Join 3,495 readers in helping fund MetaFilter (Hide)


Les Parisiens sous l’Occupation
July 12, 2008 11:11 AM   Subscribe

Paris under the Occupation, in color.

L'exposition Zucca divise le public
posted by homunculus (42 comments total) 17 users marked this as a favorite

 
André Zucca - a set on Flickr
posted by homunculus at 11:11 AM on July 12, 2008


Excellent and terrifying.
posted by Dizzy at 11:15 AM on July 12, 2008


chilling cuz this is not, as it first appears, just a man walking with his two daughters in hand.

At the risk of politico-filtering this too much, whenever our friends on the right belittle the French experience in WW2 I really get pissed off since they were on the front line in the fight against fascism in 1939-1940, while the right's ideological forebears were either alongside Lindbergh in isolationism or, equally likely, actively supporting the Hitler's Reich, like W's grandfather.
posted by yort at 11:27 AM on July 12, 2008 [4 favorites]


The color makes it so much more visceral.

I love these the same way I love the Prokudin-Gorskii work. Thank you.
posted by cmyk at 11:34 AM on July 12, 2008


Funny, I just helped a patron find a book with the same name, from 1990 I believe
posted by Razzle Bathbone at 11:47 AM on July 12, 2008


Very interesting, I just wish there were more.

As a photograph, this one was my favorite.
posted by Eekacat at 11:55 AM on July 12, 2008


Always seems a little surreal to see colour photos from when black and white was the norm
Man those red flags stood out against the rest of the drabness...
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 12:29 PM on July 12, 2008


Wow, those pictures are phenomenal. Watching all those black-and-white WWII documentaries sometimes belie the fact that these were real events experienced by real people. It's amazing to me how six color photos can illustrate so well what black-and-white video cannot.
posted by anifinder at 12:40 PM on July 12, 2008


Great post, thanks.
posted by languagehat at 12:42 PM on July 12, 2008


God, thank heavens for Kodachrome. Try as I might, I just don't have the imagination to pull out a sense of immersion in black & white photos. This really adds a new dimension to that era.
posted by crapmatic at 12:52 PM on July 12, 2008


Oops, I gues I meant Agfacolor.
posted by crapmatic at 12:54 PM on July 12, 2008


...while the right's ideological forebears were either alongside Lindbergh in isolationism...

Why, if the US hadn't entered the war, something TERRIBLE might have happened. Who knows, the Germans might have tortured or murdered six million Jews and millions of other minorities and dissenters, tens of millions of Russian civillians and soldiers might have died, millions of civilian men, women and children might have died prematurely in incendiary bombing raids, executions, or by starving or by other means. Ordinary Americans might have been pulled off the streets and out of school and turned into murderers with bloody hands they'll carry into their graves. The nations of eastern Europe might have had to endure 50 years of totalitarian domination. Good thing we got into that fight and prevented something really bad from occuring.
posted by Faze at 1:04 PM on July 12, 2008 [1 favorite]


Good thing we got into that fight and prevented something really bad from occuring.

Exactly. That's why, every year on 6 June, the citizens of Normandy curse our names. Sheesh.
posted by me & my monkey at 1:21 PM on July 12, 2008


Me & my monkey -- That's why every year on June 6th, the LIVING citizens of Normandy curse our names. The dead have no voice in declaring these "good" wars.
posted by Faze at 1:39 PM on July 12, 2008


Good thing we got into that fight and prevented something really bad from occuring.

We nipped those fascist threats while they capability to land only a squad of soldiers on our shores from offshore submarines, or send balloon-bombs on the Jet Stream in our general direction.

The militarists running the German and Japanese states were in the process of constructing a revisionist and powerful fascist alternative to the Western democratic, one-(white) man one-vote tradition. It's certainly arguable that fighting them in the 1940s rather than in the 60s was a better-chosen fight, though I'm not entirely convinced that either the Nazi or Nihon-Damashi movements had inter-generational legs.
posted by yort at 2:46 PM on July 12, 2008


I'm not entirely convinced that either the Nazi or Nihon-Damashi movements had inter-generational legs.

Neither do I. Even the Soviet communist movement, which actually WON the war, couldn't outlive the generation that fought the war.
posted by Faze at 3:10 PM on July 12, 2008 [1 favorite]


I dunno, my parents are pretty happy the Americans joined forces with the Allies to liberate the Netherlands, but perhaps you have a different experience of occupation, Faze.
posted by Eekacat at 3:24 PM on July 12, 2008


Eekacat, Faze isn't saying the German occupation was hunky-dory and there was no reason to do anything about it, he's suggesting the good that was done may not have been worth the horrific, almost unimaginable, cost of the war: many tens of millions dead, economies wrecked, irreplaceable cultural treasures destroyed, the Soviet yoke imposed on Eastern Europe, Mao's equally awful yoke imposed on China, the list goes on and on. It's basically what Nicholson Baker is suggesting in his new book, which has gotten savaged by partisans of The Good WarTM. I'm by no means convinced by such arguments, and of course it's impossible to know what would have happened in an alternate universe, but you can't crush Faze by saying the Nazis were bad. He knows that perfectly well.

Compare the argument for invading Iraq because Saddam was bad. Yes, he was, but was the invasion worth it?
posted by languagehat at 3:41 PM on July 12, 2008 [2 favorites]


As I say, Eekacat, we the living are all pretty happy about how things turned out (hey, my father was in a unit poised to attack Japan in late 1945, and was saved from doing so by the incineration of a hundred thousand or so Japanese in Hiroshima and Nagasaki. So I got a chance to be born. Hooray!). The dead don't get any vote. I suspect if you could ask them, however, they would prefer that the war not have been fought, and people rather had waited to see what would happen. Whatever it would have been, I suspect, wouldn't have involved the premature deaths of 40-60 million people.
posted by Faze at 3:44 PM on July 12, 2008 [1 favorite]


Faze isn't saying the German occupation was hunky-dory and there was no reason to do anything about it,

Errr... You sure about that?

they would prefer that the war not have been fought, and people rather had waited to see what would happen.

Wait, what? We pretty much know where that thinking got us.

And really, you don't have any insight into the thoughts of any dead person whose last breath didn't rattle in your ear. I'm pretty sure if you talked to *any* dead person they'd rather be alive again. Minus whatever killed them in the first place. Which is not really a choice any of us get to make.
posted by Cyrano at 4:34 PM on July 12, 2008


Great post, fascinating pictures and mind-stimulating provocations from yort, Faze and THEhat. Best of MetaFilter.
posted by wendell at 4:44 PM on July 12, 2008


Unfortunately, using a clip from Family Guy to make a historical point pretty much destroys any intelligent argument you're trying to make.
posted by wendell at 4:46 PM on July 12, 2008


Amazing! No one took away this guy's camera or told him it was illegal to take photographs!
posted by bwg at 4:47 PM on July 12, 2008 [3 favorites]


That's why every year on June 6th, the LIVING citizens of Normandy curse our names.

No, actually, for the most part, they don't. Most of the Frenchmen I've met who were alive then were pretty grateful, actually, and many were doing what they could to help the invasion of France. They are probably dead now, though, for the most part.

he's suggesting the good that was done may not have been worth the horrific, almost unimaginable, cost of the war

No, he's stating that it was clearly not worth the cost. I'm reluctant to accept that as a statement of fact. Faze has made his opinion clear in other threads, that war is never justifiable.

Compare the argument for invading Iraq because Saddam was bad. Yes, he was, but was the invasion worth it?

Many people, myself included, thought that was a facile argument when it was made, since Saddam's Iraq was no longer a threat to other states. Bringing it up now has no more comparative value to WW2 than it did then.
posted by me & my monkey at 4:48 PM on July 12, 2008


I too remain unconvinced as well languagehat, but, as me & my monkey says, Faze is stating in unequivocal terms, and confirmed in his second comment that he believes it never should have happened. You're also guilty of putting words into my mouth by assuming my whole argument is "Nazi's were bad", which I never mentioned, nor did I make any such argument. What I did was put up the actual personal experience of my parents, who actually lived in a country that was occupied. The cost of WWII was horrific, no doubt, but the arrogance of putting thoughts to the people who died in it is sickening. Saying the war should never have been fought certainly is easy to say (and a pretty stupid argument), but the war was being fought long before the Americans ever joined in. Whether the outcome is better or worse than if we hadn't is impossible to say, but I know from my family's perspective (my parents and their family) it was good that the Americans did.

Yeah, I wish WWII never happened, or WWI, or Vietnam, or Korea, but that wish and 3 bucks might get me coffee at Starbucks.
posted by Eekacat at 5:15 PM on July 12, 2008


You're also guilty of putting words into my mouth by assuming my whole argument is "Nazi's were bad", which I never mentioned, nor did I make any such argument. What I did was put up the actual personal experience of my parents, who actually lived in a country that was occupied.

So you're not saying the Nazis were bad? Then why was the experience of occupation bad? I'm not "putting words into your mouth" (and frankly I get pretty tired of the practice of rejecting any summary of one's views that doesn't literally quote every word one said), I'm saying your argument boils down to saying the war was worth it because the Nazis were bad (one small example of which is the actual personal experience of your parents), which is what it boils down to. Stop making pointless quibbles and try dealing with the issues.

Saying the war should never have been fought certainly is easy to say (and a pretty stupid argument


No, what's easy to say is that the war should have been fought. You certainly have no problem saying it, and neither does just about anybody else. The hard thing is arguing the contrary, as Baker and others have discovered. It would be nice if you could explain why it's a "stupid argument" on any other grounds than emotional ones, but I won't hold my breath.
posted by languagehat at 5:45 PM on July 12, 2008


Great post. I was in Paris earlier this year and am kicking myself that I didn't know about this and thus go see it.
posted by idigress at 6:16 PM on July 12, 2008


Amazing! No one took away this guy's camera or told him it was illegal to take photographs!
Nobody said Fascists don't learn from past mistakes.
posted by wendell at 6:23 PM on July 12, 2008 [2 favorites]


So you're not saying the Nazis were bad? Then why was the experience of occupation bad?

He's saying that's not the extent of his argument. Lots of people are bad. Not so many are able to export their badness to the entire European continent.
posted by me & my monkey at 6:41 PM on July 12, 2008


It didn't help this thread that Faze introduced his criticism as a sarcastic remark. That vague rhetorical move is why it's hard to know what he or she is saying in this thread.

Faze's critics won't be crushed by the claim that World War II was a Bad Thing. Without a more detailed explanation of how that badness could have been avoided or mitigated Faze's comments here aren't very enlightening.

I can understand how frustration with World War II's role in American discourse as a tool for justifying each and every military adventure that gets dreamed up by hawkish interventionists would lead some people to take a hard look at the assumption that WWII was "a good war" in some easy, unalloyed sense. But the implication that US military actions in Iraq under GW Bush and in World War II are morally similar is absurd, and I hope it wasn't Faze's intention to make that suggestion.
posted by washburn at 8:20 PM on July 12, 2008


Likewise, I'm struggling to discover Faze's opinion on the matter, much less analyze its value. It seems imply that the U.S. entry into WWII did no good, though that seems an odd position to take (to put it mildly).
posted by yath at 8:49 PM on July 12, 2008


Unfortunately, using a clip from Family Guy to make a historical point pretty much destroys any intelligent argument you're trying to make.

Oh please. I was trying to lighten things up a bit. Please forgive me for not wanting to insult anyone's intelligence by assuming they didn't know what the clip was referring to. I guess I'll use a Wikipedia link next time. 'Cause that's all authoritative and shit.

You certainly have no problem saying it, and neither does just about anybody else. The hard thing is arguing the contrary

Didja see my Errr... link? The one where Faze commented that the American Revolution probably could have waited a bit? He's presented no cogent argument here. Just an naive assumption that a series of cascading historical events might have somehow managed work out for the better (or at the very least, less badly) if a certain number of people decided not to fight. Which is a nice fantasy, but not one that anyone who knows about the almost inevitable repitition of history is likely to indulge.

Sometimes the contrary argument is a hard one because it's a really bad one.
posted by Cyrano at 10:22 PM on July 12, 2008


Thanks, excellent post.
posted by Wolof at 11:16 PM on July 12, 2008


The dead don't get any vote. I suspect if you could ask them, however, they would prefer that the war not have been fought, and people rather had waited to see what would happen. Whatever it would have been, I suspect, wouldn't have involved the premature deaths of 40-60 million people.

It's not hard to make the argument that WWII was a bad thing and lots of people died. I just don't see how you can be so certain that if America hadn't entered the war, those 40-60 million people would be alive today. Invading a country to do missionary work or spread democracy is complete baloney, but I think a case could be made that Germany, Japan and the Soviet Union's plans were very possibly going to be more destructive than even the average bloody colonization. Germany's plans to exterminate all Jews, homosexuals, deviants, and enslave the Polish people meant that a lot of people were going to die, whether or not every country in the world acquiesced or turned the other cheek.

So you're not saying the Nazis were bad? Then why was the experience of occupation bad?

This seems like an excellent question to ask an Iraqi citizen.
posted by oneirodynia at 11:02 AM on July 13, 2008


Didja see my Errr... link? The one where Faze commented that the American Revolution probably could have waited a bit?

Yes, and I ignored it because it was completely irrelevant. Since you bring it up again, I guess I have to ask: what on earth do you imagine Faze's comment about the American Revolution might have to do with this? Unless your point is OH NO HE'S A FREETHINKER WHO DOESN'T ACCEPT THE ACCEPTED GROUPTHINK POSITION ON EVERYTHING BURN HIM!!!

As it happens, I think it's a perfectly reasonable position to suggest that the Revolution might not have been worth it (it will help you to understand this if you look at it from the point of view of a slave or an Indian), so I guess you'd better burn me too. (Note for the simple-minded: thinking something is a reasonable position does not mean agreeing with it.)

I just don't see how you can be so certain that if America hadn't entered the war, those 40-60 million people would be alive today.

Of course I can't be certain; nobody can. We can't know what would have happened if things had gone differently. I think it's arguable that, given the horrendous things that did happen (hence Faze's sarcasm, which is not really that hard to decipher: "if the US hadn't entered the war, something TERRIBLE might have happened"), almost any other course of action was likely to lead to less death and destruction. It's perfectly reasonable to say "Well, I understand the argument but I still come down on the side of intervention," but to freak out and go OMG HE THINKS WWII WAS BAD WHAT ABOUT HITLER AND THE OCCUPATION!!! is just silly. Really, challenge received ideas and reading comprehension goes out the window: yath thinks Faze is implying "the U.S. entry into WWII did no good." Jesus. Learn to think. The fact that a balance sheet shows a negative result does not mean there was zero income.
posted by languagehat at 12:02 PM on July 13, 2008 [1 favorite]


Who's freaking out? The assumption that anyone thinks that maybe there's a case to be made for the US does not mean that person is all RAH RAH RAH WE WON WAR IS GRATE!!!1! You're making a lot of assumptions about people's points of view on a very complicated subject.

yath thinks Faze is implying "the U.S. entry into WWII did no good."

yath:

Likewise, I'm struggling to discover Faze's opinion on the matter, much less analyze its value. It seems imply that the U.S. entry into WWII did no good, though that seems an odd position to take (to put it mildly).

It seems to me that yath is asking for further clarification from Faze. And it seems that Faze's comments are not entirely on clear whether or not he is in fact "imply(ing) that the US entry into WWII did no good". Asking for clarification from someone hardly seems a symptom of needing to learn to think.
posted by oneirodynia at 12:37 PM on July 13, 2008


Sometimes the contrary argument is a hard one because it's a really bad one.

And sometimes it isn't. And sometimes the contrary argument is less an argument and more just asking "are you sure we're going in the right direction, Papa Lemming?" And sometimes asking for further clarification is an act of futility that brings any discussion to a screeching halt.

All I know is, from my experience as the son of a WWII veteran, the "Greatest Generation" contained a massive number of undiagnosed Post Traumatic Stress Disorder victims who started the ongoing process of destroying America. Which I'd say is a negative.
posted by wendell at 1:04 PM on July 13, 2008


It seems to me that yath is asking for further clarification from Faze. And it seems that Faze's comments are not entirely on clear whether or not he is in fact "imply(ing) that the US entry into WWII did no good". Asking for clarification from someone hardly seems a symptom of needing to learn to think.

It seems to me that Faze is being perfectly clear; he's sarcastically questioning the unthinking acceptance of the horror that was WWII as "The Good War" and suggesting that maybe, just maybe, another way of dealing with Hitler might have avoided some of that. Furthermore, it strikes me as insulting to suggest that he might be "imply(ing) that the US entry into WWII did no good." But hey, to each their own interpretation. Maybe if Faze drops by and clarifies for you you'll believe him. Me, I see people so sunk in received opinion they can't even process anything that questions it.
posted by languagehat at 5:25 PM on July 13, 2008


languagehat, again I think you're putting arguments into peoples writing where they don't exist. So far you're the only one talking frantically about Nazis and how evil they are. The only point I was trying to make when sharing the actual real life experience of my parents was that there were people who thought the involvement of the United States in WWII was good from their perspective. I'll put it even simpler terms for you since you like to complicate things:

Life was good in Holland.
Holland got invaded and occupied. People starved and lived in fear.
Holland was liberated and life got good again.

Whether the occupiers were Nazis, Communists, Seventh Day Adventists or libertarians doesn't really matter. The socio-political aspect is a different discussion. If you want to have that, then find some interesting links and start a new thread.

It's a wonderful intellectual exercise to imagine what would have happened if the United States never got involved. I'm sure lots of PhD's could be earned on that, and some probably have. I think it's just as important to study it and figure out why it happened, and hopefully learn to avoid it happening again in the future.
posted by Eekacat at 6:52 PM on July 13, 2008


Faze: Why, if the US hadn't entered the war... the Germans might have tortured or murdered six million Jews...

Given the Nazis would have done this with or without U.S. involvement, it appears Faze is being terribly clever in his argumentation. Comments like that, and "maybe, just maybe, another way of dealing with Hitler might have avoided some of that" aren't what I call good communication. What I'm seeing are people with a superior moral attitude who can't even be bothered to state their opinions plainly. Forget being sunk in received opinion, I haven't even deciphered your statements yet.
posted by yath at 7:43 PM on July 13, 2008 [1 favorite]


I was blithely going through the pictures, being very interested, until I came across this picture of an exposition called Le Juif et la France put on by L'institut d'étude des questions Juives. It hit me right in the gut.
posted by Kattullus at 9:36 PM on July 13, 2008


It pains me to say it, but anti-semitism is not a rare commodity in France.
posted by Wolof at 11:22 PM on July 13, 2008


« Older The Department of Homeland Security has expressed ...  |  Vintage ads galore.... Newer »


This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments