Soldiers of World War II: A Study Guide

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Soldiers of World War II

This study guide is part of a series dealing with the book Citizen Soldiers by Stephen Ambrose. It covers Part Three of the book and can be used for teaching ideas about life for soldiers, airmen, and medical personnel in the European Theater of Operations (ETO) during World War II. It is also a helpful study tool for students.

Part Three: Life in the ETO

Some Thing(s) to Think About While Reading

Chapter 10: Night on the Line

  1. Throughout the book, Ambrose frequently compares and contrasts fighting conditions in World War II to those of the Civil War. Changes in technology between the American Civil War and WW II were dramatic; how did this impact the life of the average soldier in combat during World War II? (See pp. 251-252)
  2. What were some differences between trenches used in World War I and World War II? How did these differences affect morale? (See pg. 254)
  3. Read the quote by Lt. Otts regarding foxholes on page 257. What does this reveal about some differences between the American and German armies? (See pg. 257)
  4. Why were American GIs threatened with court-martial if they developed trench foot? (See pg. 259)
  5. Pay close attention to the stories of the wounded on pages 260 - 262. What do they tell you about the various reactions to life on the line? (See pp. 260-262)
  6. Historically, America is an immigrant nation. how did this fact help Pvt. Gus Schroeder it the middle of the ETO during World War II? (See pg. 268)

Chapter 11: Replacements and Reinforcements

  1. How did the heavy losses from Normandy impact the potential of the “individual” replacement method? (See pp. 273-274)
  2. How did the need for more replacements affect the American Specialized Training Program (ASTP)? (See pp. 274-275)
  3. What famous author was once part of the ASTP program? (See pg. 275)
  4. Replacement or reinforcement referred to the same individuals. Why was the name changed? In your opinion, did this change have any benefit? (See pp. 275-277)
  5. Did age have anything to do with being considered a combat veteran? (See pp. 278-285)
  6. What did the replacement system mean for front-line units? (The whole chapter, especially pages 273 and 289.)

Chapter 12: The Air War

  1. In what way was life easier for airmen as opposed to infantry on the front-line during WW II? (See pg. 290)
  2. How was life more difficult for the airmen? (See pg. 290)
  3. What was the main goal of the air war? (See pg. 291)
  4. Why were there so many sergeants in the Air Force? (See pg. 293)
  5. General Quesada of the Air Force flew along on a P-47 mission using radar he had developed. How did his “visit” affect future missions? How did this differ from the experience of front-line soldiers with their generals? ((See pp. 305-306)
  6. Generally, was the youth of airmen a negative or positive factor? (The whole chapter.)

Chapter 13: :Medics, Nurses, and Doctors

  1. What was a common trait among medics? (See pg. 312)
  2. How did the attitude of GIs towards medics change from training to combat? (See pp. 311-314)
  3. Was the Red Cross symbol worn by medics always respected? (See pp. 315-318)
  4. Was the experience of medics in the ETO the same as that of medics in the Pacific? (See pg. 315)
  5. Why was there a shortage of nurses in the Army Nurses Corps during World War II? (See pg. 322)
  6. Why was there a quota on the number of African-American nurses who could serve? (See pg. 322)

Answer Key

Key Facts and Terms

No-Man’s-Land - unoccupied space between two armies along a front during war.

Rear echelon - any troops, posts, or headquarters behind the front.

American Specialized Training Program (ASTP) - program intended to fund the education of the brightest draftees.

Replacement (reinforcement) - soldier brought to the front to replace a casualty.

Mae West - nickname for an inflatable life vest carried by airmen.

Conscientious objector - someone who, for religious, ethical or moral reasons, either refuses to take part in combat or war at all.

This post is part of the series: Study Guides: Citizen Soldiers by Stephen E Ambrose

Study guides written for use with Citizen Soldiers, and linked lesson plans. These study guides concentrate on the contrasts and similarities between the military and homefront cultures of the Allies and Axis nations. Lesson plans use quotes to achieve the last. Includes key terms and facts.

  1. World War II Study Guide: Citizen Soldiers
  2. Study Guide for Citizen Soldiers (Chapters 3-5)
  3. Study Guide for Citizen Soldiers: Chapters 6-9.
  4. Soldiers of World War II: A Study Guide for Citizen Soldiers: Chapters 10-13
  5. World War II Study Guide for Citizen Soldiers: Chapters 14 - 19