My Buddy: World War II Laid Bare (2nd Edition) (Michael Stokes Collection)
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15 Photos of Young World War II Allied Soldiers Laid Bare

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My Buddy: World War II Laid Bare exposes the truth behind male intimacy during World War II.

During the emotionally charged 1940s — a few years before the Kinsey Report revealed that many men had same-sex affairs — soldiers and seamen were urged to build close relationships with their fellow troops. To survive, these military men needed to be able to trust and count on each other in and out of battle. Every frightening day for a serviceman during World War II was possibly his last.


To help support troops confronting the horrors of warfare, commanders encouraged them to form tight “buddy” relationships for emotional support. Many war buddies, together every moment, and relying on each other for survival, also developed intimate friendships. When they weren’t in the battlefield, they relaxed together, releasing tension in rowdy — sometimes bare — play.

The full range of naked fun among young men during World War II is impossible to pinpoint; cameras were rare and film challenging to process. However, some men did record this fantastic male bonding in collections of secret photos kept hidden away until their deaths.

Related | 21 Underwater Portraits by Photographer Lucas Murnaghan

My Buddy: World War II Laid Bare (2nd Edition) (Michael Stokes Collection)

15 Photos of Young World War II Allied Soldiers Laid Bare

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