About Landscapes at War


It all began with a visit to the region of Vauquois, in Argonne. During a family walk with her father – history passionate of the First World War - Isabelle Masson-Loodts, journalist and archaeologist, was struck by the contradictions resonating from the ruins of the site. 25km North-East of Verdun, French and German bombarded the hills from September 1914 to April 1918 and totally destroyed the hills and the village on top of it.


The only remnants of the village are a few stones. The craters that are still apparent give an idea of the violent battles that lasted here for four years.


Like many other battlefields of that period, this site also provides an exceptional view of the region. As geographer Yves Lacoste said: “(…) among the many viewpoints of a landscape, the most beautiful one is the one that provides the best tactical advantage from a military point of view”. From that quote came the idea to investigate the link between the impact of the First World War and Nature.




The project started in 2010 and took the form of a large-scale probe funded by the “Fund for Journalism in the French-speaking community”. This preliminary project went public in November 2012 with a series of 3 double page articles published in the Belgian national newspaper “La Libre”, extended by television coverage in the weekly program “Le Jardin Extraordinaire” on RTBF, supported further by radio coverage on the RTBF ‘La Première’ and with the blog www.paysagesenbataille.be .

“Paysages en bataille”, the book, was published in april 2014 by Nevicata Editions.

 

Since these publications, the author continues the work on the blog. She also gives lectures on the subject and prepare a web documentary and a smartphone application.