The Militärhistorisches Museum der Bundeswehr opened today and is sure to court controversy. With the shadow of the Third Reich always looming over the German historical consciousness, the design of the displays was a delicate matter. The museum’s director says that the focus is on individuals, both as perpetrators and victims, as well as the many who stood aside and did nothing.
The museum covers the entire history of armed conflict, not just World War Two, and features many graphic images of death. German war atrocities are shown with an unflinching eye. Other countries don’t get off lightly either. The American bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, which killed more than 185,000 people (mostly civilians), are memorialized with an artwork showing the victims’ shadows left by the bombs’ blasts.
[Photo courtesy Bundesarchiv]