May08

Encountering war in the letters from the front.

Written by // Gianluca Cinelli Categories // War and culture

Eastern Front, 1941-1944

German censored letter. Source: www.feldpost-archiv.de/07-11-zensur.shtml

The letters sent from the front during WWII constitute a broad universe which we are just partially familiar with (tens of thousands of letters out of billions). Only a very small portion of the immense corpus of letters from and to the fronts has been published, which means that such a form of testimony constitutes an important but also distorted means of encounter with war.

Apr30

Reading War Photographs: Who is the photographer?

Categories // Human rights, Refugees and asylum seekers, War and culture, War crimes, Justice and punishment, Conflict resolution, War and conflict

María Manuela Fernández Sánchez

Reading War Photographs: Who is the photographer?

In an interview published in the newspaper El País (April 17, 2015), José Palazón, president of the nongovernmental organization “Prodein”, and winner of the XVIII Luis Valtueña Humanitarian Photography Award, remembers a conversation that he had with a prosecutor, twenty years ago, when he was denouncing the abuses against immigrants in Melilla, the Spanish enclave on the North African coast. Palazón complained that his efforts to gain visibility were not getting anywhere, to which the prosecutor replied: “Look for evidences. Take photographs”. Since then, it seems that Palazón has learned his lesson and the photograph “Desolate landscapes”, which he submitted to the Luis Valtueña photography competition has travelled around the world.

 

The full text is followed by a brief biography of the author.

Original versions of these photos can be found here:

 

Verne El Pais

The Guardian

Caesar photos: inside Syrian authorities' prisons

 

 

 

Apr21

Max Weber and the ' Weltkrieg' - Max Weber e la 'Weltkrieg'

Categories // War and conflict

by Carlo Bordoni

Max Weber and the ' Weltkrieg' - Max Weber e la 'Weltkrieg'

The twentieth-century opened under the sign of great trust in progress and technology. Machines, which had since ever been considered as a dangerous adversary and as a source of primordial fear, quickly began to lose their disquieting aspect and to become an ally of human beings as a ductile tool to overcome physical strain. Airplanes and cars created new opportunities for transport at unprecedented speed besides steam-locomotives, which had replaced horse-powered coaches as the main connection between cities.

 

 

The full text is followed by the original Italian version and by a brief biography of the author.

 

 

Mar20

War and the Humanities: an introduction to Close Encounters in War

by Simona Tobia and Gianluca Cinelli

War and the Humanities: an introduction to Close Encounters in War

Ancient Romans used to say “si vis pacem, para bellum”, which one could rephrase as “if you want peace, prepare for war”. War has always been much more than mere fighting. It affects society as a whole even in peacetime, for example in terms of training, preparation and strategy. Carl von Clausewitz wrote that war is the “continuation of politics by other means”, meaning that war implies some transformation of mentality and the awareness that sometimes dialogue and compromise are not enough to compose litigation between two countries o two communities. However, war is no necessity.

(Image from Robert Capa: Definitive Collection)

Mar11

Interrogation in WW2: any lessons learned?

by Simona Tobia

Terrorists kidnapping relief workers and journalists, terrorists publishing videos of horrible executions by decapitation and even burning, terrorists wiping out principles such as the freedom of the press and satire in the heart of the West in Paris, while stories of westerners joining the fight on the IS side are profusely present in the news. The ‘war on terror’, far from over, is raging, and it continues to be depicted by Western media and political authorities as a ‘just war’ fought against a heinous enemy.

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Normandy landings

Troups marching in France

General Bernard Montgomery

Pilots in World War II