Posted by mandisolomon on 23rd October 2008
These source really shows all the facts that surrounded the veterans when they came home from war. One of the big issues covered in the book was the mental health of the soldier. It became apparent that these soldiers were not crazy but in fact had seen so much death that it had effected these men. There was a lot more help for those with metal health problems following this war then any other war in american history. But for this help to happened the VA (Veterans Administration) had to find nurses and doctors to take care of the men who were returning. By 1942 the VA had enough nurses but not nearly enough doctors to fill all the needs of the veterans. When the war ended the doctors and nurses were send home the same time as the soldiers and the problem with this is that there wasn’t enough doctors to start with and now the doctors they did have were being set home when soldiers were still overseas. Not only were there still american soldiers overseas but they had to deal with those citizens of the war torn nations in europe and asia. These problems were also don’t helped by the fact that many of the doctors were extremely old and therefore were not as able bodied for the job that was put in front of them. So the book talks about how the VA went out looking for the younger doctors and to get them the put forth a way for them to research new medicines. I find this a wonderful idea because the soldiers need the new research and the doctors wanted the money so they could do the research. Another issue brought up is the issue of jobs. There were a lot of new jobs in the 1940s but where did the returning veterans fit into those?
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Posted by mandisolomon on 21st October 2008
So now there is a huge break between the Paul Fussell who was a soldier and the Paul Fussell who is now a veteran. This break is his injury which changed the way he saw the war. To us today we would call it post-traumatic stress disorder which Paul tells us in the book but at the time he had no idea what it was. This disorder left him wanting the Europe he had seen during the war. He wanted it so bad that he moved to the Eastern part of the US because he believed he could find it there. What he found was Harvard and that was as close as he could get to the Europe he so wanted. This move not only was for him but for his parents who did not know how to deal with a man with so much anger. From there he learned to put his anger into words at Harvard, for example he wrote about the his hating the easy ways of those who were “rehabilitating” Nazis. He then moved on the become a professor at Connecticut College where he found the staff to be like the army. This was not what he wanted. He wanted to be far from the feel of an army. With all of his anger, he really was just depressed by the memories of a war that took so much from him. He tells us how a book he was teaching really effected him because it brought up the memory of Sergeant Engle. From Connecticut College he moved to Rutgers which he very much enjoyed and then on to Penn. Paul would always find it hard to be the same as everyone else due to a war that changed him forever.
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Posted by mandisolomon on 16th October 2008
Paul Fussell is a veteran of the second World War. For those of us who have learned about the second world war in school, we mostly learned that it was a war with heroes. These men were loved by those who they returned to and these men loved fighting in this great war. They loved having there war buddies and talking about there time in the war. Paul is different from the other men i myself was taught about in school. He was from the start, not sure of the war and where it would take him. When Paul was first drafted into the war he believed he would be an officer no problem because he had been in the ROTC in college. But when he was finally set to start preparing for war he ended up no better then a common soldier. There was lack of privacy and extreme labor that made him soar everyday he was in training. The story i fought the most eye opening about the privacy issue was the gonorrhea story. i could not believe how public that was! i mean how demeaning to have to do that in front of everyone you knew. Also in Paul’s training he found himself becoming a killing machine. He had no thought of death but that he could kill. Does the army change a man for good in this way? Ok know to interject with something, i loved the story of the jewish officer. i maybe jewish and therefore loved it because of that but there have been no words on jewish soldiers before this and i just loved that there was some mention of them. Ok back to Paul. When he does become an officer, his thoughts on the war seem to change as well. He seems to think the war will go well for him. But when he does go over seas he finds that the war is not as it would seem. When he wakes up in the field with all the dead bodies that is something that hits hard to how hard this war really is. Paul maybe a skeptic of a war but haven’t heard of many skeptics from the second world war so who else feels this way…
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Posted by mandisolomon on 2nd October 2008
Before i go into the reading i just want to take a moment to talk about the pictures in the middle of the book. They are pretty powerful. They really show what life was like for these soldiers. And it wasn’t always so pretty which is something important to show.
Anyway, The beginning of the reading talks about how the soldiers came home. These soldiers were overseas which was different from the wars in early American history. This was therefore would cause problems for the returning soldiers. Would there be enough jobs when they finally came home? To many soldiers being thrown back into a population can cause mass problems. Another problem was that the army was trying to make sure that the American job market was not overrun so they kept men on the service passed the war when all the men wanted to do is go home. These men still left in Europe had to clean up the mess that was left as well as wait in camps that were infested with disease, mostly the flu. In these camps men were died in mass numbers, these men who had survived a war were now dying instead of go home to the families that were waiting for them at home. It saddens me to think that the American Army was causing so many death after the war because it couldn’t get all of there men home at once.
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