What is Hemingway's "philosophy of war" in "Another Country"?

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mwestwood eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Certainly, the opening line of "Another Country" is significant in explaining the point of view on war: 

In the fall the war was always there, but we did not go to it any more.

The war has become a source of disillusionment for the characters in this narrative. World War I left many people feeling disillusioned because it caused the death of thousands of people while seeming to have little purpose.  "In Another country" grew out of Hemingway's observations while he was hospitalized in Milan when he was an ambulance driver in Italy.

With an objective tone throughout his story, Hemingway presents characters who have become desensitized by the horrors of war and somewhat nihilistic in their outlooks on life.  For example, an italian major, who was once a great fencer, is hospitalized because his hand was injured.  Now, it is withered and essentially useless. When the doctor shows him a photo of a hand that has been rehabilitated, he asks the major, 

"You have confidence?"

"No," said the major.

One of the three young men who join the narrator has had his face injured and wears a black scarf over it. Another has "lived a long time with death and was a little detached." The narrator adds,

We were all a little detached, and there was nothing that held us together except that we met every afternoon at the hospital.....we felt held together by there being something that had happend that they, the people who disliked us, did not understand.

Clearly something of the innocence and idealism of the soldiers has been lost by the horrors of a war that is seemingly meaningless.

Read the study guide:
In Another Country

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