By Anne Fuchs (auth.)
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Additional info for After the Dresden Bombing: Pathways of Memory, 1945 to the Present
1 The mournful tone of these comments is striking; they unfold the vista of a postwar Europe turned into a vast ruin. Interestingly, this piece was published before Germany’s capitulation on 8 May 1945 but after the bombing of Dresden, the city that, alongside Hiroshima, became one of the most contested icons of the immoral dimension of the air war in the postwar imaginary. Listing some of the city’s famous tourist sites, The Irish Times also refers to a German report. This was a commentary by Goebbels’ propaganda ministry that, after the bombing of Dresden, was 21 22 After the Dresden Bombing quickly sent through the Deutsche Nachrichtenbüro (DNB, the German News Agency) around the globe, especially to neutral countries such as Ireland and Sweden.
The collective will to make the city rise from the rubble is further aggrandised by photographic shots from a low angle that lend dignity to the project of reconstruction. Richard Peter’s iconographic depiction of a socialist future culminates in the final picture which adopts an upward angled shot to glorify a worker who appears to be climbing into a socialist heaven. With this allegorical vision Peter’s photo book ends a teleological narrative that promises historical redemption without needing to make any explicit reference to the new political order.
By combining the contemporary sci-fi narrative with the medieval tradition of the Dance of Death and the adventure story he exploded the conventional framework of realism in favour of a wacky hybridity that chimed well with the Flower Power generation. Nevertheless, the black lining of Vonnegut’s carnivalised rendition is the idea of historical excess. The sections on Vonnegut are complemented by a brief reading of representations of animal suffering across a range of authors, including the children’s writer Michael Morpurgo, who in An Elephant in the Garden (2010) relates the destruction of Dresden from the perspective of a German family who take care of an elephant from the Dresden zoo.