This striking photo, taken on Aug. 26, 1944, during the liberation of Paris and held in the National Archives’ collection of Signal Corps Photographs of American Military Activity, shows Parisians running for cover on the Place de la Concorde as snipers fired on the city’s ongoing celebration. The image shows civilians caught in the crossfire, transitioning quickly from party to self-preservation mode.
While the Germans had officially surrendered the city to Allied forces the day before and citizens were out in the streets in force, pockets of French collaborators and German soldiers remained. French Gen. Charles de Gaulle, who paraded through the streets to the Champs-Élysées on the same day this picture was taken, took fire from snipers several times. Later in the day, de Gaulle famously came under sniper ﬁre inside the Cathedral of Notre Dame.
Every time I see these pictures, I think to myself, “parking must be a nightmare…”
(I am endlessly fascinated by the sheer size of these Nazi spectacles.)
The glorification of strength and self reliance in Nazi Germany was just propaganda.
The Nazi Party was a haven of broken, spiteful nothings that found a way to assert themselves in obtaining political power. This power was attained by means that are the exact opposite of strength of character: deception, making their own rules, corruption. The Nazis lied through their teeth to the same German people they appeared to idolize. They rejected any kind of proper political struggle by simply assassinating and terrorizing their opposers. They couldn’t stand a single chance if German industry and finance didn’t see a useful tool in them to squash worker movements and didn’t fund them with enormous sums of money.
They were not daring: in fact they were quite weak both in regards to their philosophical system and their methods.
“A military parade is really a kind of ritual dance, something like a ballet, expressing a certain philosophy of life. The goose-step, for instance, is one of the most horrible sights in the world, far more terrifying than a dive-bomber. It is simply an affirmation of naked power; contained in it, quite consciously and intentionally, is the vision of a boot crashing down on a face. Its ugliness is part of its essence, for what it is saying is ‘Yes, I am ugly, and you daren’t laugh at me’, like the bully who makes faces at his victim.” – George Orwell (‘England, your England‘, 1941, essay)
George Orwell beat everyone to the punch on most things, (probably.)