From Concept To Character: Writing Your First Book

Things To Consider When Reading World War II Novels

World War II, which is often abbreviated as WWII and commonly known as the Second World War, lasted six years and a day. Starting on the first day of September in 1939 until the Allied victory on September 2, 1945, World War II left permanent changes on society in many countries around the world. WWII fiction novels typically focus on some aspects or time periods within the war. Here are some things to consider when reading WWII fiction novels.

Consideration #1: How Does It Present the Holocaust? If it Doesn't, Why Is It Omitted?

Perhaps one thing that nobody can forget about World War II is the tragic holocaust in which six million European Jews were tortured and ultimately murdered. This mass murder was committed by the German regime under Hitler's rule as his "final solution".

Most World War II novels make some mention of this unless the characters were completely unaware. Of course, if the novel does not last through the end of the war when these atrocities came to light, the characters would not know unless they had insights into what was going on before the general public did.

Consideration #2: Are the Characters Patriotic and Loyal to their Country?

You may be able to tell a lot about characters in a World War II novel by where their loyalty lies. An officer serving under Hitler who knows about the holocaust would certainly have a huge moral flaw if they just go along with what is going on out of a misguided sense of patriotism.

On the other hand, the author may show something honorable about a character if they are patriotic to a country that is among the Allied Powers. Some characters may be patriotic in an honorable way, while others may be loyal to a country even in the face of evil which can reveal some frightening things about a character.

Consideration #3: What Do the Characters Think and Believe About War?

Any novel that is set in a time of war presents an easy way for an author to reveal something significant about a character: what they think when times are extreme. If the characters make choices about going to war or what they think of a war that may be taking people they love from them, the author can organically reveal what the character thinks and believes about war in general.

Depending on the character's expressed thoughts and feelings, you may be able to discern whether that character is thinking logically throughout the story. If you know that a character lost a parent in a previous war and is a widow from the current one, you may be able to understand their hatred for war.

Finally, keep in mind that World War II novels may vary from very serious to lighthearted fare that just hone in on one or two major aspects of the war. You may not be able to predict the ending of a novel set in World War II although you know what happens in real life.