Extra Post: The Atlantic Monthly’s Ten Week Photoessay on the First World War.
I do not know if anybody else has seen this but the Atlantic Monthly Magazine has compiled, over a ten-week period, photos relating to World War I. I think that they are quite pertinent to the class because they illustrate a way in which images can be used to tell history. The images are organized into 10 subsets, each dealing with a particular aspect of this great tragedy. Compiled as a means of celebrating the 100th anniversary of the start of the war, these images indicate that this conflict of the early twentieth century is still very much with us. Moreover, they provide a method for historians is to explore this enormous catastrophe. One of the major values of photography is that they freeze a moment in time, preserving it for future generations. For historians, they provide a rather unique perspective on the past, offering as many questions as answers. Perhaps they raise more questions than answers. If this is the case then they certainly prove there worth. After all, isn’t that the basis of all historical inquiry: to discover how the present became, well the present, through an exploration of the past. Usually the best historical scholarship begins with a question. These images in this essay certainly provoke, along with an emotional response, more questions than answers, providing many future historians with questions to begin their research and exploration of the past.
The images are thought-provoking and timeless. As some one who is interested in the late eighteenth century to the end of the antebellum period, including the Civil War, I still find these photos most intriguing. They capture a moment when innocence is lost, never to be regained. Moreover they describe in graphic detail both the horrors of war and its tragic legacy, one that still haunts us to this day. I must confess that many of these photos I have never seen before, including one that captures German soldiers in the middle of a gas attack. In any event I encourage you to check them out. You will not be disappointed.
Here is the link:
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