War correspondents during the Batttle of Normandy

War correspondents during the Battle of Normandy: Robert Capa and Cornelius Ryan.

 

Robert Capa 

(22nd October 1913 - 25th May 1954)

Born under the name of André Friedmann of a Jewish family in Budapest, Robert Capa had to leave his homeland in 1931 to escape increasingly brutal anti-Semitism. He moved to Berlin but had to flee once again due to the rise of Nazism. He arrived in Paris in 1935, where he met photographers David Seymour and Henri Cartier-Bresson, whom he befriended. This is when he decided to change his name to Robert Capa. In 1936, he covered the Spanish civil war. For his work, English Picture Post magazine awarded him the title of "greatest war photographer". In 1938, he photographed the Sino-Japanese conflict.

He emigrated to the United States but left again to cover the conflict in North Africa in 1942, and then the landings in Sicily. His photographs were published in Life Magazine.

On 6th June 1944, working for Life Magazine, he was amongst the photographers who landed on Omaha Beach, in Colleville-sur-Mer. He photographed the landings for over six hours and took some 119 photographs. The rolls of film arrived at the magazine just before closing, and in the rush, the lab assistant in charge of developing the photographs made a mistake and melted the negatives. Only 11 photographs were saved. These were published in Life with the caption slightly out focus. Robert Capa used this phrase to entitle his memories of war.

Cornelius Ryan

(5th June 1920 - 23rd November 1974) - Irish-American journalist born in Dublin.

Cornelius Ryan moved to London in 1940, where he started to work for Reuters.

He then became war correspondent for The Daily Telegraph in 1943. He covered the war in Europe, following in particular the 8th and 9th American Air Forces. He then met with the 3rd Army of General Patton.

Cornelius Ryan is famous for his book The Longest Day  (1959), the 1962 film was based on his work.

 

In contribution with Rémy Desquesnes
Historian