahs Have Nothing Left To Lose

North Korea lends its full support to Russia's war in Ukraine, and will supply ammunition to Moscow, which in return will help Kim Jong-un with his space ambitions. With the whiff of a Cold War alliance, it shows how two regimes that have become so isolated they multiply the risks for the rest of the world.

photo of putin and kim in front of a red guard rail

Putin and Kim at the Vostochny Cosmodrome in Russia's far eastern Amur region.

Mikhail Metzel/TASS via ZUMA
Pierre Haski


There's a feeling of nostalgia watching the meeting between Vladimir Putin and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un at the Vostochny cosmodrome in Russia's Far East.

To hear the third descendant of North Korea's communist dynasty tell the Russian president that they were fighting imperialism together recalls a past that seemed long forgotten.

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It reminds us of how Joseph Stalin backed the founder of Pyongyang's ruling dynasty, Kim Il Sung, the current leader's grandfather, in his quest to take over Korea. Since succeeding his father 11 years ago, Kim Jong-un has looked to follow the model of his grandfather.

There's no doubt that North Korea's talented propaganda team will make good use of this anti-imperialism remake, even if times and men have changed. Seen from Pyongyang, not so much. But beyond the symbols, which have their importance, this meeting may have tangible consequences.

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