Dec 28, 2007

Bombed Out

I own a number of odd, bizarre, or unexpected postcards. Among them a small set featuring bombed out European towns. Four of the five have a short text in German printed on the back, the fifth is French. There is no date, no writing on any of the cards, and I'm unable to discern to which on of the two world wars they are bearing witness. At first I assumed it was WWII, but the two uniformed figures in one of the cards seems more reminiscent of those of the first war. It is however blurred and I'm unable to tell for sure. WWI caused many deaths, but was this level of destruction possible with the limited level of aerial warfare of the time?
They make me wonder. What possessed people to make a series of postcards depicting the remains of these war-mauled places? Judging from the the numbers printed on them - on the front of the French one and on the back of the German ones - there were quite a few of them. Who made them? The victors or the losers, or both? What was their purpose? Bragging rights? Grim reminder? Cataloging? Who would buy such postcards and what would they do with them? Could you mail such postcard? What would you write on it, "Many greetings from bombed out Hazerbrouck"?

If anyone has answer to any of these questions, please let me know.


2 comments:

Ponine said...

I was reading your post, and I was also curious.
Have you seen this site?
http://beck.library.emory.edu/greatwar/about.php
I did not find a perfect match for any of your postcards.. but they have a great many.

Vanda said...

Thank you! That's a very interesting site. I originally was sure my postcards were from WWII, but now I'm convinced I was off one great war. Postcards must have been to people back then like television is to us now.