Harry Ransom Center
Menu

The Battle for the Eastern Front

Photographs from the William Broyles, Jr. Collection

May 10, 2005 – July 17, 2005

An exhibit of photographs by World War II combat photographers on the Soviet side provides a visual record of the devastating war, including several images that have never been seen in the West before.

The exhibition, "The Battle for the Eastern Front: Photographs from the William Broyles, Jr. Collection," coincides with the May 9 commemoration of Victory Day in Moscow.

At the invitation of Russian President Vladimir Putin several world leaders and heads of state will participate in Russia's 60th anniversary of Victory Day on Monday, May 9, including United States President George W. Bush, French President Jacques Chirac and Chinese President Hu Jintao.

The exhibition commemorates the 60th anniversary of the end of World War II in Europe with photographs that span from Germany's invasion of the Soviet Union in June 1941 to the celebration of victory in Moscow on May 9, 1945.

While the American death toll from World War II was 400,000, more than 25 million Russians, Ukrainians and other peoples of the Soviet Empire died.

"The photographs are a visual record of the war in the East as seen by the best combat photographers on the Soviet side," said Broyles. "A few images may seem posed for propaganda value, but most have a heart-rending immediacy and poignancy: a man rescues his musical instrument from the rubble, a partisan says goodbye to his girlfriend, a mother searches for the body of her son. These photographs lift the curtain on a war we Americans never knew."

In 2004, Broyles, founding editor of Texas Monthly, donated to the Ransom Center more than 250 images by Soviet photographers that document life in the U.S.S.R. from its rapid modernization beginning in the 1920s through much of the Cold War. The exhibition is drawn from both Broyles's donation and his private collection.

In addition to his editorships at Texas Monthly and Newsweek, Broyles is the author of the book "Brothers in Arms" and co-creator of the television series "China Beach." Broyles's screenwriting credits include "Cast Away" and the upcoming film "Jarhead." He co-authored the screenplays for "Apollo 13," "Unfaithful" and "The Polar Express."