In Stephen Ambrose’s book “Citizen Soldier” he speaks of the American soldiers who fought in Europe from D-Day, June 7, 1944 to May 7, 1945, the day when Germany surrendered.
The title “Citizen Soldiers” shows you a background about how the war was fought through a the perspective of a citizen. Most of the citizens were men just out of high school. Without very little to no training they were given a gun and told to kill or be killed. They were military men now, not citizens. The stories told are from all different nationalities of soldiers.They could be Americans, Germans or even women, but the attribute they all have in common is fear.
They are fighting for their people, and if they die, they die. They didn’t live their days like they used to, they lived the military lifestyle, just trying to survive everyday. They were in it together and fought for each other. Instead of believing in their country, they believed in the man standing next to them. (60) Ambrose cared a lot about the people he writes about, particularly those in the front lines of the battle.The changes the war created for the men and women of the United states were shown throughout the story by Ambrose.
He shows that there were many citizens who took their situation they were thrown into, overcame it and came home as heroes. Without books such as this, experiences like this would have likely not even been heard about and learned from. They would never be known and would fade away from our memory. By reading this book you truly get a close feeling of what it was like to be a soldier during this time.
Ambrose brought some things up in the book that most people wouldn’t know about the war such as how American commanding officers were out of touch with their troops. He writes that other country’s generals would order American staff officers and their commanding officers to go check on their soldiers. Ambrose says that Eisenhower was way too conservative and believes the enormous human and materiel cost of victory could have been reduced by doing what General Patton’s had done and have more innovative and bolder movements against your foe.He talks about sending lightly trained 18-year-olds as replacements on the front lines, where they suffered many more casualties than the GI veterans who were used to fighting in foxholes. It most notably was evident in the battle of Hurtgen Forest that the officers did little to speed up the end of the war could have and should have been completely avoided. (165) In Closing, I personally gained a lot more respect than what I already had for the soldiers who fought for our country.It was a very insightful book that makes you proud of your country and what it represents.
Personally, I enjoyed this book thoroughly and made some pretty difficult material understandable and made a personal connection between me and those who lived it in a way. The way that all the soldiers fought for each other hit home with me, because the friendships and camaraderie found in war are probably the strongest friendships imaginable. It really makes you think about the friendships that you have and how you would fare being put in a situation like that.