A snapshot in Time: Robert Capa zings a German general

Photojournalist Robert Capa in July 10, 1944, Pacific Pony Edition of Time magazine

Photojournalist Robert Capa on Page 27 of Time magazine’s Pacific Pony Edition of July 10, 1944, printed in Hawaii

My brother sent me a yellowed, flaking copy of Time magazine’s Pacific Pony Edition from July 10, 1944. He found it while helping his widowed mother-in-law move out of her home in Florida. Her husband had been in the service during World War II and apparently brought it back from Hawaii, where it was printed.

I’d never seen a pony edition and can’t imagine how anyone ever read it without a magnifying glass, which I ended up having to use. The type is miniature and crowds pages a mere 5½ by 7½ inches.

But once your naked eye has help, you can get a snapshot of the day. In its 34 pages, there are stories on Tom Dewey’s getting the presidential nomination at the Republican Convention in Chicago, white antagonism toward black troops training in the South, the Allies’ having the “ragtag” German army on the run in France. In the Milestones section, there’s a blurb about a daughter born to “red-haired, hazel-eyed cinema eyeful” Maureen O’Hara.

Time's Pacific Pony Edition of July 10, 1944

Cover of the Pacific Pony Edition has Field Marshal Bernard Law Montgomery of the British Army saying: “Nothing has stopped us. … Nothing will.”

A piece that caught my eye is an anecdote about Life photographer Robert Capa, an American who was born in Hungary and had lived in Berlin and Paris. He’s perhaps best known for eleven photos he took at Omaha Beach on D-Day.

Capa was among reporters and cameramen at the U.S. 9th Infantry Division headquarters during the German surrender of Cherbourg, France. Among the captured defenders were Lt. Gen. Karl Wilhelm Dietrich von Schlieben and Rear Adm. Walther Hennecke.

As the 9th Division’s commander, Maj. Gen. Manton S. Eddy, walked von Schlieben and Hennecke to the door, camera bulbs flashed. The Germans grumbled. Eddy explained that America has a free press, and he couldn’t and wouldn’t stop the photojournalists from doing their job. Von Schlieben huffed that the idea of a free press bored him.

Capa answered in German, “And I am bored with photographing defeated generals.”

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