Modern

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D-DAY TIMELINE

MHM places D-Day within the context of Operation Overlord, picking out some of the most brutal clashes and key events, from the huge-scale preparations to the Liberation of Paris.

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BEHIND THE IMAGE – Marching to the future

Belgian Carabiniers with dog-drawn heavy machine-gun, 1914 Marching toward the camera, and shot from a low angle, these Belgian Carabiniers are given a powerful sense of purpose by the photographer. Clean uniforms and neat formation say the soldiers have not come from battle. These are the early days of WWI and Belgium has been invaded […]

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WAR ON FILM – The Longest Day

Taylor Downing takes a look at how 1960s Hollywood dealt with one of the most important days of the Second World War. ‘Hollywood meets D-Day’ is probably the best way to describe the all-star spectacular The Longest Day released in 1962. Most of the key players in early 1960s Hollywood competed to be in the […]

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THINKERS AT WAR – Wittgenstein

Cambridge philosopher Iain King discovers a First World War artilleryman with a revolutionary treatise in his backpack. Born in 1889 into the over-achieving family of Vienna’s richest industrial magnate, Ludwig Wittgenstein trained initially as an engineer. But he was soon drawn to the more fundamental issues on which mathematics and mechanics were based – issues […]

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BEHIND THE IMAGE – Crash Landing

Zeppelin IV lands on the parade ground of Luneville, April 1913 In traditional landscape format with the horizon a third of the way up the image, the Zeppelin bursts dynamically out of the frame from the bottom left edge to near the top right. The airship dominates the photograph as much as it dwarfs the […]

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WAR ON FILM – Overlord

Taylor Downing remembers Stuart Cooper’s ground-breaking 1975 World War II film. Stuart Cooper’s film Overlord (1975) is the only feature film ever produced by the Imperial War Museum. While the museum has worked closely with many television companies on documentary productions over the decades, Overlord uses the museum’s resources in the production of a drama-documentary […]

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RECOMMENDED READ – Death from the Skies

Even though nearly 70 years have passed since the end of the Second World War, the statistics on the destruction caused by the aerial bombing campaigns still beggar belief. Around 400,000 people, many of whom were civilians, died within the 1942 borders of the German Reich. Up to 25,000 people, again mostly civilians, perished in […]

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BEHIND THE IMAGE – Deserted Trench

Abandoned British position captured by the Germans This cold and desolate image shows an abandoned British trench following a German attack, with mounted German infantry looming menacingly in the background. An inscription on the back of the photograph reads, Die Große Schlacht im Westen. Der Stab einer Infanterie-Division … ueberscreiten einer genommenen engl. Stellung. This […]

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Film Review: The Railway Man

Based on the autobiography of WWII prisoner-of-war Eric Lomax, this moving and harrowing new film deals with the horrific torture inflicted on prisoners by the Japanese on the infamous Burma Railway. The set-up is cleverly orchestrated. The film begins as if it is going to be a saccharine love story between the charming stranger Patti […]

BEHIND THE IMAGE – Race to the Sea

The 16th (The Queen’s) Lancers (3rd Cavalry Brigade) advancing from the Marne to the Aisne, September 1914 Keith Robinson studies the aesthetics of this WWI photograph. At first this seems a generally quiet, almost static photograph dominated by the horizontals of earth and sky. But our eye is drawn from left to right as a […]

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