Ernest Hemingway and His Unconventional Role in World War II

Author: Anders Greenspan, Texas A&M University-Kingsville, USA
Published: June 26, 2019

Citation: Greenspan, A. (2019). Ernest Hemingway and His Unconventional Role in World War II. IAFOR Journal of Arts & Humanities, 6(1).


While Ernest Hemingway is often viewed as one of the United States’ greatest writers, the heterogeneous features of his life experience can surprise readers who are simply familiar with his literary production. Although he officially served as a correspondent in World War II, Hemingway wrote only five articles during his time in Europe in 1944 and 1945. Much of his time away from writing was spent participating in irregular warfare. While Hemingway officially denied the charges made against him by other correspondents, Hemingway’s private correspondence reveals that he did, in fact, actively engage in the war effort. Indeed, as a reward for his heroics, Hemingway was decorated with the Bronze Star medal, the highest military award available to a civilian. The official citation credited Hemingway with courage while bringing the reality of war to his readers. His battlefield heroics could not be mentioned in the citation because it was against the Geneva Convention for correspondents to engage in military actions. There is no doubt, however, that such actions did take place. While Hemingway’s actions were illegal, they undoubtedly helped the US forces advance in France. Sundry skills, from his knowledge of French to his ability to read maps and understand terrain, proved highly useful to US military commanders in the area.


Hemingway, World War II, irregular warfare

Sept. 21, 2019: This paper was replaced to correct a typographical error in the title, page 63.