Bourke-White at Buchenwald

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At the end of WWII, impending Allied victory was sobered by the grim facts of the atrocities which allied troops were uncovering all over Germany. Margaret Bourke-White was with General Patton’s third amy when they reached Buchenwald on the outskirts of Weimar. Patton was so incensed by what he saw that he ordered his police to get a thousand civilians to make them see with their own eyes what their leaders had done. The MPs were so enraged they brought back 2,000. Bourke-White said, “I saw and photographed the piles of naked, lifeless bodies, the human skeletons in furnaces, the living skeletons who would die the next day… and tattoed skin for lampshades. Using the camera was almost a relief. It interposed a slight barrier between myself and the horror in front of me.”

LIFE magazine decided to publish these photos in their May 7, 1945 issue many photographs of these atrocities, saying, “Dead men will have indeed died in vain if live men refuse to look at them.”

Patton and Montgomery

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Generals Montgomery and Patton shake hands. The laughing faces of the two man can be deceiving–two heroes of the WWII didn’t get along very well at all. Two massives egos and two different opinions of how to defeat the germans meant they were always arguing. Montgomery was pompous, Patton reckless–this prevented both men from leading the Allied Land Invasion of Europe.

They turned natural rivalry into deadly competition to see who would or could get to Berlin first. In Sicily, both recklessly pushed their man to get of Massena first (After two weeks of fighting, Monty arrived just two hours after Patton relieved the city). On their push towards Berlin, Monty complained that he had been fighting harder than Patton whereas Patton complained that Montgomery’s 21st Army group got priority on the supplies. Both overlooked the fact that Monty was leading the main thrust (although both thought each other’s army was doing main thrust).