Many soldiers kept scrapbooks containing photographs, documents, and other ephemera as a souvenir of their service during the war. The scrapboook here belonged to PFC Ponsford, in the 74th signal Company of the 75th Infantry Division. He was involved in the last months of WW2 starting in December 1945, serving in northeastern France and western Germay. After the war, before returning home, he also went sightseeing in Switzerland and Paris. These documents provide a glimpse of what happened at the end of World War II, the immediate aftermath, and the beginnings of the Cold War.
There are some more pages, mostly of his travels in Switzerland, that still need to be scanned.
These two captured Wehrmacht BeVo eagles were once pasted in the book along with other Nazi insignia that was not recovered, but had fallen off due to age:
There are many postcards like the ones below in the scrapbook. One set comes from photographs taken during the liberation parades in Paris, and another, below, show scale models of Albert Speer’s proposed monumental architecture for the Third Reich.
The scrapbook also contains some crudely printed newsletters from a troopship ferrying discharged servicemen home after the war. The articles were mainly about shipboard life as well as world news. There is an interesting cartoon highlighting women’s contributions to the war effort and predicting (?) the more conservative social conditions of the 1950’s where women seemed to return to the home after wartime work.
Finally, there are some post-war veteran reunion newsletters and newspaper articles demonizing the Soviets that demonstrate the beginnings of the Cold War.