Why do soldiers refuse to think about the horrors of the war when they are not at the front?

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mkoren | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Senior Educator

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When soldiers are fighting in a war, they may not think of the horrors of war when they are not at the front. War is a very difficult thing to face. The things the soldiers experience can be life-altering. When soldiers are not at the front, it may be a release for them to think about other things rather than to think about the horrors they are experiencing. It almost becomes a defense mechanism for survival. To constantly think about the horrors of war may make it next to impossible for a soldier to function. By attempting to get these images out of their mind, they think about other topics or issues. A good example of this is the World War II generation of soldiers. Many of them refused to talk about their war experiences after the war ended. Some never talked about these experiences while other reluctantly spoke about their experiences many decades later. When these soldiers did speak, their emotions were as raw as if the events happened very recently. Thus, as a form of self-preservation, some soldiers don’t think about or talk about the horrible things they saw and experienced while fighting.

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