Hindemith's initial enthusiasm for the war abated rapidly when the first reports about the horrors of the fighting arrived and friends and relatives, especially his father, remained in the field. He told friends in September 1915: «They haven't yet taken me up into the ranks of the defenders of our country, and I'm not angry about it. I was examined twice but was rejected due to general physical weakness and a heart defects !! There will probably be more examinations coming up and I have no hope of coming back again.»
He was conscripted in August 1917 and trained in shooting. How strange he must have felt as a soldier can be gathered from a letter to a befriended Frankfurt family written in May 1918: «I can hardly imagine most musicians as soldiers. Bach as a staff-sergeant (handing over a pair of too-large boots to a Musko), that would still be okay, but: Beethoven practicing rifle drill, Mozart throwing hand-grenades or standing guard in front of a barracks; Schubert as an air force lieutenant and Mendelssohn as an NCO at a vehicle fleet convoy. That is inconceivable.»
Hindemith was first stationed in Frankfurt and released for his orchestral duties. Shortly before his decampment to the Front in France he wrote to the theatre director: «Since my father was killed in action in France 2 years ago, I of course have had the obligation of taking care of my mother. If I am sent to the field now, my mother will be utterly without income. For this reason I appeal to you, dear Director, with the request that I be allowed (just as the married orchestral members in the armed forces) to receive 70% of the salary for my mother each month.» His request was approved.