From War to Peace in 1945 Germany: A GI's Experience

From War to Peace in 1945 Germany: A GI's Experience

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Overview

As an Official Army Photographer, "Mac" Fleming's assignment was to take motion pictures of significant wartime events for the US Army. In the pouch intended to carry his first-aid kit on his belt, he instead carried a small personal camera, which he used to take pictures of the people and places that interested him, capturing in his field notes details of the life he observed. From these records, Fleming has assembled this absorbing private chronicle of war and peace. Assigned to the European Theater in February 1945, he filmed the action from the battle for the Remagen Bridge across the Rhine, to the fighting in the Hartz Mountains, on to the linkup with the Russian forces at the Elbe River. After the armistice, Fleming helped document how the Allied Expeditionary Force established a military government in Germany to cope with masses of POWs, establish control of the country, deal with the atrocities committed by the German army, and help thousands of newly released slave laborers return home to Poland, France, and Russia. He also recorded how the army provided rest, recreation, and rehabilitation to the remaining US soldiers and sent them home by truck, train, and ship. Awaiting shipment home, Fleming explored postwar German town and country life and toured some famous castles and historic spots. The foreword by historian James H. Madison describes the important role of photography in war and the special contribution of Fleming's photographic diary.



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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780253019561
Publisher: Indiana University Press
Publication date: 05/02/2016
Pages: 188
Product dimensions: 10.30(w) x 10.20(h) x 0.80(d)
Age Range: 18 Years

About the Author

Malcolm L. Fleming is Professor Emeritus of Education at Indiana University. A professional photographer for over 80 years, he was an Official Army Photographer in the U.S. Army Signal Corps from 1942–1945.

James H. Madison is the Thomas and Kathryn Miller Professor Emeritus of History, Indiana University Bloomington, and the author of Hoosiers: A New History of Indiana (IUP, 2014) and Slinging Doughnuts for the Boys: An American Woman in World War II (IUP, 2007).

Read an Excerpt

From War to Peace in 1945 Germany

A GI's Experience


By Malcolm L. Fleming

Indiana University Press

Copyright © 2016 Malcolm L. Fleming
All rights reserved.
ISBN: 978-0-253-01961-5



INTRODUCTION

I was taking pictures and developing and printing them at an early age. They were not careful portraits but quick grab-shots of whatever interested me. I got in trouble in high school for my candid shots of teachers. In college I had a pocket-sized folding camera well suited to my style: a Kodak Vollenda folding camera, f 3.5 Schneider-Kreuznach lens, compur shutter speeds of 1 to 1/500 second, manual focus, and manual exposure settings.

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In the army I was transferred to the Signal Corps Photo Center in New York for training to be a combat photographer in 1944. Our assignments ranged widely in subject matter and photographic difficulty, and were well suited for training army photographers. We were billeted in the American Hotel near Times Square, so my downtown practice photos ranged from action shots of the Rockettes to photos inside the peaceful St. Patrick's Cathedral. A gallery of these New York photos appears in the prelude, "A Photographer in Training." Officers would regularly check and critique our work. Part of the training to use the Speed Graphic 4 x 5 camera was to take pictures while in a foxhole with a small tank (Weasel) rolling overhead. The Speed Graphic 4 x 5 was the standard press camera of the day.

At the Replacement Depot in England a sergeant told me they needed motion picture photographers. He quickly taught me how to load a one-hundred-foot roll of 35 mm motion picture film into a handheld Eymo camera and I became a cinematographer overnight.

The pictures in part 1, "The War," and part 2, "The Peace," were taken in Germany, France, and Belgium in 1945. I arrived at First Army Headquarters in Belgium carrying an Eymo in a case and my tiny Vollenda on my belt in a pouch intended for a first-aid kit. I was hoping that after filming an important story or two each day for the army there'd be an opportunity for a quick snapshot or two.

There was!


(Continues...)

Excerpted from From War to Peace in 1945 Germany by Malcolm L. Fleming. Copyright © 2016 Malcolm L. Fleming. Excerpted by permission of Indiana University Press.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
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Table of Contents

Foreword by James H. Madison
Introduction by Malcolm L. Fleming
Part I. The War: A Chronological Story
1. Battle for Remagen Bridge across the Rhine River
2. Fast Evacuation of Wounded—An Experiment
3. Continued Fighting
4. On Leave in Paris for Training
5. Advance Through the Hartz Mountains
6. Civilians During the War
7. Russians in East Germany Part I
8. Russians in East Germany Part II
9. Gardelegen Atrocity
Part II. The Peace: Peacetime Occupation as I Saw It
10. Rules of the Occupying U.S. Army
11. Wartime Destruction
12. People on the Move Following Victory in Europe May 7
13. Displaced Persons or DP's—A Nice Name for Slave Labor
14. German Village & Country Life
15. Reminders of the Past
16. Relations Between U.S. Soldiers and German Civilians
17. Where Are the German PW's?
18. Entertainment & Rest
19. Going Home

Afterword by Bradley D. Cook

What People are Saying About This

Ray E. Boomhower

As a combat photographer for the U.S. Army Signal Corps during World War II, Malcolm F. Fleming captured on film aspects of the conflict that are often overlooked, especially the devastation unleashed on German cities by Allied forces. His poignant images of civilians attempting to restart their lives amidst the rubble, the complicated relationship between the GIs and the defeated populace, and soldiers on their way home are a welcome addition to the history of the Greatest Generation.

Ray E. Boomhower]]>

As a combat photographer for the U.S. Army Signal Corps during World War II, Malcolm F. Fleming captured on film aspects of the conflict that are often overlooked, especially the devastation unleashed on German cities by Allied forces. His poignant images of civilians attempting to restart their lives amidst the rubble, the complicated relationship between the GIs and the defeated populace, and soldiers on their way home are a welcome addition to the history of the Greatest Generation.

Indiana University - Eric Sandweiss

Malcolm Fleming's simple but devastating visual narrative of war, occupation, and homecoming in 1945 does through pictures what Ernie Pyle managed in words: tell the story of one piece of World War II as it was seen from under the brim of a GI's helmet. From the April meeting of U.S. and Soviet troops by the banks of the Elbe, to the ruined streets of fire-bombed Darmstadt and the silenced stadium at Nuremberg, Fleming's camera recorded the troops' encounters with scenes of violence and loss whose dimensions they could barely comprehend.

from the foreword - James H. Madison

In Malcolm Fleming's case the Army made a smart choice when it took this supply clerk who had worked with a camera as a kid and trained him to be a combat photographer. Off he went to Europe with his Eymo camera to make moving pictures and a small Vollenda for still images. The result is this magnificent photo diary composed of Mac Fleming's selection of images he made and kept, along with his field notes.

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