The History Collective welcomes our new contributor, Patrick Miller. His interest in military history provides a fascinating window into the lives of the soldiers who have fought our wars.
I recently stumbled upon a BBC article that published excerpts of the final letters that deceased British solders wrote from Afghanistan. The article carries on a trend to publish, with permission, the last letters that many soldiers write to their loved ones. These articles from modern wars in Afghanistan have me reminiscing on my personal collection WW2 articles and post cards. From 1870 to WW2 I’ve collected the thoughts and reminiscences of fighting men, and it makes me think critically on the lives and stories behind today’s wars. Letters were the primary form of correspondence between soldiers and their families during war, as time away from the frontlines was rare. The letters below provide a brief glimpse into the minds of soldiers living and fighting far from home. Reading these messages helps remind us that although they were considered our enemies during the early to mid-twentieth century, they knew love and beauty and they had families, jobs, and fears, ju
st like anyone else. The letters, translated to be as faithful to the originals as possible, illustrate some of the everyday thoughts and experiences of German soldiers.
A graduate of Wilfrid Laurier University (B.A.) and the University of Western Ontario (Master of Library and Information Science), Patrick is the Collections Analysis and Research Liaison Librarian at the University of Waterloo and Archival Consultant to Historical Branding Solutions.In his spare time, Patrick practices bookbinding and collects antiquarian books and German militaria.