August 18, 2003 by AK

Alan Henderson links to this photograph, entitling that brief entry, What We’re Fighting For. Yes, the bespectacled soldier (or officer?) with the little girl looks genuinely human in the best sense of the word. But the way the shot is set up would make it a perfect propaganda tool. Good propaganda almost always builds on a genuine emotion. The photo struck me as surprisingly familiar: I can’t help associating it with the monument to the Russian soldier in Berlin’s Treptow park (by Yevgeny Vuchetich). Sweep aside the intimidating overtones so you can see through to what I think was the sculptor’s design — to portray the Soviet soldier as protector of humanity. What bitter irony is there!

Some Soviet soldiers protected children and fed Germans their goulash.

Some raped German women and marauded their homes.

Some did all of the above, and that is the scariest.

Still, who am I to judge them?


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