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Doing Battle

Posted by mandisolomon on October 16th, 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…

One Response to “Doing Battle”

  1. Alex Says:

    I agree that Fussell had a “romanticized” idea of war. I partly blame the ROTC because they made being a soldier glorious by giving them nice uniforms, parades, etc. When he got to Camp Roberts, he had a wake-up call, realizing that being a soldier was not about wearing fancy uniforms and all that entails. But even boot camp could not prepare the soldiers for the experiences of war. Thats not how war really is, as Fussell came to find out.I cannot imagine being a soldier at that time, having no privacy and even experiencing the humiliation the soldiers faced at times. I think it is sad that Fussell referred to himself as a killing machine, that he knew how to shoot a gun and learned to kill. It’s almost like Fussell was brainwashed and created into someone even he did not recognize.