Monuments Men, the movie about an Allied group in World War II know as Monuments, Fine Arts, and Archives program, was released yesterday. Few people actually know of this group as it is not commonly taught. But the group was very much real.
The film is based on Robert M. Edsel’s book The Monuments Men: Allied Heroes, Nazi Thieves and the Greatest Treasure Hunt in History. As it turns out many of the events shown in the movie are based on fact. Artifacts were hidden in underground salt mines, art was stolen to be placed in Hitler’s museum “Fuhrermuseum”, and Hitler did issue an order for all of it to be destroyed if the army pulled out. Part of the reason the Nazi’s stole the artwork was to destroy cultural symbols, especially those of the Jews.
Still, although the move is based on real events, not all the actions surrounding them actually occurred. Still, Monuments Men offers a educational and important lesson about the importance of arts, symbols, and culture.