Indiana University
Journalism Ernie Pyle

Wartime Columns


For many journalists, Ernest Taylor Pyle, an Indiana native better known as "Ernie," continues to be an icon of excellence decades after his death at the hands of a Japanese machine-gunner in World War II. For the last 10 years of his life, he wrote feature columns six times a week, primarily for Scripps-Howard newspapers. As his fame increased during the war, other newspapers, including weekly ones, published Pyle’s work.

In 1944 Ernie Pyle won a Pulitzer Prize for his stories about the ordinary soldiers fighting in World War II.

On these pages is a selection of his wartime columns in both written and spoken versions. We welcome your comments about the site and stories you might have to tell about meeting Pyle or reading Pyle’s columns.

(These columns are reprinted with the permission of the Scripps Howard Foundation.)

A Dreadful Masterpiece
Dec. 30, 1940

Nearly a year before the U.S. entered the war, Pyle describes the awe he felt as he watched the German air attacks on London.

Killing is All That Matters
Dec. 1, 1942

In this column, Pyle explains how servicemen going into battle will be changed by the experience.

Fighter Pilot
Feb. 10, 1943

In this column, Pyle writes knowingly about a pilot he spent several years with before the war as an aviation correspondent.

Tank Battle at Sidi-Bou-Zid
March 1, 1943

This is the first of several columns that Pyle wrote about a tank battle – this one telling the story of a U.S. defeat.

Digging and Grousing
March 23, 1943

This is the kind of column that endeared Pyle to the troops – a column about soldiers digging ditches and grousing about folks back home.

Brave Men, Brave Men!
April 22, 1943

This column shows how the war has turned soldiers, especially those in the First Infantry Division, into hard-nosed fighters and killers.

The God-Damned Infantry
May 2, 1943

From one of Ernie Pyle’s most famous columns, these words celebrate foot soldiers.

German Supermen Up Close
May 8, 1943

Winning a battle and capturing enemy soldiers boosts morale, according to the final North African column in this series.

An Easy Landing
July 17, 1943

Pyle chronicles the Allied invasion of Sicily, which was a lot easier than the Normandy landing would be a year later.

As Proficient as a Circus
Aug. 11, 1943

This is one of several columns that Pyle wrote about the medical corps.