The Soviet Union
The most common examples of photograph alteration and falsification come from communist Russia. Unwanted persons, so-called “enemies of the people” were not only killed, but also removed from photographs where their presence was unwanted. Photographs were altered with the intent of changing the past.
In the pictures below, you will see how Josef Stalin removed Leon Trotsky because he was a threat to his dictatorship. Compare the sets of photos below and see the changes. This is most interesting when we as historians must construct a past that has been falsified. This goes beyond the confines the USSR. Individuals are guilty of this, too. Remember, there was no photo shop in the 1930s.
The next set of images are nearly identical, however Trotsky is removed from both photographs.
The historical reason for this alteration is that Stalin eventually began to see Trotsky as a threat and labeled him an “enemy of the people”. After he was deported from the Soviet Union in 1929, Trotsky criticized Stalin’s leadership, arguing that the dictatorship Stalin exercised was based on his own interests, rather than those of the people. This contributed substantially to Trotsky’s removal from photographs and history.
[ all pictures above were taken from The Commissar Vanishes ]