'A Day in Rome with Gunner Smith'
Soldiers of the British Army on leave in Rome - June 1944
Photo by Capt. Tanner, War Office official photographer (x)
A worker relaxes in front of the ruined Reichstag; Berlin, Germany - 1946
Photo by Werner Bischof
With no Japanese planes aloft, the crew of a quad-40 mm gun takes in the sun and passes time with some reading aboard the USS Astoria - 4 January 1945
Photo by Herman Schnipper
Another Eagle has flown away… May you be at peace Edward “Babe” Heffron. You were a hero to all of us.
May 16th, 1923 - December 1st, 2013
Lots of shit going on in my life right now which is why posting has pretty much come to a halt.
I bought a car and my first smart phone today. And in about a month, I’ll more than likely be getting another promotion at work. So, I’ve been studying up for that new position so I don’t fall flat on my face if/when I get it.
Posting will probably pick up again during or after the holidays. Or maybe even before then. I’ve been itching for some history lately. Yee.
A WWI veteran stands beside a ruined German anti-aircraft gun while greeting the liberating US troops; Saint-Malo, France - August 1944
Photo by Robert Capa
A US soldier during the Battle of Cherbourg, the battle to capture and secure the port city for the Western Europe Allied war effort; France - 26 June 1944
Photo by Robert Capa
THE POWER OF CROPPING AND A MISLEADING CAPTION
This photo of a Sudeten woman weeping while giving the “Hitler-salute” is one of the most famous photos from the occupation years. The caption that usually accompanies the photo will read something along the lines of “Sudeten woman, unable to hold back her sorrow as she is forced to salute occupying Nazis.”
A logical/critical viewer might ask why a German photographer, in charge of making sure the home front morale was supportive of the actions of the military, would take such a photo. The annexation campaigns were known as the “flower wars” because the local populace would often rush to greet German soldiers with flowers. They were greeted as liberators and saviors, not aggressive occupiers. So there was certainly no shortage of cheering crowds. Why, then, would the Germans go out of their way to force this woman to salute and then photograph her. There are hundreds of photos of local populations staging ad-hoc celebrations, so why would the Germans, now faced with the logistical nightmare of annexing new territory, waste their time to seek out a sad woman and make her salute. Why, in the interest of propaganda, would a German propaganda photographer go out of his way to photograph these tears if they truly were tears of sorrow? There was certainly no shortage of joyous scenes to chose from, so why did this win out with the German propaganda machine?? Why would this woman attend in the first place. If she were truly this frightened and sorrowful, would she have not have just stayed home?
The answers to these questions surrounding this curious photo seem to be answered when looking at the original, uncropped version, that appeared in German papers of the time. The women around her are clearly NOT sorrowful, but joyous. The caption that originally ran under this picture read: “Local women, overcome with joy, salute the liberating Wehrmacht.” If one looks at photos from the same event, we can see many civilians emphatically greeting the German army with various expressions that, with the right or wrong caption, can be distorted into something sinister.
THE IMPORTANCE TO REMAIN OBJECTIVE WHEN LOOKING AT HISTORICAL PHOTOS AND NOT SUCCUMBING TO PROPAGANDA.
A fallen German soldier near Utah Beach; Normandy, France - June 1944
A British soldier from the 211 Field Park Company, Royal Engineers, attached to the 44th Infantry Division, carries Molotov Cocktails made from beer bottles; Woodlands, Doncaster, England - 3 September 1940