By Leon C. Standifer
In his hugely acclaimed Not in Vain, Leon C. Standifer mentioned his studies as a small-town Mississippi boy who at age nineteen chanced on himself scuffling with as a strive against infantryman in international warfare II France and Germany. Binding up the Wounds incorporates the tale past V-E Day to explain what the writer observed, heard, felt, and discovered as a member of the yank career military within the place of birth of its defeated enemy.
Standifer, who served within the 94th Infantry department in western Germany, the Sudetenland, and Bavaria within the first yr of career, chronicles that exact and chaotic time from the point of view of a regular GI. Germany was once an epic panorama of human want, and towns lay in ruins. however the struggle was once over, mild and laughter have been once more attainable, and, as Standifer remembers, "we had a ball in the course of that first year." one of the issues he skilled or witnessed have been black-market operations huge and small (American cigarettes served as a common forex, and some oz of mess-hall grease or used espresso grounds have been priceless commodities); the spectacle of gung-ho officials trying to flip strive against troops into spit-and-polish paraders; the exploitive video games performed among American infantrymen and German girls; a gut-wrenching stopover at to a displaced folks camp; and the problems concerned about guarding captured infantrymen who have been now not the enemy.
Perhaps so much revealing, and sometimes excellent, are the attitudes Standifer found between traditional Germans towards the struggle, the Nazis, the "Hitler instances" in general-not merely throughout the profession, but in addition a long time later while he revisited Germany and spoke with aged survivors of these occasions. For there are fairly voices telling the story of Binding Up the Wounds. One is that of the combat-hardened yet in a different way naive twenty-year-old who lived the reports. the opposite is that of the writer as retired university professor in retrospect over part a century and difficult out what these reports intended for himself, for the United States, and for humankind.
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Extra info for Binding Up the Wounds: An American Soldier in Occupied Germany 1945-1946
A young girl walked past us. Bill spoke to her but she made no reply. " She stopped immediately, reached in her purse, and handed the identity card to him. Her name was Helga; she was sixteen. She was from another town, where she had been bombed out. I was embarrassed. " Bill laughed. "No, but we can't ever let them ignore us. It's fun to tease the girls. Just don't take them walking at night. " I didn't know what to say. Bill was as close to me as a brother. During the long, boring days on line we had talked for hours about hometown, friends, future plans, and fear in combat.
After six years of misery, people were no longer being killed or maimed; aircraft flying low over the devastated cities were loaded with food instead of bombs. The most powerful American army ever assembled was idle and bored, waiting for redeployment to become part of that final slaughter, the invasion of Japan. Millions of hungry, wounded, and sick German POWs were waiting for treatment and discharge. Unknown numbers of DPs (displaced persons, including concentration-camp survivors, former slave laborers, deserters from the German or Russian armies, criminals, concentration-camp guards, and other assorted debris of the war) were waiting for whatever fate held in store.
He found that the massacre had been unavoidable. About fifteen Germans had been in the room. They would not surrender and continued firing at our troops. One of our men slipped to the edge of the door and threw in three fragmentation grenades. The result was a bloody mess. Warren had no qualms about killing the enemy, but it must be done right; he was West Point to the core. As Ray rambled on with his complaints about Warren, I remembered that I hadn't officially reported for duty. When I stood up, I realized that the good ole German beer had a kick to itand I had sipped a full liter mug of the stuff.