American GIs : Liberators' View of the Survivors

Source

First Encounters


When the liberators first saw the camp survivors, they were more than emaciated and ill; many of them were, by modern civilized standards, incredibly filthy. Many were covered in dirt, in excrement, smelled foul, and covered their bodies with little more than soiled rags. Their condition was not accidental, not due to a scarcity of clothing or cleaning supplies. Their condition was deliberate, purposeful, imposed upon them by their Nazi captors.

The Nazis systematically dehumanized their prisoners, in part out of complete disregard for those they deemed sub-human, in part to make it easier for guards to abuse and mistreat the prisoners. There is a natural and fairly universal revulsion felt for those who are unclean; prisoners who looked and smelled abominable could more easily be categorized as less than human and easily treated as less than human.[1] This revulsion might affect anyone.

Possibly, some American GIs were revolted by the look and smell of the survivors, and may have viewed them as less than human. Robert Abzug, in his book Inside the Vicious Heart: Americans and the Liberation of Nazi Concentration Camps, emphasizes the negative reactions of American soldiers confronted with camp survivors. Abzug describes a process, "psychic closing-off," which allowed ordinary soldiers to cope with the extraordinary horror of the concentration camps.


[1]Terrence Des Pres has written extensively on this subject. See, in particular, the chapter on "Excremental Assault," in his book The Survivor: Anatomy of Life in the Death Camps, 55-80.

Source

A Contrary and Negative Assessment


He believes that many liberators distanced themselves from the survivors and were unable to view them or treat them as if they were human,[1] and that, as a coping strategy, soldiers repressed their emotions because they needed the camps to be ordinary, within the realm of their normal world.[2] To admit the survivors were fully human would be to recognize that the same thing could happen to any human being. So soldiers who struggled with this realization might view the survivors as creatures, sub-human, animalistic, as a way of distancing themselves from an emotionally traumatizing situation.[3]

Abzug writes, "The gulf of experience and expectation that lay between liberator and survivor, the different world that made battle-weary Americans innocents by comparison, disoriented and disturbed even those most ready to embrace the victims of Nazi terror. An almost unbearable mixture of empathy, disgust, guilt, anger, and alienation pervaded each entry into a camp, compounding the palpable horror that greeted the liberator in each barracks and on every parade ground."[4]

Abzug emphasizes the reactions of disgust and alienation toward the survivors, almost to the exclusion of empathy and compassionate concern for the victims.[5] He also describes soldiers who avoided those in the worst physical condition, preferring instead to work with healthier survivors.[6]


[1]Abzug, 40.

[2]Abzug, 56.

[3]Abzug, 44.

[4]Abzug, 44.

[5]Chapter 5 addresses the anger and rage liberators felt for the Nazi perpetrators and the ways in which they expressed their feelings.

[6]Abzug, 58.

Source

Chronology Matters When Interpreting History


There is some merit to Dr. Abzug's conclusion; however, two different groups of American soldiers worked with the liberated concentration camp inmates. The first group, whom I refer to as liberators, first encountered the survivors in the final weeks of the war; they saw the full horror of the camps and were acutely aware of the treatment meted out to the camp inmates by the Nazis. The second group consists of the occupation army, soldiers trained to handle civil affairs and military government in defeated Germany. Most of these individuals never saw the camps in their original condition and never separated the living survivors from among the countless dead.

The work of cleaning up the camps and disposing of the bodies was largely accomplished by the time they arrived. Occupation troops were, by mid-summer, still dealing with very frustrated and impatient Jewish DPs (former concentration camp inmates) long after the DPs of all other nationalities had been repatriated.[1]

I do not doubt that these men were disgusted by the survivors' behaviors, and perhaps revolted by their still poor physical appearance, but we should not confuse their reactions, which were substantially less sympathetic, even callous, with the reactions of the initial liberators and witnesses.[2] The bulk of the testimony cited in Inside the Vicious Heart comes from occupation troops, newspapers, and magazine reports; little testimony comes from the liberators, the men who first entered the camps.

Liberators, as a group, did not think of the survivors as animals, creatures, or sub-humans. They were certainly sickened and revolted by the conditions in which the camp inmates had been forced to live, but this did not lead to any wholesale rejection of the survivors themselves. Only the smallest handful of liberators described the victims as sub-human or animal-like.[3]


[1]Bridgman, 72.

[2]Gitta Sereny mentions this phenomenon. "The fighting troops were very soon replaced by occupation personnel, men who had not experienced the discoveries made by the armies that had actually entered German-held territories at the end of the war. These men on the whole had a different attitude toward the Germans...on the whole US [occupation] personnel soon felt considerably more sympathy for the Germans than for their victims. For the latter they often maintained a condescension bordering on insolence, and a distrust in their individual and collective integrity...." Into that Darkness: From Mercy Killing to Mass Murder, (London: Andre' Deutsch Limited, 1974), 268.

[3]Birnbrey, 1, Berry, 1, Emory; Meyer, 1, Wilson, 1, Marks, 2, Q-Ast.

Source

Appalled, Saddened, and Horrified


The overwhelming majority of the liberators did not view the camp inmates in those terms. American soldiers saw the dreadfully sick, abused, and dirty survivors as fully human, and they treated them with the care and respect due fellow human beings.[1] Liberating soldiers went to great lengths to treat the survivors with patience and kindness and their most often mentioned feelings were sorrow, compassion, pity, and sympathy.[2]

Captain Reuben Soldinger, present at Woebbelin concentration camp, recalled, "I was heartbroken to see the dead and near dead in the camp...."[3] PFC Sam Platamone described his feelings. "I felt an infinite sorrow for the victims....I never thought of the camp prisoners as being anything but what they were--human beings."[4] A witness at Buchenwald, Captain Melvin Rappaport wrote, "our fellow soldiers treated them in a kind way. Everyone was upset, disturbed by the unbelievable sights--all beyond description. We felt sad--looking at those unfortunate victims.[5]

Liberators were frequently able to draw a connection between the horrendous treatment suffered by the camp inmates and their continuing, less than desirable behaviors.[6] Rather than being surprised and offended by survivor behaviors, as were many occupation troops, they understood them, understood their source.


[1]Rappaport, Letter to Theresa Ast, October 1993; Barker, 3, Dunagan, 8, Margolis, 3, Wehmoff, 21, Bates, 3, Emory; McFarland, 27, Long, 1, Blake, 4, Moore, 1, Gibson, 1, Goodin, 2, Day, 23, Soldinger, 2, Coulston 1, Jecklin, 1, Q-Ast.

[2]Adzick, 3, Soldinger, 2, Jones, 1, Blake, 4-5, McKeithen, 19, Jecklin, 1, Q-Ast; Wehmoff, 21, Barker, 3, Lovelady, 2, Reilly, 6, Spruill, 10, Russ, 3, Braun, 6, Samuelson, 2, De Haan, 2, Weston, 11, Allison, 8, Emory; Corporal Homer Posch (82nd Airborne), Staff Sergeant Norbert J. Badten (89th ID), PFC Lucas C. Martin (103rd ID), Corporal William F. Borda (82nd Airborne), LTC Adolph F. Warnecke (82nd Airborne), Sergeant Robert L. Leslie (103rd ID), World War II Surveys, MHI; Rappaport, Letter to Theresa Ast, December 1993.

[3]Soldinger, 13, Q-Ast.

[4]Platamone, 2, Q-Ast.

[5]Rappaport, Letter to Theresa Ast, December 1993 (emphasis original).

[6]Atkins, 3-4, Q-Ast; Paul Bruce Marks, Manuscript, The 130th Evacuation Hospital, 1944-1945, World War II Collection, MHI; Margolis, 7-8, Emory; PFC Harold Leon Snow (99th ID), World War II Surveys, MHI.

[7]Pletcher, 71st Came, 8.

Source

Compassion, Care, and Concern


One of the liberators of Gunskirchen Lager, Captain J.D. Pletcher wrote, "I want to make it clear that human beings subjected to the treatment these people were given by the Germans results in a return to the primitive....the deliberate prolonged starvation, the indiscriminate murder on little or no provocation, the unbelievable living conditions gradually brought about a change in even the strongest [inmate]."[7]

Liberators were more tolerant of the appearance and behavior of survivors; they were able to view them in the context of the worst excesses of the concentration camp system, something soldiers arriving on the scene later would have difficulty doing.

Dr. Abzug has identified a reaction pattern of some men who worked with the survivors in the first few months of the Allied occupation of Germany many of whom never saw the initial and most severe conditions in which inmates lived. However, the responses and attitudes of most liberators, who were certainly sickened by what they saw in the camps, were overwhelmingly positive; the great majority of them treated the survivors with the kindness and compassion which all human beings deserve.[1]


[1]Testimony drawn from numerous World War II Surveys, letters, diaries, journals, memoirs, oral history tapes and transcripts. A generous majority of the 475 eyewitnesses who described their, and their fellow soldiers' reactions to the survivors, confirm this finding.

Source

More by this Author


Your Comments are Appreciated. Thank you. 45 comments

UnnamedHarald profile image

UnnamedHarald 2 years ago from Cedar Rapids, Iowa

Wow, this is something I hadn't given any thought. So interesting. It got me thinking about why people resist "revisionist" history-- revisionist in the sense of revealing hard truths and facts and not beloved myths. It's a coping method where their world is safe and secure. Very enlightening, phdast7.


Kathleen Cochran profile image

Kathleen Cochran 2 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia

Because I'm familiar with your work as a full professor of history at the university level, I'm not as surprised by this hub as other readers might be. I am just glad to see this information shared in such interesting detail. You make this horrific chapter of history real, as it needs to be to prevent it ever happening again. Your interviews with the soldiers who actually experienced this history are treasures I'm so glad you gathered for the rest of us before those first-person accounts are lost to the ages.

Please add an Amazon link to your book on this subject so hubbers can read more.


phdast7 profile image

phdast7 2 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia Author

Good Morning Harald. Thank you for reading and commenting. It was an interesting discovery to me as I dug through the layers of secondary sources (written much later after the fact, of course) down to the primary sources of the actual liberating soldiers -- and there was this big disconnect. I had colleagues who glibly said, "Oh the GIs were just trying to paint themselves in a positive light."

I found that answer both cynical and nonsensical. People "gild the lily," so to speak, when they write their biographies which they know will be read by their public. We know, or should know, that much less if any gilding is done in personal letters, reports, testimony of various kinds -- where the author does not anticipate that others will read his work. Many, if not most of my primary sources had lain undisturbed in dusty boxes for decades in attics and basements, along with other military memorabilia. Perhaps one of the more trustworthy kinds of testimony after all. Sorry, for going on. This is an important distinction to me. Merry Christmas. :) Theresa


Mark Monroe profile image

Mark Monroe 2 years ago from Dover De

Nicely done and well researched hub. History is always an interesting subject that we can learn so much from.


billybuc profile image

billybuc 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

Fascinating article, Theresa, but I would expect nothing else. As a former history teacher I was enthralled by this...and of course my father fought in five campaigns in Europe and echoed many of the things you have mentioned here. Well done my friend.

Blessings and happiness to you and your

bill


jhamann profile image

jhamann 2 years ago from Reno NV

Stopping by for a great read and to say hi. What an interesting topic and well researched and written. I hope all is well. Jamie


sheilamyers 2 years ago

Very interesting hub. I've done very little study of this period in history so much of this information is new to me. It's always interesting to learn about the mindset of the various groups of people who witness the victims or situations. Even though I'm not a psychologists, psychology and the way people react intrigues me. With that said, I want to ask if you have information about why those two groups (the liberators and the occupiers) had such different reactions to the victims?


RTalloni profile image

RTalloni 2 years ago from the short journey

Thank you for putting this together. It's important on more than one level, but I'm particularly thinking of how it can help the average person today. Thought-provoking and I'll be coming back to it. As well, I'll be sharing it with friends who continue to study history. Pinning to my Leadership/Character/Heroes… board.


phdast7 profile image

phdast7 2 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia Author

Kathleen - Thank you for your generous and encouraging comments. I so agree with you, the great and valuable treasures in my work are the individual and personal interviews and testimonies by the soldiers. Thank you for reminding me to provide the Amazon link for my book "Confronting the Holocaust." I was so engrossed in what I was doing, I forgot all about it...Chritmas Blessings to you and yours. :) Theresa


phdast7 profile image

phdast7 2 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia Author

Thank you kindly Mark. So nice to receive positive words from someone who writes so well and thinks with such clarity. I have been away from HP for several months, but hope to become involved again on a regular basis. Hope you are having a great December. Christmas Blessings. Theresa


phdast7 profile image

phdast7 2 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia Author

Hi Sheila-

Thanks for reading and commenting. I am sure there were many factors involved, but I think the most important one was that "Liberators" (first couple of days to first few weeks) saw the camp inmates at their sickest, filthiest, dirtiest, many just skin and bones, covered in sores and open wounds, in ragged clothing, if not naked, covered with lice. People who have been starved and abused and beaten for months, for years do not have nice manners; they do not act like you and me. But that was understandable, everyone could clearly see the horrible conditions thy had been living in and there was plenty of evidence of torture and abuse.

Occupiers who arrived later saw camps where a clean up process had already taken place, all the dead bodies had been buried. The buildings were cleaned up and disinfected. The truly starved and diseased survivors had already died. So they ended up working with a healthier group of survivors who had been well-fed and received medicine for several weeks - they were clean, well-shaven, in decent clothes, but they were still emotionally disturbed and obsessed with food, the occupiers called them greedy. They didn't understand that starving people will always seem greedy and frantic for food. They cannot help it.

Occupiers never saw the worst of it and could not understand why these people (survivors) had problems. But Liberators had seen everything at its very, very horrifying worst, so they responded (mostly) with sympathy for the survivors and hatred and disgust for the Nazis who had been so cruel. Hope that makes sense. Theresa


Alastar Packer profile image

Alastar Packer 2 years ago from North Carolina

A picture is worth a thousand words it has been said, but your research and the words within them are expertly done and can only add to the often horrific pictures and camera film we see of these camps liberation. As a professor of history specializing in what you do there is no one better that I know of in combining the two. The psychological disconnect with the liberating troops and their almost non-human looking victims is laid out here superbly as is many other points. As we now know there were more initial executions of prison officials captured then had heretofore been the acknowledged case. Well done Professor.


Frank Atanacio profile image

Frank Atanacio 2 years ago from Shelton

I agree with Alastar a picture is worth a thousand words.. I missed reading these..well difficult events in man's history.. you deliver them with a format easy to follow.. for all hubbers.. bless you for that.. Frank


phdast7 profile image

phdast7 2 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia Author

Many thanks Bill. It seemed time to return to the topic of my earliest hubs. Funny when I started writing two years ago at a friend's urgig, I though snippets of history research were all I would ever do. Funny how things develop and change.

Five campaigns in Europs-- your father must have seen just about every aspect of war. My father was involved in Viet Nam, but not as infantry. He was in his mid thirties and was part of the team that secured and then dropped loads of supplies, weapons, etc., to the troops. I was a teenager then and wore an MIA bracelet for many years.

Have a wonderful Christmas Season. Theresa


sheilamyers 2 years ago

phdatz: Thank you for the explanation. It does make a lot of sense. I should've thought about many of the things you pointed out. The same sort of behaviors of survivors can often be seen (perhaps not to as great an extent) in people who have lived through severe natural disasters.


phdast7 profile image

phdast7 2 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia Author

You are more than welcome Sheila. And you are right, similar behaviors and problems do appear in any population subjected to unusual and prolonged terror, suffering, or deprivation. Severe natural disasters are a perfect example. Theresa


phdast7 profile image

phdast7 2 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia Author

So glad you stopped by Jaimie - you are always encouraging. :)

It was very interesting to me when I first noticed this big disconnect in how people evaluated and responded to survivors. With enough research and reading a pattern started to emerge. I had a professor at Emory tell me not to contradict Dr. Abzug because he had written a book. I of course had read the book and it is well written and he ahs some good points, but used maybe one third of the sources that I used. I responded that I doubted Dr. Abzug would ever hear of me and my dissertation, but in any case, he was wrong and the primary sources and personal GI testimony proved it.

In my twenties I would probably have backed down, but at 36, I had raised three children, earned two degrees and was working on my third and nothing in me was going to back down, because he happened to be wrong. Oh the eenrgy and determination of youth! Well, of early middle age. :)


Faith Reaper profile image

Faith Reaper 2 years ago from southern USA

Awesome and interesting hub! Firsthand and personal testimony is essential to getting at the truth! Thank you for sharing your research and knowledge here.

Up and more and sharing

Blessings,

Faith Reaper


phdast7 profile image

phdast7 2 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia Author

Hello RT. It seems important to me too. These men were our grandfathers and it is important to know what they experienced in terms of the suffering of the Holocaust and th awful impact it must have had upon them. Thank you so much for your encouragement and for sharing. Merry Christmas. Theresa


aethelthryth profile image

aethelthryth 2 years ago from American Southwest

Glad to see you back, very interesting Hub. I am still trying to finish up writing about the Iwo Jima veteran I know and have been reading a lot of military history books. Your distinction (between Occupiers and Liberators) reminds me of the way combat veterans seem to feel non-combat veterans never quite understand the war, because non-combat veterans didn't see "the real war" - the front when the fighting was going on.


RTalloni profile image

RTalloni 2 years ago from the short journey

I can't imagine how much more important it is to you after studying the events in depth. Knowing what they experienced should be a continuing warning to us, but it will take people like you writing authoritatively to share their experiences so keep writing!


phdast7 profile image

phdast7 2 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia Author

I will keep writing for as long as I can. Blessings! Theresa


phdast7 profile image

phdast7 2 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia Author

Alastar - Thank you for your kind words. I try to do thorough research and not write anything that I do not have ample evidence for. I found the psychological disconnect both disturbing and fascinating and I hoped it would be interesting to others as well. There were indeed many initial executions, all bu those first liberating soldiers who saw tings at their very worst. Quite telling actually. I hope you and your family are having a lovely Christmas Season. Blessings. Theresa


Randy Godwin profile image

Randy Godwin 2 years ago from Southern Georgia

Just noticed this hub, Theresa. I think your article sums up the different reactions some GI's had to these terrible camps. My father helped liberate some of these compounds and was sympathetic to the remaining prisoners as many in his company were. I don't envy them their duty, even though it was an honorable one. Great hub!


tobusiness profile image

tobusiness 2 years ago from Bedfordshire, U.K

Hitler and his cohorts managed to make cruelty into an art. They stripped away everything, they demoralized and degraded these people, dehumanised them, then held them up as less than human, " Look they are animals." It becomes easier to be cruel. This was done with the slave trade and they did it in the holocaust. The soldiers are also human some coped by empathising, others found it easier to blame the victim, strange; but the human mind is a complicated thing. So sad, yet so very interesting. this is thought-provoking as always.


phdast7 profile image

phdast7 2 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia Author

Hello Frank. I do try to uncover and deliver difficult and complicated events in ways that are meaningful. Your encouragement and positive feedback is always a help. Christmas Blessings to you and yours! Theresa


phdast7 profile image

phdast7 2 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia Author

Hi Faith - Like you, I don't think we can underestimate the importance of first person testimony. You are very welcome and I appreciate having a place to share my work that is outside of the university. I am beginning in y old age to understand why some people are drawn to Public History. Thanks for reading, voting, and sharing. Have a marvelous Christmas and New Year. :) Theresa


teaches12345 profile image

teaches12345 2 years ago

Your post is so detailed and draws the reader in as they read the facts and view the photos. The younger generation needs to know this part of history that many have forgotten to share. Wonderfully written and so stimulating!


phdast7 profile image

phdast7 2 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia Author

Hello aethelthryth - It is good to be back. This past summer and fall were the busiest I have had in years, but things have slowed down a little, finally. I have missed reading, writing, and commenting. The distinction I was talking about is very much like the one expressed by combat veterans that is a good comparison. I don't think they mean to be arrogant or mean spirited, but there is a difference after all. I will be looking forward to your essay on the Iwo Jima veterans. Hope you have a Blessed Christmas and new Year. Theresa


phdast7 profile image

phdast7 2 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia Author

Hi Randy - Your father and fellow soldiers are a great illustration of the concern and compassion expressed by so many GIs. And as much as I have read about this and studied the topic, I can't really understand what it was like for our soldiers, but I believe we should try. Their willingness to fight deserves to be remembered and honored. Thanks for reading and for the encouraging comment. Have a great Christmas. Theresa


phdast7 profile image

phdast7 2 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia Author

Jo - That is an amazing metaphor and realization and so true. "Hitler, the Nazis, made cruelty into an art." It is so tragic, but through out history, so many times the "powerful" realize that if they do a proper job of dehumanization and degradation, it does indeed become much easier to be cruel, to mistreat, to torture. It is hard to fathom the world we live in sometimes. Thank you for the encouraging comments. Hope you are having wonderful December. Blessings! Theresa


Writer Fox profile image

Writer Fox 2 years ago from the wadi near the little river

The memories these people had lasted a lifetime. It was such a profound experience and many of the liberators actually went into shock from what they saw. Very well-researched article! Voted up.


phdast7 profile image

phdast7 2 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia Author

Thank you Dianna/ I appreciate the comments and encouragement. Its hard to write in a way that is both compelling to others and deal with such a dreadful and horrific time in history. Knowing that I can succeed at both, makes all the effort worth it. And you are so right, the younger generation does need to know. Thanks again. Have a Blessed Christmas. Theresa


aviannovice profile image

aviannovice 2 years ago from Stillwater, OK

No person should be forced to live this way. War is a horror, as are those that take advantage of our prisoners. I heard that some of our people were none too kind to some of our prisoners of war...


phdast7 profile image

phdast7 2 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia Author

Thank you Writer Fox. Whenever I am doing straight history, I try to be scrupulously careful about sources and attributions, etc. I think you are right, many of these men would later include in their testimony that it was the hardest tings they ever went through. Personally, I think many of them suffered from PTSD when they came home, but of course there was no language or understanding for that in the 50's and 60's. I hope your December is going well. Blessings. Theresa


phdast7 profile image

phdast7 2 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia Author

Hello avian - You are so right and war is a horror, to be avoided if at all possible...

Sadly, you are correct, not all, but a substantial minority of our troops in WW II were so incensed by what they saw that they retaliated against captured enemy soldiers. Thanks for reading and commenting. Merry Christmas.


cygnetbrown profile image

cygnetbrown 2 years ago from Alton, Missouri

One of my uncles was one of those liberators that you talk about. I remember the haunted look in his eyes the two times that he mentioned having been there.


phdast7 profile image

phdast7 2 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia Author

Hi cygnet - I was privileged to read their journals, letters, and to meet some of them when I was in graduate school. They were indeed haunted by their experiences. Most of them seldom spoke about their WW II experiences just like your uncle. Thanks for reading and commenting.


ahorseback profile image

ahorseback 24 months ago

Hi Theresa , As always , I view you and your hubs as "true " history writing , You my dear lady are a real historian , Most historical writing touches upon the truth in some ways and the personal wishes and interpretation of the author in other ways , the actual Truth is quite often far different that the interpreted truth . You are a record keeper of reality ,LOL,

I cannot imagine the real sense of extremely powerful awakening into these truths that you've written of . men ,like my Father , from small rural farming communities thrust into the reality of hell on earth itself , those men who suffer "normal " bias and prejudiced as some men can have . My father was an infantryman , a simple man , an equipment operator , a farmer with an eighth grade education , thrust into a other worldly horror of war on the front lines , and proud of it . Yet even fifty years later would sob like a child when recalling his experiences . Imagine the reaction of this simple man when he walked into a deathly ,quiet , hell of human degradation, The mental issues alone to deal with , are enough to bring most humans to their knees . I do know that my fathers simple education also allowed him to have certain bias' for the rest of his life , he distrusted people of German decent and yet held the often , 'usual ' bias towards the Jewish . I so often think of the plight of his world with no media , no way of him experiencing any of life except by actual day to day experience ........back to your hub ! Awesome history lesson for us , your willing and humble students !..............Merry Christmas ! }


Marcy Goodfleisch profile image

Marcy Goodfleisch 23 months ago from Planet Earth

This is so factual and is moving - thanks for being such a great writer here! We should never forget our history - and by 'we,' I mean we as a global community.


phdast7 profile image

phdast7 23 months ago from Atlanta, Georgia Author

Ed - Thank you for all the wonderful comments and feedback. You certainly are an "encourager." And I certainly try to be an objective and fair record keeper, when it comes to History. We owe each other that much, to search for the truth of situations and events in history and then present them as best we can.

Your father did live in a different world. No understanding or after-care for men who were clearly suffering from some form of what we would call PTSD today. And the lack of information. I often forget that not only did they not have the internet and instantaneous in formation, they didn't have scads of magazines, radio programs, and TV news shows. You are exactly right when you say that all he/they had was their day to day experience. How difficult it must ahve been, which makes their efforts all the more heroic. Take care. Stay warm if you can. Theresa


phdast7 profile image

phdast7 23 months ago from Atlanta, Georgia Author

Thank you Marcy for such a lovely and encouraging comment. It a subject which is both dear to my heart and the center of my academic and historical studies. Thank you for taking the time to read it and your point that "we" means a Global Community is well taken. Blessings. Theresa


Kathleen Cochran profile image

Kathleen Cochran 22 months ago from Atlanta, Georgia

Good to see you back on HP friend!


tillsontitan profile image

tillsontitan 22 months ago from New York

This is certainly not a perspective many people would care to think about. The horror that faced the first soldiers must surely have taken its toll. You have written about this factually and yet there is a tinge more, your passion for this subject shows through! Very well done.

Voted up, useful, awesome, and interesting.


phdast7 profile image

phdast7 22 months ago from Atlanta, Georgia Author

Thank you Mary. I would never have thought about it like this either if it weren't for all the interviews and letters left by the actual veterans. I like your description "factually, yet with passion" That is what I am hoping for when I write. Stay safe and warm. Blessings. Theresa

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