In the fall of 1942 America was fighting two very different enemies.
The battles in North Africa were between Westernized armies who fought by the “rules.” Ernie Pyle assured his millions of American readers that there the Germans were fighting “a pretty clean war.” The German Panzer leader Hans von Luck called it the “always fair war,” and when, years later, the German radio-television network ORTF produced a film on the campaign, its title was The War Without Hate.
Gentlemen’s agreements suspended hostilities for the day at five o’clock each afternoon, and each side held its fire for medics to care for the wounded.
Combat was fierce, casualties were heavy, and passion ran high when fighting the Germans. But rules were followed and a sense of restraint existed in Europe that was absent in the Pacific.
– James Bradley (with Ron Powers)
Flags of Our Fathers
(New York: Bantam Books, 2000), pg. 65