From War to Peace in 1945 Germany

From War to Peace in 1945 Germany

A GI's Experience
Malcolm L. Fleming, Bradley Cook, James Madison
Distribution: World
Publication date: 05/02/2016
Format: Hardback 132 b&w illus.
ISBN: 978-0-253-01956-1
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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.

Author Bio

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).


“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, author of "One Shot": The World War II Photography of John A. Bushemi

“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.”
 — Eric Sandweiss, Indiana University

“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.”
 — James H. Madison, from the foreword

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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

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