What Soldiers Do Analysis

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The acclaimed book, What Soldiers Do: Sex and the American GI in World War II France by Mary Louise Roberts, encompasses the dynamic and rich relationship between the American military and the people of France during the ending years of World War II. Unlike other historical analysis books, this book particularly concentrates on the sexual relationship between the two parties in terms of human sexual desire, prudish attitudes from the American military and even rape. However, what makes Roberts’ novel so prolific is her method of addressing this variety of sexual topics through past interviews and primary resources such as letters from American soldiers and French civilians. Furthermore, Roberts uses these primary resources to develop the intricate…show more content…
Roberts makes a clear assertion that when the Americans first entered the villages and rural areas of France, they were disgusted with the archaic lifestyle of the 1940’s French citizen. American soldiers regarded the nation of France as “primitive” and completely old-fashioned, “They are way behind the times— the women still wash clothes in the little streams and pound the garments with stones; the cows and pigs and chickens still live in the same building as the family” (50-51). To view the French as a sexual attraction would seem almost blasphemous to the Americans. The French were considered shameless, and vapid to the utmost extent, especially with their sexuality. The Americans believed that, “Heterosexual pleasure and sexual satisfaction were defined as important for personal happiness as well as a successful marriage” (54) But with this strong opposition came this sexual charged obsession with the sexual liberation that the French contained, “For the Americans sexual desire was still something to be restrained, lest it overwhelm rationality and moral self-discipline”…show more content…
As previously mentioned, due to racial biases by both the American military and the French, African-Americans were alleged to have raped and sexually assaulted women during the American occupation of French. Both the French and White American soldiers regarded African-American soldiers as savages that had barbarism deep rooted from their African roots (240). What exists in this hate is the contrasting relationship that the White soldiers shared with the French about the African-American soldiers. Whilst, the White soldiers regarded the French as shameful and disgraceful, the French exerting the same exact belief on the African-American soldiers in terms that they were hypersexual and completely uncivilized. Though the White soldiers had viable and proven evidence that the French were committing acts that weren’t socially accepted in American culture; this same evidence did not even exist and was based on mere rumors of African-American soldiers committing these vicious
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