PhotoArchiveNews.com reader Mark Barnes has sent PAN his new book: The Liberation of Europe 1944-1945 – The Photographers who Captured History from D-Day to Berlin – photo above was supplied and below both © PAN
The book showcases the extraordinary and highly significant archive of photographs taken by Times photographers as Europe was liberated from 1944-1945. Includes unseen images of Allied and German troops, senior generals, civilians, weaponry and the devastation of war. With a masterly text and explanatory captions by World War II historian Mark Barnes.
Mark told PAN this morning: “This is my first book. It is based on thorough research of the News UK image collection covering the last years of WW2 looking at prints and negatives. A large part of the scanning was done outside but I did a fair bit myself including all the prints.. Around 2.5k images were scanned in total and the published selection is taken from an initial edit of around a thousand images. I did nearly all the retouching but had help from my colleague Andrew Sims with a few that were beyond my skill level. Researching captions and writing the chapter headings etc took over a year. I consulted friends and colleagues in the military history world when necessary and got leads from a couple of forums. I had been looking at blocks of images back for several years and first planned the project as long ago as 2000/01. I am pleased with the result.”
Here’s the publisher Casemate Publishing run down:
• Features over 400 photographs, most unpublished
• Succinct and accessible text giving an overview of how Europe was liberated
The Second World War presented a huge range of challenges to press photography both in terms of its execution and getting the results in print. Life on the home front was the main subject until the invasion of France changed everything in 1944.
Photographers from The Times were part of a talented group who were there to capture the momentous events taking place from the moment the troops stepped ashore, as the Allies fought their way from the D-Day beaches all the way to Berlin. They captured thousands of images of the fighting and its aftermath: bombed-out towns, tanks and the inevitable human death toll, but also troops moving through a scarred landscape, the civilian population in joy and fear, and the daily activities of the soldiers themselves. They were on hand to witness the surrender of German commanders and some of their subsequent suicides, and also when King George VI made history as the first monarch since Henry V to confer knighthoods on the battlefield.
It is an extraordinary archive, yet very few of the images were published, either at the time or since. Mark Barnes, a librarian at The Times, has painstakingly reconstructed the archive over a period of many years, piecing together the journeys these pioneering photographers, masters of their craft, made across Europe.
The Liberation of Europe, containing over 400 images, not only gives a succinct and expert overview of the North West Europe campaign, but also presents world history on a grand scale and is essential reading for everyone interested in World War II and the history of Europe.
Cheers for the copy Mark – hope it’s a sell out! – PAN