Hitler's Soldiers: The German Army in the Third Reich

Hitler's Soldiers: The German Army in the Third Reich

by Ben H. Shepherd

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Overview


A penetrating study of the German army’s military campaigns, relations with the Nazi regime, and complicity in Nazi crimes across occupied Europe

For decades after 1945, it was generally believed that the German army, professional and morally decent, had largely stood apart from the SS, Gestapo, and other corps of the Nazi machine. Ben Shepherd draws on a wealth of primary sources and recent scholarship to convey a much darker, more complex picture. For the first time, the German army is examined throughout the Second World War, across all combat theaters and occupied regions, and from multiple perspectives: its battle performance, social composition, relationship with the Nazi state, and involvement in war crimes and military occupation.
 
This was a true people’s army, drawn from across German society and reflecting that society as it existed under the Nazis. Without the army and its conquests abroad, Shepherd explains, the Nazi regime could not have perpetrated its crimes against Jews, prisoners of war, and civilians in occupied countries. The author examines how the army was complicit in these crimes and why some soldiers, units, and higher commands were more complicit than others. Shepherd also reveals the reasons for the army’s early battlefield successes and its mounting defeats up to 1945, the latter due not only to Allied superiority and Hitler’s mismanagement as commander-in-chief, but also to the failings—moral, political, economic, strategic, and operational—of the army’s own leadership.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780300228809
Publisher: Yale University Press
Publication date: 09/26/2017
Edition description: Reprint
Pages: 664
Sales rank: 547,762
Product dimensions: 5.40(w) x 8.50(h) x 1.50(d)

About the Author

Ben H. Shepherd is reader in history, Glasgow Caledonian University. He lives in Glasgow, UK.

Table of Contents

Preface vii

Introduction ix

Part I Military Ascent, Moral Decline

1 The Army in the New Reich, 1933-36 3

2 The Road to War, 1936-39 22

Part II Triumph and Hubris

3 Poland, 1939-40 45

4 'Sitzkrieg', 1939-40 61

5 The Greatest Victory, 1940 72

6 Occupying the West, 1940-41 89

7 Planning Operation Barbarossa, 1940-41 110

8 Barbarossa Unleashed, 1941 134

Part III Losing the Initiative

9 Barbarossa Undone, 1941 161

10 Resistance and Reaction, 1941: Western Europe and Southeast Europe 190

11 Winter Crisis, 1941-42 203

12 The Desert War, 1941-42 219

13 Southern Russia and Stalingrad, 1942-43 242

14 Faces of Occupation, 1942-43: The Soviet Union 274

15 Faces of Occupation, 1942-43: Western Europe and Southeast Europe 297

16 The Initiative Lost, 1943 317

Part IV Beleaguered

17 Takeover in Southern Europe, 1943-44 341

18 The Eastern Front, 1943-44: The Ostheer Retreats 356

19 The Eastern Front, 1943-44: The Frontsoldat Endures 376

20 Italy, 1943-44 397

21 Fortress Europe Breached, 1943-44 418

Part V Defeat, Destruction and Self-Destruction

22 The Greatest Defeat, 1944 435

23 The Army 'Recovers', 1944-45 468

24 The Army Self-Destructs, 1945 497

Conclusion 521

Acknowledgements 537

Appendices 539

Appendix I Table of Acronyms 541

Appendix II Glossary of German Phrases 543

Appendix III Table of Equivalent Ranks 548

Appendix IV Figures 550

Appendix V Maps 554

Notes 555

Bibliography 604

Index 616

Notes on Illustrations 636

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