The Wehrmacht: History, Myth, Reality

The Wehrmacht: History, Myth, Reality

by Wolfram Wette
     
 

ISBN-10: 0674025776

ISBN-13: 9780674025776

Pub. Date: 10/15/2007

Publisher: Harvard

This book is a profound reexamination of the role of the German army, the Wehrmacht, in World War II. Until very recently, the standard story avowed that the ordinary German soldier in World War II was a good soldier, distinct from Hitler's rapacious SS troops, and not an accomplice to the massacres of civilians. Wolfram Wette, a preeminent German military

…  See more details below

Overview

This book is a profound reexamination of the role of the German army, the Wehrmacht, in World War II. Until very recently, the standard story avowed that the ordinary German soldier in World War II was a good soldier, distinct from Hitler's rapacious SS troops, and not an accomplice to the massacres of civilians. Wolfram Wette, a preeminent German military historian, explodes the myth of a "clean" Wehrmacht with devastating clarity.

This book reveals the Wehrmacht's long-standing prejudices against Jews, Slavs, and Bolsheviks, beliefs that predated the prophecies of Mein Kampf and the paranoia of National Socialism. Though the sixteen-million-member German army is often portrayed as a victim of Nazi mania, we come to see that from 1941 to 1944 these soldiers were thoroughly involved in the horrific cleansing of Russia and Eastern Europe. Wette compellingly documents Germany's long-term preparation of its army for a race war deemed necessary to safeguard the country's future; World War II was merely the fulfillment of these plans, on a previously unimaginable scale.

This sober indictment of millions of German soldiers reaches beyond the Wehrmacht's complicity to examine how German academics and ordinary citizens avoided confronting this difficult truth at war's end. Wette shows how atrocities against Jews and others were concealed and sanitized, and history rewritten. Only recently has the German public undertaken a reevaluation of this respected national institution--a painful but necessary process if we are to truly comprehend how the Holocaust was carried out and how we have come to understand it.

Read More

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780674025776
Publisher:
Harvard
Publication date:
10/15/2007
Pages:
400
Sales rank:
1,332,472
Product dimensions:
(w) x 8.25(h) x (d)

Table of Contents

Preface to the English-Language Edition
by Peter Fritzsche

Foreword
by Manfred Messerschmidt

List of Abbreviations

1. Perceptions of Russia, the Soviet Union, and Bolshevism as Enemies

German Perceptions of Russia in the Twentieth Century

National Socialists' Perceptions of Russia: "Jewish Bolshevism"

Perceptions of Russia among the Wehrmacht Generals

2. Anti-Semitism in the German Military

From Anti-Semitism to the Holocaust?

Germany under the Kaiser and the First World War

The Revolutionary Era of 1918-19

The Postwar Period: War Continued by Different Means

The Weimar Republic

The National Socialist Era up to 1939

3. The Wehrmacht and the Murder of Jews

Issuing Orders and Propaganda in the Wehrmacht

Some Theaters of War

Anti-Semitism as a Soldier's Duty

4. Generals and Enlisted Men

The Military Elites in the Grip of a War Ideology

Hitler and the Generals

The "Little Guy" in Uniform

Soldiers of the Wehrmacht in Light of Recent Research

The Will to Survive in the War's Final Phase

5. The Legend of the Wehrmacht's "Clean Hands"

The Birth of a Legend

The War Crimes Trials

Writing History from the Wehrmacht's Point of View

The Cold War Begins

Wehrmacht Crimes, the Justice System, and the Statute of Limitations

6. A Taboo Shatters

Historical Research

Perceptions of the Wehrmacht in the Bundeswehr

After Fifty Years a Taboo Is Broken

7. Conclusion

Notes

Index

Read More

Customer Reviews

Average Review:

Write a Review

and post it to your social network

     

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See all customer reviews >