Synopses & Reviews
Photographers from the U.S. Army's Signal Corps were with the troops that drove back Hitler's troops and occupied Germany at the end of WWII. Soon photos of death camps and starving POWs shocked the home front, providing ample evidence of Nazi brutality. Yet did the faces of the defeated Germans show remorse? The victors saw only arrogance, servility, and the resentment of a population thoroughly brainwashed by the Nazis. In fact, argues Dagmar Barnouw, the photographs from this period tell a more complex story and hold many clues for a better understanding of the recent German past.
"[Barnouw's] thoughtful analysis of a large assortment of photographs... allows Barnouw to look at how and not just what people saw, and to bring that perspective into conversation with the historical debates about the war's end in Germany." --Journal of Contemporary History
"[Barnouw's] work shows that perspective plays a key role both in photography and in trying to master Germany's past. [F]ascinating." --Library Journal Indiana University Press
"Germany 1945 contributes a vigorous voice to the expanding chorus of scholars who have called for increased examination of the immediate postwar years." --H-NET Reviews Humanities and Social Sciences, July, 2009
"Germany 1945 is best seen as a contribution to [the] debate... about the uniqueness or otherwise of Nazi crimes, and the related questions of collective responsibility for those crimes, and the need to go on remembering them." --Times Literary Supplement Indiana University Press
"Resist the impulse to 'historicize' the Holocaust... and you run the danger of sacralizing it. Barnouw's effort to grapple with these dilemmas is provocative, brilliant, and unsettling." --Washington Times
A photo essay on different perspectives of war-torn Germany in Allied and German photography and reportage
Packed with carefully chosen photos of the concentration camps, German exiles, the war-injured, children, and bombed-out cities, this book is a moving reminder of the material and moral devastation left behind by Nazi Germany." --Rudy Koshar, University of Wisconsin-Madison
Demonstrates how perspective plays a key role, not only in photography, but in questions of mastering Germany's past as well. I]nnovative and fascinating." --Robert C. Holub, University of California-Berkeley
After half a century, Germany's coming to terms with Nazism remains a subject of debate. This investigation of the photographic record shows that such debates have overlooked the actual conditions in which postwar German memory was first forged.
The Allied forces that entered Germany at the close of World War II were looking for remorse and open admissions of guilt from the Germans. Instead, they "saw" arrogance, servility, and a population thoroughly brainwashed by Nazis. But photos from the period tell a more complex story. In fact, Dagmar Barnouw argues that postwar Allied and German photography holds many possible clues for understanding the recent German past. A significant addition to the scholarship on postwar German culture and political identity, this book makes an important contribution to the current discussion of German memory.
About the Author
Dagmar Barnouw was Professor of German and Comparative Literature, University of Southern California, until her sudden death in May 2008. Her books include Weimar Intellectuals and the Threat of Modernity (IUP, 1988) and Naipaul's Strangers (IUP, 2003), among other books of cultural criticism.
Table of Contents
List of Illustrations
Introduction: Views of War and Violence
1. Views of the Past: Memory and Historical Evidence
2. To Make Them See: Photography, Identification, and Identity
3. The Quality of Citory and the "German Question": The Signal Corps Photography Album and Life Photo-Essays
4. What They Saw: Germany 1945 and Allied Photographers
5. Words and Images: German Questions