Soldiers are not born but made and people like Joseph Plumb Martin join the army not because of their irresistible desire to participate in a war but because they feel their responsibilities as citizens of the USA. At the same time, some naïve ideas may also make an individual to join the army. In all probability, Joseph Plumb Martin had certain ideals before the war which became the ideological basis of his decision to join the army.
However, all his ideals vanished as they do when soldiers face horrors of the war and hardships they have to pass through during the war. One of the main challenges soldiers face during the war is the necessity to kill other people.
At the same time, the life of soldiers is under a permanent threat and they can be killed any moment that leads to a great psychological pressure, which many soldiers cannot afford and fall in depression. Furthermore, there is a problem of awakening from the myth and ideals which soldiers had before the beginning of military actions. As a rule, they perceive the war as a routine slaughter where there is no room for ideals such as freedom, democracy, etc.
Nevertheless, the majority of soldiers gets accustomed to hardships to the extent that they did not even pay attention to the danger of being killed, while their feeling die away and, in the course of the war, they do not suffer when they see death and sufferings of other people as much as they at the beginning.
In such a context, the purpose of Martin’s writing the book becomes clear. Obviously, he wanted to debunk the myth about the war as a great event in the history. Instead, it is a routine slaughter.