Recently, I've been discussing with some fellow language learners the significance of the use of the imperfect tense in the following sentence:
Algunos eran asesinados por los soldados, mientras que otros morían de hambre, frío o enfermedades.
As I read it the sentence means,
Some were killed by soldiers, while others died of hunger, cold or disease.
Is there any difference in meaning if fueron and muerion were used instead of eran and morían?
One suggestion put forward was that the imperfect tense, which is used for descriptions, places the reader in the scene in contrast to the preterite tense which would be more of a historical accounting.