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Vol. X – n° 1 | 2012
Regards croisés sur des guerres contemporaines‎

Varieties of Experience of Modern Warfare‎
Edited by Renée Dickason
The War Illustrated, edited by Sir John Hammerton, Vol. 9, n°207, May 25, 1945‎
More about this picture
Credits: Copyright : Private Collection RPD‎
336 pages

The photograph chosen to illustrate the homepage of this Revue LISA/LISA e-journal number gives a foretaste of the reflection underlying this collection of contributions chosen for their multiplicity of approaches, of visions, of testimonies and of points of view, all intertwined in the subtle intricacies of the various narratives of History. Published after the end of hostilities in the Second World War, but apparently dating from some three weeks earlier, before the unconditional surrender, it offers a vision of victory and defeat deliberately intended to appeal to the readers of The War Illustrated, allowing them to contrast their satisfaction at the outcome of the war with the humiliation suffered by their enemies, and thus to feel justifiably proud at this supreme moment of national achievement. The caption plays its part in capturing this joyous mood, reinforcing the message of what was, of course, hardly a casual snapshot taken on the spur of the moment but rather a carefully composed presentation to celebrate Victory.On closer examination, however, certain grey areas emerge, attributable no doubt to the confusion which may reign in the “fog of war”. The street seems surprisingly clean and tidy ina city which had suffered concentrated bombardment, although this may be due to (carefully omitted) German efficiency, and it is frankly astonishing that aerial observation had been unable to detect that some strategic sites in Hamburg had been left relatively unscathed. The photograph may thus lead us to the conclusion that in war no events are ever quite as unambiguous as they seem, and, more generally, that the consequences and implications of conflict are frequently hard to unravel, which is one of the themes of the articles in this collection.

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