The events which follow took place between the months of June and December, 1956. The battalion to which I belonged was principally composed of young draftees, led by regular army officers and non-commissioned officers who had all had a year in North Africa. My company had at the time suffered the most, three dead and some twenty wounded. Cruel ambushes had prepared the ground for that psychology of hate which I saw develop in the course of those six months.
When my group arrived, there existed a wide gap between us and those young soldiers whom fear, prejudice, a desire for vengeance and the legend of the “tough soldier,” all encouraged by Captain B., had changed into specialists at war. We had not yet realized into what a melting pot of ideas we had been thrown. Those twenty-year old French boys had settled themselves into war: work details, missions, searches, “gestapism,” building fortifications, getting drunk, and medals for the most deserving. W...
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