Salting the earth

“Because battles are fought by men who wear uniforms and carry weapons, it is easy to forget that, in the Second World War, the vast majority of those who served in every army did not think of themselves as soldiers. They were civilians, who strove even upon the battlefield to secrete a part of themselves from their military superiors and soldierly functions, from all the horrors around them. Even as they saluted, fired weapons or sheltered from bombardment, in their innermost selves most cherished the conviction that these horrors did not represent reality, that real life remained the small town or great city from which they had come; their loved ones; the civilian jobs they prayed desperately to survive to return to.” – Max Hastings, Armageddon

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