PortraitsofLove

Portraits of Love in Wartime

In times of war, the need to love ― and be loved ― takes on an almost unbearable urgency. Here, we acknowledge that reality with photos of couples (and crowds) trying to squeeze as much life into a single moment as they possibly can.


"Two people in love, alone, isolated from the world, that's beautiful." ― Milan Kundera Bettmann/Bettmann Archive"Two people in love, alone, isolated from the world, that's beautiful." ― Milan KunderaA couple share a kiss at Michigan Central Station before he returns to his duties after Christmas in 1944.
"Ocean separates lands, not souls." ― Poet Munia Khan Bert Hardy/Getty Images"Ocean separates lands, not souls." ― Poet Munia KhanTearful wives wave goodbye as a troop train leaves London. "You are my heart, my life, my one and only thought." — Sir Arthur Conan Doyle Alfred Eisenstaedt/The LIFE Picture Collection/Getty Images"You are my heart, my life, my one and only thought." — Sir Arthur Conan DoyleA couple in New York's Penn Station share a farewell kiss before he ships off to war, 1943. "If you obey all of the rules, you miss all of the fun." ― Katharine Hepburn Fred Ramage/Getty Images"If you obey all of the rules, you miss all of the fun." ― Katharine HepburnBritish troops flirting with the locals whilst stationed in Germany after the ban on fraternization was lifted.
"One word frees us of all the weight and pain of life. That word is love." ― Sophocles Fred Ramage/Getty Images"One word frees us of all the weight and pain of life. That word is love." ― SophoclesA bride leaves her bombed out house on her wedding day in 1940. "One hour of right down love is worth an age of dully living on." ― British playwright and poet Aphra Benn Bettmann/Bettmann Archive"One hour of right down love is worth an age of dully living on." ― British playwright and poet Aphra BennSoldiers make up for lost time, getting reacquainted with their wives en masse. "Love recognizes no barriers. It jumps hurdles, leaps fences, penetrates walls to arrive at its destination full of hope." ― Maya Angelou Harry Todd/Getty Images"Love recognizes no barriers. It jumps hurdles, leaps fences, penetrates walls to arrive at its destination full of hope." ― Maya AngelouGunner Hector Murdoch arrives home in London, greeted by his wife and son. He had been away for four and a half years ― and for most of that time was a prisoner in Singapore.
"For the two of us, home isn't a place. It is a person. And we are finally home." ― Author Stephanie Perkins ("Anna and the French Kiss") Topical Press Agency/Getty Images"For the two of us, home isn't a place. It is a person. And we are finally home." ― Author Stephanie Perkins ("Anna and the French Kiss")A warm homecoming for a soldier returning from Dunkirk. "Whatever our souls are made of, his and mine are the same." ― Emily Brontë ("Wuthering Heights") Kurt Hutton/Getty Images"Whatever our souls are made of, his and mine are the same." ― Emily Brontë ("Wuthering Heights")American actress Carole Landis dances with her husband, Capt. Thomas Wallace, at their wedding in the Savoy Hotel, London in 1943. "We loved with a love that was more than love." ― Edgar Allan Poe ("Annabel Lee") Bettmann/Bettmann Archive"We loved with a love that was more than love." ― Edgar Allan Poe ("Annabel Lee")In mid-air over France on D-Day, June 6, 1944, Capt. Ben Wax, an American paratrooper, made a promise to himself: If he ever got back to the U.S., he was going to take his wife Polly on a month-long second honeymoon at some dream spot in the States. The Captain returned to his bride in Georgia. This picture captures one of their moments together.
"There is the heat of love, the pulsing rush of longing, the lover’s whisper, irresistible — magic to make the sanest man go mad." — Homer, ("The Iliad") Alfred Eisenstaedt/Time & Life Pictures/Getty Images"There is the heat of love, the pulsing rush of longing, the lover’s whisper, irresistible — magic to make the sanest man go mad." — Homer, ("The Iliad")Alfred Eisenstaedt's famous photo of a sailor and nurse kissing in Times Square on VJ Day, August 1945. "What greater gift than the love of a cat." ― Charles Dickens Sgt Martin Riley/Getty Images"What greater gift than the love of a cat." ― Charles Dickens Not all of the intense emotional connections made during wartime are with other humans. An American Marine feeds an orphaned kitten during the Korean War.
Sign up for our Newsletter