October 6, 2016
Actor Jimmy Stewart was haunted by his memories from his time in the Air Force and suffered from PTSD when he returned from World War II
Stewart wrestled with the guilt of killing civilians in bomb raids over France and Germany and felt responsible for the death of his comrades
Stewart never talked about his struggles and bottled up his emotions
But they came out when acting parts he chose when he returned to Hollywood
He tapped into his emotional distress during filming of It's a Wonderful Life, where his character George Bailey unravels in front of his family
Stewart's anguish is laid bare for the first time in Mission: Jimmy Stewart and the fight for Europe by author Robert Matzen
Jimmy Stewart suffered such extreme PTSD after being a fighter pilot in World War II that he acted out his mental distress during 'It's a Wonderful Life'.
Actor Jimmy Stewart, pictured in 1945 after World War II combatended, was haunted by his memories from his time in the Air Force
Stewart played George Bailey in the classic movie and channeled his anger and guilt into the scenes where he rages at his family.
Stewart was haunted by 'a thousand black memories' from his time as an Air Force commanding officer that he took with him back to Hollywood after the war.
Pilots who flew with him said that became 'Flak Happy' during World War II, a term to describe what is now known as Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, or PTSD.
Stewart wrestled with the guilt of killing civilians in bomb raids over France and Germany including one instance where they destroyed the wrong city by mistake.
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Matzen's book, Mission: Jimmy Stewart and the Fight for Europe, hits bookstores on October 24 and is available for order on Amazon