Hemingway, the Red Cross, and the Great War
Publication Year: 2013
The book opens by sharing tales of the volunteer ambulance units from the Western Front, which also led to the involvement of the American Red Cross in Italy. This was where Hemingway came to know many of the experienced drivers from France. In the spring of 1918 the young writer enlisted, serving first with an ambulance unit in Schio and then as a canteen worker at the Piave River until he was wounded. After the war when the volunteer outfits disbanded, Hemingway returned home where he took up his plan to earn a living as a writer.
Hemingway’s Red Cross experience was a major influence on his development as a writer and a thinker. Through the power of words, Hemingway’s journalism, short stories, and novels exposed the falsehoods of World War I propaganda. His involvement with the Red Cross led to some of the finest American literature on the Great War.
Published by: The Kent State University Press
Maps and Images
Title Page, Copyright Page
This project began after a conversation with Tim and Ginny Bliss, who told me about the connection between Robert W. Bates and Ernest Hemingway. Tim and Ginny shared with me stories of the famous writer that had become part of local lore, stories known mostly to Bates’s descendants and some farmers in central California where Bates eventually...
In chapter 4 of Green Hills of Africa, Ernest Hemingway describes his free associations reading Leo Tolstoy’s Sevastopol during a respite from hunting, noting in particular that he thought...
Chapter 1: Esprit de Corps
The story of Ernest Hemingway’s involvement in the Great War begins with the formation of volunteer ambulance services at the outbreak of hostilities in August of 1914. During the summer before Hemingway’s sophomore year in high school, Americans in charge of the hospital in the Paris suburb of Neuilly instituted a plan to provide aid for...
Chapter 2: Journey to War
Ernest Hemingway describes the naïve disposition of a novice heading off to combat in his introduction to Men at War: “When you go to war as a boy you have a great illusion of immortality. Other people get killed; not you. It can happen to other people; but not to you. Then when you are badly wounded the first time you lose that illusion and you know it...
Chapter 3: Active Duty
After Ernest Hemingway left New York in the spring of 1918, he told his parents that his period of active duty would begin “from the day we start driving” and “probably carry us pretty well into the winter.”1 Instead, his term as an ambulance driver lasted for only fifteen days. When...
Chapter 4: Hero if the Piave
On July 8, 1918, in the frontlines beyond Fossalta di Piave, Ernest Hemingway was wounded by fragments from a mortar shell explosion. Shortly thereafter, he received additional injuries from machine-gun fire and apparently carried to safety a soldier hurt from the same blast. Once at a...
Chapter 5: Dopo la Guerra
As the war came to a close, the men who formed the ambulance units moved on to other endeavors. After Richard Norton had a falling-out with U.S. officials during militarization on the Western front, he took an assignment with the French government to investigate rumors of German espionage. In December of 1917, he returned to his home in London and died of meningitis the following August. Robert W. Bates was...
Ernest Hemingway’s enlistment with the American Red Cross was one of the most formative experiences of his life. In conjunction with existing scholarship, the official reports, letters, and other papers of key figures from that period tell the full story of the ambulance drivers and...
Page Count: 276
Publication Year: 2013
OCLC Number: 867770506
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