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© AlliiertenMuseum/Fotosammlung Provan, Copyright: US Army

Little America

Living in the military community in Germany

It was a world of its own that the US armed forces built at their military bases in post-war Germany. In addition to the necessary military infrastructure, the military sites known as Little Americas covered almost all areas of public life, from hospitals and schools to shopping centres, petrol stations and cultural facilities to leisure and sports facilities.

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The American infrastructure was intended to make life abroad easier for soldiers and their families. It also secured the self-sufficiency of the military communities. For the first time, an extensive photo exhibition now offers insights into this isolated world. On the basis of 200 photographs, the exhibition "Little America. Living in the military community in Germany" recalls the professional and private everyday life of the US soldiers stationed in Germany after the Second World War and thus recalls an important chapter in the history of the Cold War. An exclusive look into the world of the American military is provided by the private photo collection of the technical historian John Provan, which was taken over by the Allied Museum in 2016 and contains 220,000 photographs. The photos from the 1940s to 1990s come from numerous military and editorial archives of former and existing US locations in Germany and were taken by military photographers on behalf of the US military. The exhibition presents 200 of the most significant paintings from the Provan Collection, divided into thirteen thematic areas. Four topics stand out in particular: everyday military life in Little America, the challenges of deployment abroad, the private and family life of the GIs and encounters with the German population. Since most of the American locations were in the southwest of Germany, many pictures were taken in this region. But West Berlin and Southern Germany are also prominently represented in the exhibition.

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