Ernest Hemingway Reports on World War II
In late August of 1944 Hemingway and his band of irregular soldiers entered Paris.
Hemingway was always fond of saying he was the first to enter Paris en route to its liberation, but the story is a stretch. He did liberate his favorite bar and hotel though. He set up camp in The Ritz Hotel and spent the next week or so drinking, carousing and celebrating his return to the city that meant so much to him as a young man.
Next, Hemingway traveled to the north of France to join his friend General Buck Lanham as the allied forces (the 22nd Infantry Regiment in particular) pushed toward Germany. Hemingway spent a month with Lanham, long enough to watch American forces cross over into Germany. The fighting was some of the bloodiest of the war and was obliquely recorded by Hemingway in Across the River and into the Trees.
Hemingway returned to Cuba on the outbreak of World War II, and refitted the Pilar to hunt down German submarines. From June to December 1944 he was in Europe, at the D-Day landing after which he attached himself to "the 22nd Regiment commanded by Col. Charles 'Buck' Lanaham as it drove toward Paris", and he led a small band of village militia in Rambouillet outside of Paris. Of Hemingway's exploits, War II historian Paul Fussell remarks: "Hemingway got into considerable trouble playing infantry captain to a group of Resistance people that he gathered because a correspondent is not supposed to lead troops, even if he does it well". On August 25 he was present at the liberation of Paris, although the assertion that he was first in the city, or that he liberated the Ritz is considered part of the Hemingway legend. While in Paris he attended a reunion hosted by Sylvia Beach and made up his long-running feud with Gertrude Stein. Hemingway was present at heavy fighting in the Hürtgenwald at the end 1944.