The Deserter Historical Context

Norman Beim
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The Execution of Private Slovik

The play is based upon the actual execution of Private Eddie D. Slovik, the only American soldier to be executed for desertion during World War II. The execution of Private Slovik took place on January 31, 1945, during the final months of the war. As the soldier notes in Beim's play, "They ain't never shot anybody before. Not even in the last war. They ain't never shot anybody." The soldier, who is based on the real-life Slovik, is shocked that he is going to be killed for trying to avoid fighting. While this isolated event was shocking, soldiers in general had faced many other traumatic experiences during the war.

Infantrymen during World War II

World War II was a harrowing experience for soldiers on both sides of the conflict, but infantrymen often experienced the most emotional and physical anguish. Left out in the open on...

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This section contains 632 words
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Buy The Deserter Study Guide
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The Deserter from Drama for Students. ©2005-2006 Thomson Gale, a part of the Thomson Corporation. All rights reserved.