Band Of Brothers Is The Late Historian, Term Paper

Length: 4 pages Subject: Drama - World Type: Term Paper Paper: #30901077 Related Topics: Normandy, Concentration Camps, Age Of Innocence, Virtual Reality
Excerpt from Term Paper :

Band of Brothers is the late historian, Stephen E. Ambrose's real story of Easy Company, 506th Regiment, 101st Paratroopers, who participated in "Operation Overlord," the D-Day Invasion of Normandy, in German occupied France, that marked the beginning of the end of the Nazi reign of terror across Europe during World War II.

Ambrose, a lifelong historian, wrote several books about World War II, and like the others, Band of Brothers leaves the reader with the unmistakable appreciation for the writer's personal admiration for the plight of the individual soldiers who, since the war, have often been referred to as "The Greatest Generation." Unlike traditional war stories that emphasize the particulars and the outcome of important battles while all but ignoring the day-to-day reality of the men in the trenches, Ambrose manages to accomplish both.

Band of Brothers follows the men of the 506th from their initial innocence and their collective goal of earning their jump wings to brutal combat that seemed to age them all several decades in a matter of weeks. Their greatest obstacle in training was the obnoxious Lieutenant Sobel, who might have (unwittingly) helped mold them into a cohesive fighting unit, fiercely loyal to a leader they respected, as much for his differences from Sobel, as for his other admirable qualities.

Richard "Dick" Winters emerges as a principled man of character, very early on, from his insistence on a formal hearing by Court Marshal, to resolve undeserved punishment from a vindictive Sobel (p.52). Winter's humility and strength contrast directly with Sobel's arrogance and ineptitude. Shortly after being dropped miles off course in France, Winter's own heroism and capability under fire begins when he

leads an under-equipped and undermanned maneuver of a dozen men to silence a German artillery battery, well camouflaged inland, and manned by three or four times as many battle-hardened troops reigning shells onto Allied forces landing on the Normandy beachhead. Later, when interviewed, Winters would remark...

...

His description of one man's finding only tattered bits of clothing and fragments of the bodies of his friends dramatically reminds us of the randomness of death in warfare; only minutes earlier, the two dead men had urged their comrade to join them for his own safety in the foxhole that suffered a direct hit, killing…

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Likewise, Ambrose contrasts the seemingly reluctant admiration for the work ethic of the German people (p.258), with the knowledge that they were also responsible, through their fanatical support of the Nazi party, for the piles of countless innocent civilian victims of the concentration camps that Easy Company liberated on their march into Germany (p.257).

Band of Brothers left me with a much greater understanding for the personal realities of mechanized warfare. At the same time, the book detailed the historic battles of the most important single war in modern history in a way that I appreciated much more than reading about some of the same events the way they are presented in History textbooks. In the mind of this reader, that is perhaps Stephen Ambrose's greatest contribution to the study and appreciation of History. I would recommend the book very highly, especially to readers who may find traditional academic texts about World War II boring, as well as to those who sometimes wonder what the significance is of learning about wars that took place more than half a century ago.

Band of Brothers left this reader with a much greater understanding for the relevance of World War II and how different the world we know today would be but for the heroism of the millions of men who answered the call to duty to prevent the Nazis from conquering the entire Western World and from unleashing the horrors of fascism and racial extermination in the United States, which would likely have, eventually, fallen under German (and Japanese) occupation had the Allies failed to liberate Europe in 1945. I plan to read several of Stephen Ambrose's other books about World War II, and someday, I also hope to visit the author's D-Day Museum in New Orleans.


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