Topics for Further Study

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Research other American soldiers who have deserted their military units in any of the major American wars. Compare the soldiers’ reasons for desertion and their punishment to those of the soldier in The Deserter.

Research the current methods used in the United States to boost morale and prevent desertions. Imagine that you are an American soldier in the army during any of the major wars in which the United States has participated. Write a journal entry that describes your typical day, using your research to support your ideas.

Research any accounts of German soldiers who deserted their military units in World War II. Discuss the reasons behind these desertions and any punishment that these soldiers received. If you can find no accounts of German desertions, discuss possible reasons why.

Research the number of casualties from the major battles of World War II. Plot the casualty numbers for each of these battles on a large map of the world and write a short description of each battle.

In the play, the soldier writes to his wife, telling her she should try to get access to his pension money, if she can. Research the average pension of an army private during World War II, and compare this to the average pension of an army private today. Use an economical table to convert the dollar amount of the 1945 pension to a current dollar value. Discuss the reasons behind any difference in the values of the pensions.

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