Archives On The Air 35: "How About That?"—African American Soldier's Cold War Photo Album

Aug 3, 2018

Our visual understanding of the Cold War is often limited to images of the Berlin Wall and what is was like for the boots on the ground.

One American soldier anonymously took photos of his regiment: the 2nd Armored Division’s 13th Field Artillery Regiment of the U.S. Army.

He was an African-American soldier who served in Germany and documented his time there. His photo album is now part of the collections at the American Heritage Center.

His photos trace the seasons in Germany and the mechanics of equipment he worked with. It also reveals the tensions and comradery shared between different races in the Cold War.

The soldier himself is never named but his annotations reveal an exciting account of friendships and quality of life during his time in Germany.

A black and white photo of black and white soldiers standing together in front of a frozen tank with the title “it ain’t cold” is an example.

Come peruse this photo album at UW’s American Heritage Center.