Paul Fussell, Wartime: Understanding and Behaviours in the Second World War ; Michael D. Doubler, Closing with the Enemy, How GIs Fought the War in. Winner of both the National Book Award for Arts and Letters and the National Book Critics Circle Award for Criticism, Paul Fussell’s The Great. standing and Behaviour in the Second World War’, Wartime is the sequel to Fussell’s The. Great War and Modern Memory, published in , which set out with.

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With his book Fussell attempts to give readers some description of “the psychological and emotional culture of Americans and Britons” in World War II. This waftime he speaks of has a great deal to do with the horrors that accompanied combat.

He asserts that war was often portrayed at home much differently then it actually was. War not a pretty picture. Instead it was one filled with screams from young men and blood. These horrific descriptions of the war he provides come from first hand fusseol.

When he was twenty-years old Fussell was a lieutenant in World War II and led a rifle platoon in the rd Infantry Division in Europe until he was severely wounded in Fussell looks at the war’s impact on those who fought.

He is concerned with much more than the actual fighting. Fussell spends a great deal of time looking at the other things that had a major impact on the lives of the soldiers. His chapters cover a wide array of topics. The first chapter “From Light to Heavy Duty” deals with the idea that in the beginning of the war the American people believed it would be a “fast moving, mechanized, easy” one to win.


The way the war was to be fought changed as well.

Wartime: Understanding and Behavior in the Second World War – Paul Fussell – Google Books

Fussell states that “abetted by engineering and applied science the war by its end bore little resemblance to the war at its beginning. It had begun with concern about the bombing of civilians and it ended with not just Hamsburg and Dresden but Hiroshima and Nagasaki. In order to hit anywhere near the intended target planes were forced to fly well within anti-aircraft range, which resulted in the deaths of many pilots and civilians.

With “Someone had Blundered” Fussell looks at the blunders, errors, and accidents that plagued the war.

He attempts to look at the role fear on the part of individual soldiers played in these errors. Many rumors were started as morale boosters, such as waetime surrounding Ford giving away cars to soldiers.

Other rumors were planted by the enemy as “skirmishes in the psychological warfare battle. He talks about the “faceless dead” – replacements that got killed often before anyone could even know their names.

According to Fussell, Chickenshit is “behavior that makes military life worse than it need be: Drinking was in many ways a way for a soldier to overcome his fear of combat. Fussell asserts that many men found it much easier to kill or face their own deaths if they had liquor in them.


He also places the blame outside of combat situations. He believes that ” contempt and damage to his selfhood, from absurdity and boredom and chickenshit,” caused American soldiers to drink. A major focus of Fussell’s is to drive home the point that “real war” stories will never get into the books.

Wartime: Understanding and Behavior in the Second World War

This is because the soldiers’ experiences were “systematically sanitized, Norman Rockwellized, and Disneyfied. For Fussell this meant that the “soldiers’ suffering was wasted and meaningless. It was not the “best war ever” as people want it remembered as. It was just a war. While it might have been a necessary one it was by no means a good thing at all – it was just a war. Understanding and Behavior in the Second World War. From The Mason Historiographiki. Fusaell from ” http: Views Page Discussion View source History.

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