"Raising the Flag on Iwo Jima”: The Most Reproduced and Parodied Photo in History?

Photographer Joe Rosenthal admitted that when he took a shot of five Marines and one Navy corpsman raising the U.S. flag on Iwo Jima’s Mt. Suribachi on 23 February 1945, he had no idea that he had captured something extraordinary. He was setting up for a different shot when he spotted the group of men planting the flag and quickly took a snap without even looking through the viewfinder. The chance photo would become iconic overnight and go on to win the Pulitzer Prize.

“Raising the Flag on Iwo Jima” is often cited as being the most reproduced photograph in history. It is also probably the most parodied image in the world. The “Iwo Jima pose” has become a popular symbol for organizations or movements wishing to convey victory, teamwork, or patriotism. The use of the image has ranged from respectful homage to what some consider offensive misappropriation.

Lego sculpture by brick artist Nathan Sawaya

 

Lego tableau by Mike Stimpson

 

Carved in ice by Ice Art, Inc

 

Mask of New York Islanders goalie Rick DiPietro

 

Alstede Farms corn maze, Chester, New Jersey

 

Sand sculpture by artist J.W. Gruber

 

Illustration by the “etchasketchist”

 

Sculpted out of butter in the Camp Fallujah chow hall, Iraq

 

Cake made from crispy rice and chocolate at Cake Cental

 

Skin and ink

 

Removable tattoos for those who only want to temporarily display their patriotism

 

Jack O’Lantern

 

Ol’ Glory beer successfully appealed to federal regulator to allow the “Pledge of Allegiance” to be printed on every can

 

Portable War Museum by artist Edward Kienholz

 

Stamps and Currency

United States 1945

 

United States 1995

 

Grenada 1970

 

Sri Lanka’s Central Bank initially denied that the 1000 Rupee note circulated in 2009 was modeled after the Rosenthal photograph, but later confessed that the image was indeed the inspiration.

 

Marine Corps 230th Anniversary Silver Dollar - 2005

 

Opened in 2006, The National Museum of the Marine Corps in Triangle, VA, was designed to evoke the raising to the flag.

 

Album Covers
Bands striking the Iwo Jima pose has become cliché.

Anti-Flag – A New Kind of Army, 1999

 

Uriah Heep – Conquest, 1980

 

Funkadelic – One Nation Under a Groove, 1978

 

Savatage – Fight for the Rock, 1986

 

Rev Theory – Justice, 2011

 

Status Quo – In the Army Now, 1986

 

Canned Heat – Future Blues, 1970

 

Magazines, Comics and Book Covers

The 2008 Time magazine issue on global warming caused a furor when Iwo Jima veterans objected to the alteration of the original photo, calling it “an absolute disgrace”

 

2000 AD comic, 1999

 

The short-lived Cosmos Science Fiction and Fantasy Magazine, 1953

 

America: A Patriotic Primer by Lynne Cheney, 2002

 

Speed Comics, 1945

 

Jock magazine, 1969

 

Blackhawk comic, 1983

 

Monstrous Regiment by Terry Pratchett, 2003

 

Dumbest Generation by Mark Bauerlein, 2007

 

11 Freunde magazine from Germany, 2006

 

Activism

British Airlines Stewards and Stewardesses Association

 

Published in 1971, The New Soldier by John Kerry documented the efforts of the Vietnam Veterans Against the War

 

DC Anarchists

 

 

Surfrider Foundation

 

Protest against Japan’s toxic waste trade policies in the Philippines

 

Editorial Cartoons
Among other commentary, the Iwo Jima pose is regularly used to satirize U.S. foreign policy

 

 

 

 

 

 

Advertisements

Respol YPF

 

Grace

 

Tourism Australia

 

The Official British Army Fitness Programme

 

Pop Culture

Newsweek promotional photo for The Jersey Shore

 

 

 

 

 

 

Indicative of its relevance as a cultural touchstone, the Iwo Jima pose has been referenced on The Simpsons at least six times – “New Kid on the Blecch,” “Selma’s Choice,” “LargeMarge,” “Rosebud,” “Half Decent Proposal,” and “Mr. Spritz Goes to Washington.”

 

Dr. Who – “Victory of the Daleks” 2010

 

Chuck – “Chuck Versus the Beard” 2010

 

Hard Rock Café pin

 

 

Work of the graffiti artist Banksy

 

See Also

Cats in the Sea Services

Through Japanese Eyes: WWII in Japanese Cinema

10 People You Didn’t Know Were US Marines

Sri
Sri Lanka’s Central Bank initialdenied that the 1000 Rupee note circulated in 2009 was modeled afterthe Rosenthal photograph, but later confessed that the image was indeed the inspirationLanka’s Central Bank initially denied that the 1000 Rupee note circulated in 2009 was modeled after
the Rosenthal photograph, but later confessed that the image was indeed the inspiration

 
 

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