hitlers soldiers the german army in the third reich
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Since the end of World War II, Germans have struggled with the legacy of the Wehrmacht -- the unified armed forces mobilized by Adolf Hitler in 1935 to ensure the domination of the Third Reich in perpetuity. Historians have vigorously debated whether the Wehrmacht's atrocities represented a break with the past or a continuation of Germany's military traditions. Now available for the first time in English, this meticulously researched yet accessible overview by eminent historian Rolf-Dieter Müller provides the most comprehensive analysis of the organization to date, illuminating its role in a complex, horrific era. Müller examines the Wehrmacht's leadership principles, organization, equipment, and training, as well as the front-line experiences of soldiers, airmen, Waffen SS, foreign legionnaires, and volunteers. He skillfully demonstrates how state-directed propaganda and terror influenced the extent to which the militarized Volksgemeinschaft (national community) was transformed under the pressure of total mobilization. Finally, he evaluates the army's conduct of the war, from blitzkrieg to the final surrender and charges of war crimes. Brief acts of resistance, such as an officers' "rebellion of conscience" in July 1944, embody the repressed, principled humanity of Germany's soldiers, but ultimately, Müller concludes, the Wehrmacht became the "steel guarantor" of the criminal Nazi regime.
What was it like to grow up German during Hitler’s Third Reich? In this extraordinary book, Frederic C. Tubach returns to the country of his roots to interview average Germans who, like him, came of age between 1933 and 1945. Tubach sets their recollections and his own memories into a broad historical overview of Nazism—a regime that shaped minds through persuasion (meetings, Nazi Party rallies, the 1936 Olympics, the new mass media of radio and film) and coercion (violence and political suppression). The voices of this long-overlooked population—ordinary people who were neither victims nor perpetrators—reveal the rich complexity of their attitudes and emotions. The book also presents selections from approximately 80,000 unpublished letters (now archived in Berlin) written during the war by civilians and German soldiers. Tubach powerfully provides new insights into Germany’s most tragic years, offering a nuanced response to the abiding question of how a nation made the quantum leap from anti-Semitism to systematic genocide.
The author explores the often overlooked historical issue of Jews or "partial Jews" serving in the Germany military--as many as 150,000 men who served as enlisted men, officers, and even generals. (Military History)
As the Cold War followed on the heels of the Second World War, as the Nuremburg Trials faded in the shadow of the Iron Curtain, both the Germans and te West were quick to accpt the idea that Hitler's army had been no SS, no Gestapo, that it was a professional force little touched by Nazi politics. But in this compelling account Omer Bartov reveals a very different history, as he probes the experience of the average soldier to show just how thoroughly Nazi ideology permeated the army. In Hitler's Army, Bartov focuses on the titanic struggle between Germany and the Soviet Union--where the vast majority of German troops fought--to show how the savagery of war reshaped the army in Hitler's image. Both brutalized and brutalizing, these soldiers needed to see their bitter sacrifices as noble patriotism and to justify their own atrocities by seeing their victims as subhuman. In the unprecedented ferocity and catastrophic losses of the Eastrn front, he writes, soldiers embraced the idea that the war was a defense of civilization against Jewish/Bolshevik barbarism, a war of racial survival to be waged at all costs. Bartov descibes the incredible scale and destruction of the invasion of Russia in horrific detail. Even in the first months--often depicted as a time of easy victories--undermanned and ill-equipped Geman units were stretched to the breaking point by vast distances and bitter Soviet resistance. Facing scarce supplies and enormous casualties, the average soldier sank to ta a primitive level of existence, re-experiencing the trench warfare of World War I under the most extreme weather conditions imaginable; the fighting itself was savage, and massacrs of prisoners were common. Troops looted food and supplies from civilians with wild abandon; they mercilessly wiped out villages suspected of aiding partisans. Incredible losses led to recruits being thrown together in units that once had been filled with men from the same communities, making Nazi ideology even more important as a binding force. And they were further brutalized by a military justice system that executed almost 15,000 German soldiers during the war. Bartov goes on to explore letters, diaries, military reports, and other sources, showing how widespread Hitler's views became among common fighting men--men who grew up, he reminds us, under the Nazi regime. In the end, they truly became Hitler's army. In six years of warfare, the vast majority of German men passed through the Wehrmacht and almost every family had a relative who fought in the East. Bartov's powerful new account of how deeply Nazi ideology penetrated the army sheds new light on how deeply it penetrated the nation. Hitler's Army makes an important correction not merely to the historical record but to how we see the world today.
"Based in part on documents seldom used by previous historians, this history of the Third Reich shows how the dramatic, improbable rise of the Nazis happened because of tragic miscalculations and blunders, then documents what life was like for ordinary Germans as the Nazis precipitated the horrors of World War II and the Holocaust"--
The German Army’s Strafbattalions were infantry units made up largely of convicts, felons, malingerers, thugs and the criminally insanePreviously unpublished story of the unitsThe accounts of the most famous Strafbattalion units in combatA story of little-known Nazi units: Hitler’s ‘Dirty Dozens’ When war broke out in 1939, Hitler created Strafbattalion (Penal Battalion) units to deal with incarcerated members of the Wehrmacht as well as ‘subversives’. His order stated that any first-time convicted soldier could return to his unit after he had served a portion of his sentence in ‘…a special probation corps before the enemy’. Beginning in April 1941, convicted soldiers, even those sentenced to death, who had shown exceptional bravery or meritorious service could rejoin their original units; however, those in probation units were expected to undertake dangerous operations at the front. Refusal entailed enforcement of the original sentence. The soldiers who ‘won back an honourable place in the national community’ had done everything that was asked of them from suicidal advance teams, shock troops, and laying mines under fire. By 1945, over 50,000 Wehrmacht troops had served in punishment regiments. Strafbatallion: Hitler’s Penal Battalions examines the penal units, their combat history and order of battle.