In the beginning, I was so proud of my country and what I thought we were accomplishing. Yet by 1943, I knew the Nazi government was leading Germany and the world down a path of destruction.
Not in my wildest dreams did I think I would someday be standing in the basement of the Fuhrer Bunker preparing to shoot Adolf Hitler.
- Siegfried Knappe
WEHRMACT DIARY is a fascinating and true story that offers a unique look at the German side of World War II - and a world in ruins.
In WEHRMACHT DIARY, writer Wolfgang Cooper and Siegfried Knappe, who rose through the ranks of the General Staff College to become a highly respected major in the Wehrmacht, give the reader a reflective and illuminating perspective on Knappes experiences as a German soldier who served on every major battle front in the European theater of war.
This unique and timely book chronicles the life of an ordinary man who found himself caught in the middle of extraordinary world events - and how he survived to start a new life in America.
But most importantly, Siegfried Knappe, a long-time resident of Xenia, Ohio, is one of the few people alive today who met Adolf Hitler face to face. In fact, he met the German dictator three times - in six year intervals.
The first time was in 1933 when Knappe was an apolitical, teenage shutterbug, intent only on photographing Germanys new Chancellor pulling up outside a hotel in Knappes hometown of Leipzig. The young Knappe ignored Hitlers chauffeur, hopped onto the running board of the open limousine - and snapped off three frames. Over sixty years later, Knappe still has the pictures.
The second time Knappe came face to face with Hitler was in early 1939. Knappe was by then a junior artillery officer at Kriegsschule Potsdam, a military academy where he trained under legendary Field Marshall Erwin Rommel. Knappe was being congratulated for his war college performance by the Fuhrer at a formal Reich Chancellory reception in Berlin. Recognition for his exemplary achievements at Potsdam would promote Knappes advancement up the ranks throughout his military career.
The third time he met with Hitler was almost six years later and in the same building. It was April 1945. As a top aide to General Helmut Weidling - the commander of Berlins final defenses - Major Knappe waited outside the briefing room in the Fuhrer bunker. The Red Army was only 500 meters away, clawing its way toward the bunker and the final destruction of the Third Reich.
Outside, Berlin was a world of smoke, fire, death, and horror, recalled Knappe. Inside, protocol dictated that Major Knappe be presented by his commander to Hitler and Minister of Propaganda, Joseph Goebbels.
I saluted, and Hitler walked toward me. As he neared, I was shocked by his appearance. He looked very old, at least 20 years older than his 56 years, remembers Knappe.
The major was shaken. Like so many in Germany, he had given his youth to a leader who stood for the nation. Now Knappe could see that Hitler physically resembled his country - withered, defeated, cursed. Major Knappe decided to shoot Hitler the next morning. On that last day in the bunker, he stood near Hitler, coolly calculating pistol range - only to change his mind. Let Hitler martyr himself, Knappe decided. After Knappe surrendered to the Russians, he realized that the Fuhrer had inadvertently saved his life.
Major Knappe had become an eyewitness - an eyewitness who would live to tell his incredible story.
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All history, granted a wide enough perspective, is merely irony. The ironies of Siegfried Knappes life are beyond number:
He survived five years of combat, including four serious wounds, three tours on the dreaded Eastern front, and the final Allied assault on Berlin.
He helped negotia
|Sold by:||Barnes & Noble|
|File size:||355 KB|
Table of Contents
|Organization Chart of German Army||9|
|Part I||Beginnings 1936--1939||25|
|Part II||Opening the Gates of Hell 1939-1944||49|
|Part III||Defeat--The End of the Third Reich 1945||121|
|Part IV||Surrender & Imprisonment 1945-1949||157|
|Part V||Freedom 1949||191|
|Part VI||Starting a New Life 1950||199|
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
This book is a great example of the good men who fought for Germany in WW2. He loved his country and wanted to serve. He was very lucky several times. Being sent to an VIP camp instead of a work camp probably saved his life.
I've been looking for a book regarding the life of a German solder. I had found one with this book. I know in my heart that there were good men who had served in the German army. I will be reading many more. The crimes are committed by both sides. Even to this day it still goes on. I hope in my search for more books like this one, I will be able to understand the human condition.
I am a history buff and have always enjoyed World War II stories that are somewhat out of the mainstream. 'Wehrmacht Diary,' written by Wolfgang Cooper, ends up being one of those stories. The book follows the exploits of Major Siegfried Knappe, who fought for the German Army in virtually every major campaign during the conflict - was wounded numerous times - ended up in the Fuhrer bunker with Adolf Hitler near the end of the war where he served as a communications expert, shuttling back and forth between the front lines and the final German defenses - spent five years in various Soviet prison camps after the war - and finally made his way to East Germany, where he helped his family escape to the west. The amazing Major Knappe finally made his way to the United States. This is a very good book about a good soldier and a good family man. Like with the movie 'Das Boat,' I actually found myself pulling for Knappe and his comrades to get out of their perilous situations. I think men or women would enjoy t
An amazing story of a WWII German officer (one who saw Hitler several times, including right before his death; one who assisted in the final Berlin surrender), from his perspective. Fascinating and easy to read! Not too technical. Loved it! And so did my father!