The images that photojournalists take of a war can sometimes be difficult to separate from the war itself. Americans back home understand the war, and the experiences of the people fighting in it, through the stories told in photos.
During World War Two and the Vietnam War, two very different wars about which Americans held very different understandings, photojournalists produced an incredible stream of work that helped form the larger narratives we still hold today. Here are some of the photos that most impacted the public conception of those two wars.
View more photos at LIFE.com.