As The Independent continues with a series of photographs chosen from The Hulton Getty Picture Collection as representative of the year, the above image shows a Dutch woman kissing her grandchild through the barbed wire fence which divided the mining town of Kerkrade in two on the Dutch-German border. The Netherlands had suffered greatly during World War Two, as they were one of the first to be occupied at a time when Hitler was at his most zealous and the German army most effective. Although most of the navy and merchant fleet escaped capture and supported the Allies, about 75 per cent of Netherland's Jewish people were killed, mostly in death camps. Thousands of other Netherlanders were made to work in German factories. By the end of the war, about 270,000 Netherlanders had been killed or starved to death.

The United States put itself in the role of saviour with the Marshall Plan. which was intended to help Western Europe rebuild itself. The Netherlands benefited from this receiving one billion dollars.

In this year, the United Nations confronted head-on the old, and controversial issues in India and Palestine. On 15 August, India was declared independent. Lord Mountbatten presided over the transfer, which resulted in the partition of India into two states: Pakistan as Muslim territory, and India as Hindu. In Palestine the United Nations voted to set up a separate Jewish state, an Arab state and a separate regime for the city of Jerusalem. The stage was set for more violence as the agreement was responded to with the Arab spokesperson Dr Hussein Khalidi calling for a "crusade against the Jews". The transfer was marred by violence of an horrific nature, in one instance a train of Muslim refugees, bound for Pakistan after the partition, arrived carrying the dead bodies of 72 children after being ambushed by a Sikh band. By December, the last of the Muslim refuges had arrived in Pakistan, and the death toll, since partition, stood at 400,000 people.

Photo 98 is a series of high-profile national events and exhibitions, for information contact 01484 559888, or refer to

Current Exhibitions: `Heads of State', work by Faisal Abud'allah which investigates social stereotypes and personal identity. Gallery II, University of Bradford, Chesham Building, off Horton Road, Bradford BD7 (01274 383 365). To 3 April.