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LIFE THROUGH A LENS: Vietnamese girl running naked from napalm attack top list of most powerful news images that shocked and amazed the world

THE chilling image of a Vietnamese girl running naked from a napalm attack has topped the list of the most powerful news images that have shocked and amazed the world.

The harrowing photo of nine-year-old Kim Phuc was published around the world and is credited for having helped end the Vietnam war.

In the photo, Kim, her brother and cousins sprint down the road after a South Vietnamese plane accidentally dropped its flaming napalm on its own troops and civilians.

In another haunting image, three-year-old Syrian Aylan Kurdi’s lifeless body washed up on a beach in Turkey.

Aylan’s family had left Bodrum in Turkey on September 2nd, 2015 hoping to get to the Greek island of Kos but their small boat capsized just 30 mins into their journey.

The picture taken by Turkish journalist Nilufer Demir was posted on social media and caused a massive surge in donations to charities helping migrants and refugees.



Other images in the list include Nelson Mandela leaving prison after 27 years in 1990 and the iconic image of Buzz Aldrin on the moon in 1969.

The lone protester defiantly confronting a Chinese tank the day after the Chinese government brutally put down a protest in Tiananmen Square in 1989 was also nominated.

The stark and unforgiving black and white image of Moors murderer Myra Hindley which was taken at Hyde Police station in 1965 has also become a fixture of the British psyche.

The survey was commissioned by TV channel HISTORY to launch their new landmark factual series Photos That Changed the World, and also probed our reactions to seeing the images.

An overwhelming 96 percent of the people polled insisted journalists should show an image which shocks us, if it changes the world or the way we think about the world.

The six-part series ‘Photos That Changed The World’ will premiere on HISTORY® with the first episode airing on Monday 21st October at 10pm.



  • Napalm Girl: Nine year old girl runs from napalm attack in Vietnam – 37%
  • The Drowned Boy: Alan Kurdi’s lifeless body washed up on a beach in Turkey – 35%
  • Nelson Mandela is freed from prison after 27 years – 23%
  • Man On The Moon: Buzz Aldrin walks on the surface of the Moon – 23%
  • Tank Man: Unidentified man confronts Chinese tanks in Tiannamen Square – 23%
  • 7/7 Woman In The Mask: Davinia Douglass survives the Edgeware Road bomb – 18%
  • The Moors Murders: Myra Hindley police photo – 17%
  • The Hooded Man: Abu Ghraib prison abuse – 14%
  • Munich Massacre: Black September kill Israeli Olympic team – 13%
  • Royal Kiss: Charles and Diana – 11%
  • SAS Embassy Siege: 10%
  • Hunting the President: Ronald Regan gets shot – 8%