U.S. Soldiers In The Western Front Writing Letters Eugene Curtin


Eugene Curtin was one of many American physicians serving in World War 1 He records in a letter to his sister on 9 December 1917 horrors of war. He said that a majority of those who were coming back home were wounded: some of them wrecked forever, others would live a couple days or weeks. Though, everybody were glad to leave that awful hell. In a further letter to his mother dated 30 October 1917, Curtin writes “The mud is terrible and makes it difficult to get about, however, it real good here compared to what it is in some places.”. On 6 December 1917 he again writes to his mother, “As the wounded had to be carried on stretchers back from the lines over terrible roads and in total darkness it was a great job to get them all in. The real details of the battle and the sight one sees are things that I for one want to forget as soon as possible. I'll not write about them. The only redeeming feature is the bravery,courage and endurance of the men and that is grand to see.”

Curtin in a letter dated 7 January 1918 writes, “ There are a lot of of American medical officers in the English army, about 1,000 scattered all around” Curtin himself is working in the British army but the writings in his letters describe well the conditions applying to the allied soldiers. Given that he is writing mainly to his mother and sisters and does not want to write in a way that would disturb, them he paints a very good picture of the circumstances of the allied soldiers.

By the spring Curtin is able to write in a more positive way, but still writes,” On the other side of the camp is a cemetery with its long rows of closely placed wooden crosses. Cemeteries over here do not take up as much room as over in your peaceful country but they are just as crowded, in fact a little more so. In this comparatively small plot there are about 3,000 graves and that is really a small one.” Letter to Mother 12 March 1918. In a small way he is picturing the vast number of dead as a result of the conflict. By the summer he is more hopeful on the outcome of the war. “The news these days is mighty fine and I think the old Hun is starting to weaken.” Thus, there has been a significant improvement in morale in the year he has been in Europe. In November 14 1918 he writes again to his mother “Well, it's at last over and a darn good thing too, I'll say. To have the war finish in such a complete victory and the Hun crushed so there will be no trouble from him again, i.e. Is surely a great triumph for the Allies and the cause of justice.” He is in this letter writing of feelings that many allied soldiers can share with the war over and Germany defeated in what they believed to be a just war.