New Releases

Hitler’s Soldiers: The German Army in the Third Reich by Ben H. Shepherd

New Release on #Audible from Yale University Press​ and Tantor Audio​  (Print version published 2016)
“Almost half a century after its total destruction in the Second World War, the Wehrmacht remains a major bone of contention in the scholarship on the Third Reich. Was it merely a military organization which carried out its orders with remarkable professional skill, or a highly politicized army? Was it a haven from the regime or an exceptionally effective school of National Socialism? Did it pose a threat to Hitler’s rule or was it rather his most formidable instrument? Were the generals hampered in their endeavors to topple the regime by the troops’ loyalty to the Führer, or was it the army’s senior officers who insisted on motivating the rank and file by large doses of National Socialist ideology? Briefly, was the Wehrmacht Hitler’s army? The following pages will argue that the only way to approach this question is by a careful anatomy of the German army. This will be done by proposing four theses on the war experience, social organization, motivation, and perception of reality of Germany’s soldiers. By examining the attitudes of both the higher and the lower echelons of the army, this book will attempt to gage the degree to which the Wehrmacht constituted an integral part of state and society in the Third Reich.”
#ww2 #history
World War 2 National Socialism and the Holocaust

The Storm of War by Andrew Roberts – Chapter 17 – Eastern Approaches: August 1943–May 1945

World War 2 Eastern Front Troops Advancing

Response / Thought Quotes

  • “We no longer fought for Hitler, or National Socialism, or for the Third Reich, or even our fiancées or mothers or families trapped in bomb-ravaged towns. We fought from simple fear. We fought for ourselves, so that we didn’t die in holes filled with mud and snow. We fought like rats.”
  • “Human pity was now beside the point.”
  • “The root cause of German defeat was the way her forces were wasted in fruitless efforts, and above all, fruitless resistance at the wrong time and place.”
  • “During the Second World War the German Supreme Command could never decide on a withdrawal when the going was good. It either made up its mind too late, or when a retreat had been forced upon our armies and was already in full swing.”
  • “‘Towards the end of 1943 at the latest it had become unmistakably clear that the war had been lost,’ wrote General Halder. ‘Would it not have been possible even so to beat off the invasion and thus provide the basis for a tolerable peace? Had the ‘‘Fortress Germany’’ no hope of consuming the enemy’s strength on its walls? No! Let us once and for all have done with these fairy tales.’. He was right; having taken on four of the world’s six greatest powers, Germany was doomed.”
  • “‘If you talked for two hours and you thought that finally you had convinced him of something, he began where you started just as if you had never said a word.’”
  • “‘It may well be that the Russian success has been somewhat aided by the strategy of Herr Hitler – of Corporal Hitler. Even military idiots find it difficult not to see some faults in some of his actions . . . Altogether, I think it is much better to let officers rise up in the proper way.’”
  • “A: Hold your position! B: I am finished. A: Reinforcements are moving up. B: To hell with your reinforcement. I am cut off. Your reinforcement won’t find me here any more. A: For the last time, I forbid you to speak openly over the wireless. I would prefer you to shoot your own people than allow the enemy to shoot them. B: Comrade No. 54, perhaps you will grasp the situation when I tell you that I have nobody left I can shoot, apart from my wireless operator.”
  • “Not to trust anybody was very typical of Josef Stalin. All the years of his life did he trust one man only, and that was Adolf Hitler.”
  • “If the war should be lost, then the Volk will also be lost. This fate is unavoidable. It is not necessary to take into consideration the bases the Volk needs for the continuation of its most primitive existence. On the contrary, it is better to destroy these things yourself. After all, the Volk would then have proved the weaker nation, and the future would exclusively belong to the stronger nation of the east. What would remain after this fight would in any event be inferior subjects, since all the good ones would have fallen.”
  • “19 March, entitled ‘Demolitions on Reich Territory’, in which he commanded that ‘All military transport, communication facilities, industrial establishments, and supply depots, as well as anything else of value within Reich territory that could in any way be used by the enemy immediately or within the foreseeable future for the continuation of the war, be destroyed.’”
  • “‘I think the Wagner ideology of Götterdämmerung [Twilight of the Gods] had an influence on Hitler during the last few months,’ Walther Funk told his Nuremberg psychiatrist in May 1946, ‘and everything had to go down in ruins with Hitler himself, as a sort of false Götterdämmerung.’”
  • “Officers were reduced to telephoning numbers taken at random from the Berlin telephone directory, the Soviet advance being plotted by how many times the calls were answered in Russian rather than German.”
  • “The Red Army had long been shooting anyone captured in SS uniform, and those SS men who had discarded it nonetheless could not escape the fact that their blood group was tattooed on their left arms, one inch below the armpit.”
  • “’What is so awful in his having fun with a woman, after such horrors?’ Stalin asked Marshal Tito about the ordinary Russian soldier in April 1945. ‘You have imagined the Red Army to be ideal. And it is not ideal, nor can it be . . . The important thing is that it fights Germans.’”
  • “All sorts of complications ensue as soon as you admit a fair trial. I agree with the Home Secretary that they should be treated as outlaws. We should however seek agreement of our Allies . . . I would take no responsibility for a trial – even though the United States wants to do it. Execute the principal criminals as outlaws – if no Ally wants them.”

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