Photo Reportage #6: the gallery of Castelletto (in the Tofane range)

Professional and amateur photographers that are willing to share their images in a 100% First World War dedicated platform can write to this email address giving a small abstract of their work (place, country, main features, reasons of interest) and a zipped folder with the images in *.jpeg format in video resolution 72dpi (please in your email consent to World War I Bridges publishing your photos). It goes without saying that the long term purpose of this little digitale initiative is to crowd-source digital stuff to preserve the memory of the Great War and to channel the energies of professional or amateur photographers on this.

Like the first two, also this new photo reportage taken in the gallery of Castelletto (Dolomites, Tofane range) was kindly offered to World War I Bridges by Ugo Agnoletto. We thank him for his precious help in the start-up of this unit of World War I Bridges. By walking inside this gallery you can understand what historians called the "war of mines" in the Dolomites, a relevant and unique stage of the Great War in Italy.

The Great War in Post-Memory Literature, Drama and Film (CFP)

A frame from Uomini contro 
by Francesco Rosi (1970)
We below post the Call for Papers announcement of an alluring project to be developed under the supervising action of the Universities of Warsaw and Graz.
We invite all the institutions with similar CfP about the World War I to send their text to the email address you find beside. We will be more than happy to spread their announcements and to support their initiatives.

The Great War in Post-Memory Literature, Drama and Film

Marzena Sokolowska-Paryz, University of Warsaw, Poland
Martin Loeschnigg, University of Graz, Austria

The Great War has never ceased to haunt the imagination. Across time and nations, the subject of the first major conflict of the twentieth century has returned over and over again in prose fiction, drama, and film. The oncoming centenary is a very good time for a reconsideration of the place and meaning of this conflict in our contemporary post-memory culture. We plan to edit a volume of essays that will bring together scholars from all over the world in order to chart the predominant tendencies in the textual and visual representations of the Great War since the 1970s up till the present day. Though defining the beginning of post-memory texts of culture is inevitably arbitrary, it is from the 1970s onward that we witness the appearance of a number of important films and literary works about the Great War by authors from the generation for which this past conflict is history and not memory: William Leonard Marshall’s The Age of Death, Susan Hill’s Strange Meeting, Derek Robinson’s Goshawk Squadron, Jennifer Johnston‘s How Many Miles to Babylon, Timothy Findley’s The Wars, Roger McDonald’s 1915, Uomini Contro (dir. Francesco Rosi), Aces High (dir. Jack Gold), the TV remake of All Quiet on the Western Front (dir. Delbert Mann) or the BBC series Wings. Since then, other notable writers have addressed this subject, including Sebastian Faulks, Pat Barker, David Malouf, Robert Edric, Reginald Hill, Mark Helprin, Marc Dugain, Jane Urquhart, Antonia Arslan, Ben Elton, Jeff Shaara, Sebastien Japrisot, Sebastian Barry, Jack Hodgins, Frances Itani, Jody Shields, Robert Goddard, Tom Phelan, Geert Spillebeen, Joseph Boyden, Kevin Major, Alan Cumyn, Nigel Farndale, Jacqueline Winspear, Charles and Caroline Todd, Michael Morpurgo, Michael Foreman, Iain Lawrence, Theresa Breslin, as well as the playwrights Stephen MacDonald, David Haig, Peter Whelan, David French, R.H. Thomson. Among the most important films, there are Galilipoli,  Life and Nothing But, Les fragments d’Antonin, Joyeux Noel, The Lost Battalion, All the King’s Men, My Boy Jack, Deathwatch, The Red Baron, Flyboys, Anzacs (TV series). Le Pantalon, War Horse, The Trench, Passchendaele , Beneath Hill 60, to mention but a few. The volume will be international in scope, highlighting transnational themes as well as identifying discrepancies stemming from particular national histories.

The suggested range of topics includes (but is not limited to the following):

1. Parallel Times: Constructing Contemporary Meanings of the Great War
2. Concealed Histories: The Search for Other Wars in the Great War
3. Genre and History: The Impact of Convention on Representations of the Great War (detective fiction, political thriller, horror, romance, comedy, grand-historical narratives etc.)
4. Experimental Fictions: New Approaches to Writing/Showing the Great War
5. The Great War on the Contemporary Stage: The Historical Vision of Playwrights
6. From Text to Film:  Contemporary Adaptations of Prose Fiction about the Great War
7. Commemorative Narratives: Writing the Great War through Family History, Battlefield Pilgrimages, and War Memorials
8. The Trauma of the Great War: Ravished Minds and Disabled Bodies
9. Over and Beyond the Trenches:  The Great War at Sea and in the Air
10. The Great War from a Post-Colonial Perspective
11. National Versions of the Great War (English, Scottish, Irish, Welsh, Canadian, Australian, American, German, Austrian, French, Polish, Latvian, Romanian, Hungarian, Czech, Russian, etc.)
12. Writing the Great War for Children and Teenagers
13. Legends, Myths, Mysteries of the Great War
14. The Literary and Cinematic Portrayals of the War Poets
15. The Heroes of the Great War: From Grand-Historical Figures to Sacrificial Victims
16. The Anti-Heroes of the Great War: Cowards, Deserters, Murderers, Criminals
17. Gendering the Great War: The Female Protagonist
18. Relocating Historical Significance: Textual and Cinematic Narratives of the Aftermath of the Great War

Please submit an abstract (up to 200 words) and a short biographical note to Marzena Sokolowska-Paryz ( and Martin Loeschnigg ( by  January 31, 2013. The deadline for accepted articles is September 1, 2013. The articles should use MLA citation style and should be no longer than 6000 words.

Photos of animals in World War One: a French soldier with a pet fox

Photography is probably the main media shaping our perceptions and feeling of the Great War time. We may find some videos, we could read important books or diaries generated by a raw realism, but the five years of the World War I represent somehow a pressing debut of photography in the world social history, and not only during the hectic moments of the battles and assaults. Think about the role of photography in the militarized civil affairs and industries, think about the women and kids portrayed during the Great War. A picture like the one above is a kind of buffer between the military use of photography and its employment in a civil context. Forgetting for a while the strange presence of the small animal (probably not so strange for the time), we should rather take into consideration the person who shot this image. The English Romantic poet William Wordsworth once wrote about "emotions recollected in tranquillity". He was describing his poetry, but we could apply those words to this scene framing a French soldier (we see only his helmet hiding his face), the vague gaze of the fox and the caress provisionally joining the two protagonists. Just behind them some war signs appear...

We took the picture from 
Great War Primary Document Archive:Photos of the Great War, a rich source of perfectly tagged and elapsed copyright images that we are linking beside and from where we are drawing again in the future.

"L’illusione dell’acciaio". An exhibition in Gorizia from 9th November till 9th December 2012

Felt and wool. Maybe other textiles of the traditional uniforms. In any case, steel was not in the standard equipment. As the Italian soldiers in 1915 reached the front line, they wore almost exclusively simple cloth cap. And this was not only the case of Italian troops. Soldiers of most nations went into battle in the same traditional hats. The only exception, German soldiers wearing the Pickelhaube helmet. It took only few months and a huge number of victims of head wounds to note that a successful war required not only “clever heads” to devise new strategic solutions, but also “protected heads” to survive the front, where Shrapnel and later high-explosive caused about 80% of the injuries among troops in the open.
That's how Adrian was conceived: the first modern steel helmet was designed for the French Army in summer 1915 and named by his inventor: August-Louis Adrian. Weighting only 765gr, much less than the almost contemporary British Brodie helmet – delivered to the troops starting from 1916 – and the German Stahlhelm – adopted between end 1915 and beginning 1916 –, it was so effective against the shrapnel, that many other armies adopted it by the end of the World War I. Each model was then modified and improved during the WWI. The new exhibition in Gorizia,L’illusione dell’acciaio - Soldati, elmi, scudi e corazze sul fronte dell’Isonzo 1915 - 1917”, reviews this history of the helmets, and generally of the steel protection, during the First World War. It is directed anyway not only to experts and enthusiasts of military history. This exhibition deals in fact first of all with soldiers, it tells their story concealed under cloth caps and under helmets, and disclose maybe the illusion of the steel, protecting the heads from the bullets, not really from other war traumas. We wonder if the curators had this in mind, as they gave this title to the exhibition. To confirm this supposition, we just have to visit it.
The exhibition takes place at Scuderie of Palazzo Coronini Cronberg from the 9th October till the 9th December 2012. Further information here.

Photo Reportage #5: the Great War sites in the Treviso province (by Franco Cogoli)

In the Treviso province, a forty minute drive from Venice, are concentrated some of the most relevant landmarks and signs of the eastern front of World War I. The Monte Grappa range, between the provinces of Vicenza and Treviso, could be the perfect initiation of all First World War battlefield itineraries that could follow the Piave river course (Pederobba, the Montello hill, Nervesa della Battaglia, Ponte della Priula, the Papadopoli Island, down to its Adriatic mouth in the province of Venice). 

Today we have a great opportunity, since we are hosting in WWIB the first photo reportage made by a professional photographer. His name is Franco Cogoli and you can easily see what he has done so far by checking the below biography. We warmly thank him for giving us the permission to publish these great images he shot a few years ago. For him we make even an exception and we post nine photos instead of the usual eight pictures expected in this section of World War I Bridges.

With the nine images we discend from the Monte Grappa touching the following landmarks: an overview of the Monte Grappa range (1), a shot taken inside a fronzen "Vittorio Emanuele II" gallery on the summit of Monte Grappa (2), a view of the Italian and Austro-Hungarian Sanctuary covered with snow, always in the summit of Grappa (3), a clear blue sky over the winter parched grass of Col Fenilon with its cross, an important theatre of the Battle of the Solstice (4), the French Memorial in Pederobba (5), a superb view from the Montello hill embracing the Piave and Colli Asolani at sunset (6), the river Piave, Nervesa,and its military Sanctuary (7), a picture taken in the rooms of the World War I Museum of Maserada sul Piave, the institution behind this site and fully concentrated to study the presence of British Army along the river after during the Italian campaign (8) and finally a picture of the "Museo della Battaglia" in Vittorio Veneto (9) which is now under restauration works. Vittorio Veneto is the ideal end of this journey in the wake of images (just click on the first to start the show).

Franco Cogoli is travel photographer based in Italy, in the Veneto region; he started as professional photographer in 2000, having worked for several regional editions; after a three months experience in Alaska, he published the first reportage with Weekend Viaggi magazine; then he worked in assignment for some italian travel magazines like Bell'Italia, Bell'Europa, InViaggio, QuiTouring, with many reportages and covers published. He currently produces, together with the journalist Auretta Monesi, a food and wine column for the monthly magazine Bell'Italia. In 2005 he started working with the photoagency Simephoto, which represents part of his work throughout the world.  With Sime Books he has collaborated on few books. In 2011 he was commissioned to produce the pictures for the book "Semplice e buono", on the Dolomites traditional cooking and published by Athesia. He made a lot of reportages in Croatia and  I was awarded by the Croatian Tourist Board with the "Zlatna Penkala" (Golden Pen). He has a special interest on his country, the Veneto region, winning an award for the best reportage on the Veneto palladian villas, rewarded by the Istituto Regionale Ville Venete, and published on the monthly magazine ItinerariTravel; he also worked for some tourist boards of the Veneto region, with an important assignment by the Regione Veneto on seven beach resorts and some works commissioned by the Cavallino Treporti Tourist Office and the Asiago7comuni Tourist Office. He is working on a web-site, an online archive, on the Veneto region.

"Verso la Grande guerra": a new exhibition starts today at Vittoriano, Rome

A cover from "La Tradotta",
the weekly newspaper
of the Italian 3rd Army
The 4th of November is armistice day in Italy, and this is why a new exbition is opened today until the 6th of January at Vittoriano, Rome. The collection of more than 200 documents is intended to be the first step of a three event path leading to 2014, the year when all countries are officially starting the celebrations.

The visitors will go through a layout that is shaped with several kinds of documents: postcards, trench newspapers, diaries, letters, postcards, films, books, carvings, paintings, etc. The curators are Romano Ugolini, president of Institute of History of Italian Risorgimento and Marco Pizzo, vice director of Museo Centrale del Risorgimento di Roma.

The layout concept takes its cue from the general idea that will inspire all the First World War Centenary celebrations in Italy: the Italian population as the central point, not only during the war years but also before and after. This is what assures also Paolo Peluffo, the president of the Committee for Commemmoration. 

The different sections of the exhibition develop from the crisis of the late Nineteenth Century, the so called "Giolitti's age", the Italian industrial revolution and the colonial parenthesis, the roles of the predominant social groups (the Catholics on one side and the Socialists on the other) and do not forget to contemplate a prominent figure like Gabriele D'Annunzio and his peculiar position in this scenario, both from a political and from a literary point of view.

The entrance is free.

Calendar of the Upcoming Meetings on WWI by EHESS and DHI in Paris

Allons enfants de la Patrie,
a book by Manon Pignot
The new series of one-day-conferences organized by the École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales in collaboration with the German Historical Institute (DHI) in Paris is now available. The program of this cycle of meetings entitled “1914-2014” aims to support the research on Great War and stimulate the increasing interest about the topic from the perspective of a double “moment 14”. Each single conferences will focus both on 1914, i.e. on the social, political and cultural occurrences of the Great War, and on 2014, i.e. on methodological approaches and on social and political impact of the WWI memory in the history. This new series of conferences carries on the research interests of the group connected with the DHI and joins in the worldwide debate on WWI, which slowly gains visibility and importance with the approaching of the centenary.

All meeting will take place, starting from 9.00 a.m. at the DHI in Paris. 

Here the program:

1. November 19th 2012 - L’histoire militaire de l’entrée en guerre
Wencke Meteling (Marburg), Damien Baldin and Emmanuel Saint-Fuscien (EHESS)
2. December 3rd 2012 - L’entrée en guerre de la jeunesse
Aurore François (UCL & Ulg), Manon Pignot (Amiens)
3. January 7th 2013 - La mobilisation des empires
Richard Fogarty (Albany), Daniel Steinbach (Exeter)
4. February 4th 2013 - Les émotions de 1914
Hervé Mazurel (Paris I), Clémentine Vidal-Naquet (EHESS)
5. March 18th 2013 - L’entrée en guerre des neutres
Marc Frey (Jacobs University Bremen), Andrea Geuna (EHESS)
6. April 15th 2013 - Obéissance/désobéissance
Paul Simmons (Oxford), Nicolas Mariot (CNRS-CURAPP)
7. May 13th 2013 - Temporalités — de la guerre ou de la commémoration
Nicolas Beaupré (UBP Clermont-Ferrand)

Further information also here.