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Relics of the cold war

All wars leave their traces, and not only in the form of cemeteries where lines of the fallen lie in their thousands. Each war generates its own defence system. New weapons are invented that lead to new strategies and new fear. Once peace has been declared, we are confronted by the sheer plethora of material remains: the defunct weaponry, the defensive works and secret vaults. As peacetime progresses, the remnants of war begin to acquire a new and different value.

Perhaps we are now discovering the relics of the Cold War, which lasted for 40 years without developing into armed conflict. The Cold War was all embracing. On both sides of the Iron Curtain, these 40 years of hostility resulted in a unique mentality and culture that caused both hate and passion. Peace between the world powers was maintained through a policy of deterrence, where the atom bomb ensured the balance of terror. At the height of the Cold War, news about the arms race was a part of daily life where Europe served as the potential front. However, all these weapons and defensive works became redundant with the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989.

For many years, Martin Roemers has been photographing the abandoned and guilty landscapes of the Cold War in Europe including its old bunkers, air-raid shelters, barracks, weapons, airfields, training grounds, nuclear missile silos, rust and rubbish. He has worked in Germany, England, the Netherlands, Belgium, Poland, the Czech Republic, Ukraine, Russia, Lithuania and Latvia.

Buy the book Relics of the Cold War here.
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