Date of Award

Spring 5-2019

Degree Type


Degree Name


Degree Program




Major Professor

Dr. Günter Bischof

Second Advisor

Dr. Allan Millett

Third Advisor

Dr. Marc Landry

Fourth Advisor

Dr. Robert Citino


The American GI’s experience in hospital during World War II is absent from official military histories, most scholarly works, and even many oral history collections. Utilizing the papers of WWII infantryman, Leon Standifer, this thesis offers the reader a rare glimpse of WWII military hospital life and chronicles one soldier’s journey from willing obedience to subversive action.

This thesis compares the stated goals and procedures of the US Army medical department to the experience of Leon Standifer, an infantryman who served in northern France during the last year of the war and the American occupation of Bavaria, whose service was marked by several periods of protracted hospitalization. Over the course of five hospitalizations, during which Standifer was treated for bullet wounds, trench foot, and pneumonia, he consistently wrote letters to his family describing his experience.

A careful reading of Standifer’s wartime correspondence in conjunction with his published and unpublished writings, secondary source material, and military records, suggest that while isolated in the hospital, after killing and experiencing the death of his comrades, Standifer lost his desire to fight. He began to make calculated decisions based on his knowledge of the military medical system in an attempt to ensure his survival and control the remainder of his military service.


The University of New Orleans and its agents retain the non-exclusive license to archive and make accessible this dissertation or thesis in whole or in part in all forms of media, now or hereafter known. The author retains all other ownership rights to the copyright of the thesis or dissertation.