The military-civilian gap covered in a recent Atlantic cover story is a reminder of journalist Ernie Pyle’s work on the battle lines of WWII.
Seventy years ago this month, Ernie Pyle, America’s most widely read World War II correspondent, arrived in the Far East to begin covering the final stages of the war against Japan. Since 1942 Pyle had been reporting from the front lines in North Africa and Europe, and with a column in over 200 daily newspapers and a Pulitzer Prize, he had become the GI’s voice.
Pyle had risked his life so often in getting close to the action that in 1944, before he left France for a furlough back in the states, General Omar Bradley urged him to sit out the rest of the war. Pyle had, Bradley believed, just about used up his chances for surviving the war. But Pyle found it frustrating to sit home while combat continued. “I have learned from experience that it’s almost impossible—sometimes infuriating in a helpless sort of way—to talk to most citizens feelingly about the war,” he wrote.
The disconnect between the home front and war front weighed so heavily on Pyle, whose columns were always about the life of the ordinary soldier, that in the end he found himself unable to take Bradley’s advice. In one of his first columns from the Pacific, he wrote, “America at home is neither unwilling nor incapable of getting fully into the war. We need only to be told more what to do, and to have scarcities and grimness applied clear across the board”... (see more at: http://www.thedailybeast.com/)