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Grim postcards of executions and dead bodies from the Mexican Revolution 1910-17

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The Mexican Revolution began as a middle-class protest against the oppressive dictatorship of the country’s President Porfirio Diaz (1876-1911). In 1910, wealthy landowner Francisco I. Madero (1873-1913) stood against Diaz in the presidential election. The election was rigged by Diaz and his cronies who then attempted to have Madero arrested and imprisoned. Madero escaped to San Antonio, Texas, where he wrote Plan de San Luis (Plan of San Luis de Potosí), a political pamphlet that denounced Diaz explaining why he should no longer be president.

Madero’s Plan was a rallying cry that asked the Mexican people to rise up against Diaz on Sunday, November 20, 1910, at 6:00 pm and overthrow his government. This is how the Mexican Revolution began. What followed was a bloody and ferocious civil war and one of the greatest upheavals of the 20th century. An estimated 1.5 million people died. Two-hundred-thousand were made refugees.

During the revolution (1910-20) hundreds of commercial and amateur photographers documented the events on both sides of the war.

Using glass plate cameras and early cut film cameras, primitive by today’s standards, the photographers faced injury and death to obtain negatives which would be printed on postcard stock and sold to the soldiers and general public on both sides of the U.S.-Mexican border. Some of the views were obviously posed, and others showed the death and destruction resulting from the violence of a nation involved in a bloody civil war.

The following postcards are part of a collection held by the Southern Methodist University archive.
 
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The above postcards form part of a group of photographs taken by Walter H. Horne which he called the ‘triple execution’ series. The cards depict the execution of three prisoners for allegedly stealing military supplies. The victims were Francisco Rojas, Juan Aguilar and Jose Moreno who were all executed on January 15th, 1916, at the Northwest Railroad Station, in Ciudad Juarez, Mexico.
 
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‘A Victim of the Executing Squad,’ another of Horne’s postcard from1913.
 
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‘Mexican man kneeling beside dead body,’ circa 1910-17.
 
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‘Dead bodies on a Mexican battlefield,’ 1913.
 
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‘Dead the battlefield,’ 1913.
 
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‘Dead bodies on a Mexican battlefield],’ 1913.
 
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‘Spot where Pres. Madero & Vice Pres. of Mex. were killed, In front of the National Palace – Mexico City,’ by Max Stein 1914.
 
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‘F. Villas man killed in battle Nov 2, 1915 1/2 mile south of Agua Prieta Mexico,’ 1913.
 
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‘Incineration of the dead bodies at Balbuena,’ postcard by Samuel Tinoco, 1913.
 
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‘Killed in front of Hotel Diligencias’ by Hadsell, 1914.
 
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‘F. Villas men. These men was executed too [sic] miles op. Agua Prieta Mexico. Jan 1916.’ by J. Snow.
 
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‘Gen. Pancho Villa Raid on Columbus, New Mexico, March 9th, at 4 A.M., 1916.’
 
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‘Dead revolutionaries at Chupeque,’ C. C. Harris Foto, ca. 1910-1917.
 
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‘Constitutional Soldiers in Action,’ by Runyon, Robert, ca. 1910-17.
 
Via Flashbak and SMU.
 

Posted by Paul Gallagher
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