Frontsoldaten: The German Soldier in World War II

Frontsoldaten: The German Soldier in World War II

4.7 3
by Stephen G. Fritz
     
 

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Alois Dwenger, writing from the front in May of 1942, complained that people forgot "the actions of simple soldiers….I believe that true heroism lies in bearing this dreadful everyday life." In exploring the reality of the Landser, the average German soldier in World War II, through letters, diaries, memoirs, and oral histories, Stephen G. Fritz provides the

Overview

Alois Dwenger, writing from the front in May of 1942, complained that people forgot "the actions of simple soldiers….I believe that true heroism lies in bearing this dreadful everyday life." In exploring the reality of the Landser, the average German soldier in World War II, through letters, diaries, memoirs, and oral histories, Stephen G. Fritz provides the definitive account of the everyday war of the German front soldier. The personal documents of these soldiers, most from the Russian front, where the majority of German infantrymen saw service, paint a richly textured portrait of the Landser that illustrates the complexity and paradox of his daily life. Although clinging to a self-image as a decent fellow, the German soldier nonetheless committed terrible crimes in the name of National Socialism. When the war was finally over, and his country lay in ruins, the Landser faced a bitter truth: all his exertions and sacrifices had been in the name of a deplorable regime that had committed unprecedented crimes. With chapters on training, images of combat, living conditions, combat stress, the personal sensations of war, the bonds of comradeship, and ideology and motivation, Fritz offers a sense of immediacy and intimacy, revealing war through the eyes of these self-styled "little men." A fascinating look at the day-to-day life of German soldiers, this is a book not about war but about men. It will be vitally important for anyone interested in World War II, German history, or the experiences of common soldiers throughout the world.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Drawn from letters, diaries and memoirs, this impressive study presents a rounded, detailed picture of the daily life of the Landser-the ordinary German infantryman of WWII-and takes an unblinking look at the stark realities of combat, particularly on the Russian front, where 80% of the German soldiers fought; the hardships endured; and the crushing anxiety of being surrounded by death and killing. The evidence that surfaces in these pages demonstrates that the remarkable unit cohesion and fighting performance of the Landser was due in large part to the bonds of military friendship inherited from Prussian tradition; Wehrmacht leaders ``raised the concept of camaraderie almost to the level of strategic doctrine.'' The study also reveals ways in which the German soldier embraced ideological commitment to National Socialism and how, encouraged by Nazi propaganda, he was free to engage in virtually unlimited criminality if it was directed against the so-called enemies of the German people. Fritz, who teaches history at East Tennessee State, makes edifying comparisons between the Landser and his American, British and Russian counterparts. His book helps explain why the German army was so relentlessly efficient in battle. (Sept.)
Roland Green
The experience of the British and American common soldier in World War II has been extensively studied. Not so, at least in English, that of his principal opponent, the German "Landser" (infantryman). Fritz draws on both published and unpublished material, little of it previously translated, to make up for the deficiency. The German soldier survived far more rigorous training than his Allied counterparts (which explains much of his superior proficiency), survived (on the eastern front, at least) indescribable conditions, and was more sympathetic to the objectives and attitudes of National Socialism than has been admitted previously. He also feared death and wounds, mourned comrades overtaken by them, yearned for home, and took a dim view of mud, lice, brutal NCOs, inept or martinet officers, and hostile artillery. In short, he was a soldier doing his duty; the tragedy is that he did it so well in such an abominable cause.
Booknews
Drawing from the personal diaries and letters of the Landser--the average German soldier in WWII--Fritz presents an insightful, detailed picture of daily life for the German front soldier. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
From the Publisher
"Fritz does an impressive job of detailing what war was like for the average German soldier on the front lines in World War II." — Paper Wars

"Drawn from letters, diaries and memoirs, this impressive study presents a rounded, detailed picture of the daily life of the Landser — the ordinary German infantryman of WWII — and takes an unblinking look at the stark realities of combat.... Helps explain why the German army was so relentlessly efficient in battle." — Publishers Weekly

"A moving account of personal observations combined with a thoughtful commentary in which the author provides numerous insights into the combat environment." — American Historical Review

"So readable as to be difficult to put down.... Should prove enlightening to students of German as well as military history." — Virginia Quarterly Review

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780813137872
Publisher:
University Press of Kentucky
Publication date:
09/29/2010
Sold by:
Barnes & Noble
Format:
NOOK Book
Pages:
312
Sales rank:
278,417
File size:
483 KB

Meet the Author

Stephen G. Fritz, professor of history at East Tennessee State University, is the author of Ostkrieg: Hitler's War of Extermination in the East and Endkampf: Soldiers, Civilians, and the Death of the Third Reich.

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Frontsoldaten: The German Soldier in World War II 4.7 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 3 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Adolf More than 1 year ago
Many think of the german soldier to be a monster and wanting to kill everyone.They were just like soldiers now who are fighting for thier country.