One thing that I always find fascinating is footage from events rather than recreations. Mein Krieg is a perfect example of something that I would watch for the use of being able to actually see what people back then saw, with the exception of color.
Photography of war became really popular with the Civil War. With the invention of photography happening in the 1930s, the Civil War was an opportunity for photographers to use photography as a way to give an idea of war to the public. The form of photography back then, however, would not allow for action in combat seen easily. The photograph could only be taken by allowing light to enter the camera for some time, so any movement would be seen as blurs. So most of the photos taken during the Civil War were taken from a still battlefield. Alexander Gardner, a photographer during the Civil War, published a work in 1863 called Home of a Rebel Sharpshooter. It was known to bring the horrific reality of war home.
Fast forward to the 20th Century and photography becomes even more popular in World War I and especially World War II. A camera was something that anyone could really get a hold of, and they were easily carried into battle. While platoon camera men were common, it wasn’t uncommon for other soldiers to carry a camera into combat with them to pull out when the time was right.
In Mein Krieg, German soldiers share the footage that they captured on the eastern front. The footage that they show is a good reminder of just how awful the war in the east was for both the Russians and the Germans, as well as the other civilians that lived between the two powers. I think that it is very important for people to watch this footage and realize just how awful war can be. This is the closest that a civilian can get to a warzone other than actually serving in it. Footage like that shown in Mein Krieg is one of the few ways that a civilian can experience the atrocities of war.
Probably one of the most famous photos from the Second World War, this image shows both the anticipation and the uncertainty that these men faced right before hitting the beaches in Normandy, France.
Mein Krieg. Directed by Harriet Eder. Kino on Video, 1997. Film.
Stokstad, Marylyn, Art History vol 2 revised 2nd edition (NJ: Pearson Prentice Hall, 2005), 1009.
“Approaching Omaha.” <https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/9/96/Approaching_Omaha.jpg> Accessed 21 November 2015.