Ernest Hemingway at War: The Question of Courage


  • Anders Greenspan Texas A&M University-Kingsville



Hemingway, wartime, courage, journalism, fascism


Ernest Hemingway had real-life adventures that he used as a basis for his writings. His desire for adventure led him to volunteer for the American Red Cross where he was badly wounded serving on the Italian-Austrian front in World War I. His political views, namely his strong opposition to fascism, led him to aid the cause of the Spanish Republicans in the Spanish Civil War and the Allies in World War II. He faced danger in the Spanish Civil War, as well as combat and possible capture by the enemy in World War II. Hemingway voluntarily exposed himself to danger in these conflicts, although his poor vision had kept him from officially serving in the military.  Hemingway’s wartime experiences greatly influenced him as a person and a writer.  He emphasized the importance of the personal experiences of writers, and both his fiction and non-fiction writing were inevitably shaped by these events. Ultimately, Hemingway demonstrated courage by putting himself into dangerous situations when he was not required to do so, choosing to participate in wars that he could have easily avoided.  A study of his actions provides a clearer indication of Hemingway’s personal values and his willingness to sacrifice his safety to promote his political beliefs.


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