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Glamorization of the Wehrmacht

Discussion in 'World History' started by Darth_Pugwash, Aug 28, 2007.

  1. privatehudson

    privatehudson The Ultimate Badass

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    Why do we have to prove pictures when there are enough evidence from other sources to show Heer involvement in shootings or reprisals? Again I don't agree that merely because it was legally not a crime this makes the act in itself justified or morally acceptable.

    Some specific examples would be useful since it is clear a sizeable portion of the Heer's high command in 1941-42 did know of the order. As I said however the Commisar order is one example from many illegal/immoral orders issued around that period. Just because that order was not passed on does not mean we can pretend that the Heer's officers were not aware of other orders, the shootings and the general nature of the campaign.

    Being unable to show emotion is not the same thing as being unable to connect cause and effect. They failed to appreciate that their thoughts after the war merely perpetuated the belief that their only regret was to loose the war.
     
  2. Traitorfish

    Traitorfish The Tighnahulish Kid

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    No, it's not. The Nazi's were a German party, they came to power in Germany, the majority of members were German.
    Aside from anything else, an extremist right-wing party would have arisen with or without Hitler, the socio-economic situation in Germany during the 1920s/30s made that inevitable. Whether it would have turned out the same way, we can't be sure, but to bathe Nazi regime on one mad little Austrian is just ridiculous.
     
  3. Miles Teg

    Miles Teg Nuclear Powered Mentat

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    I doubt anyone but a madman (or someone with the benefit of hindsight) would have decided to re-occupy the Rhineland. Or unite with Austria, or carve away Sudtenland, or take over all of Czechoslovakia. No my friend, WWII was a big result of tone madman.
     
  4. Adler17

    Adler17 Prussian Feldmarschall

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    PH: If there is a doubt the pictures are not showing attrocities: Yes, you have to prove them! Also if something was legally allowed (and here I don't mean Nazi law) it was justified. If it was morally good is a second question, but moral and law are not totally equal.
    An order known to the high command but given not to the executing soldiers is as effective as no order (generally). Thus I do not doubt that many high ranking officers knew from that but if only in more or less single cases the order was given to the soldiers, as well as other illegal ones, you can't blame the Wehrmacht for that. In contrast. This also lead to the final piece which lead to the resistance.

    Traitorfish, why are then Austrians so many in relation of the highest circles of the NS dictatorship? Also that radical antisemitic view in the NSDAP was not part and would not have been part in that extent in other right wing parties. However it is true that without Hitler many things in antisemitism would not be done.

    @miles Teg: Why was it mad to reoccupy the Rhineland? For Austria it is sure though...

    Adler
     
  5. privatehudson

    privatehudson The Ultimate Badass

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    To prove that atrocities involved the Wehrmacht you don't need those photographs simply because those photographs are but one piece of evidence showing involvement. Does the fact that the Soviets lied about the nature of Auswitz when they captured it mean the holocaust didn't happen? Of course not, when dealing with such an issue you look at the wider picture, and don't deny that something happened based on the fact that someone did faulty research into it decades later.

    The photographs are only one issue, of course they need investigating, but if proven false they do not prove that the Heer did not get involved in warcrimes.

    So you're telling me that if a legal system permitted the mass bombing of civilians you would have no grounds to argue that it was unjustified? What a strange notion of justification you have.

    How else should we understand it then? Hitler gave the army a series of illegal and immoral orders that anyone with an ounce of sense could see would lead to Beevor termed Rassenkampf. These gave carte blanche to soldiers to act as they pleased. Over 200 senior officers attended an address by Hitler in which he spelt out the nature of the conflict. Even if they did not pass on the orders or if they were removed themselves nothing but deliberate ignorance could persuade someone that they would not be carried out anyway. Besides which Wehrmacht units may not have been shooting Jews as much as the SS but they did support them being rounded up. I suppose the officers would later claim they were not responsible for what happened to these Jews later on, just as they were not responsible for the soviet POWs murdered by the regime as they had passed them on. Its all rather like arguing that it is legally right to be involved in the a murder as long as you don't pull the trigger isn't it?

    Oh and by the way not every general absolved himself from blame, Paulus said many years after the war that "The generals followed Hitler in these circumstances, and as a result they became completely involved in the consequences of his policies and the conduct of the war". Ulrich von Hassel wrote during the war that "It makes one's hair stand on end to learn about the measures to be taken in Russia, and about the systematic transformation of military law concerning the conquered population into uncontrolled despotism - indeed a caricature of all law. This kind of thing turns the German into a type of being which had existed only in enemy propaganda." He later noted that "The Army must assume the onus of the murders and burnings which up to now have been confined to the SS".
     
  6. Lotus49

    Lotus49 Emperor

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    Everyone knows the advantages of the Germans, and everyone is curious to see what feats they're capable of accomplishing - against the odds. But in the end however, the rest of the people cannot allow them to go too far.

    Note: the Russians in WWII are sorely under-rated, in many different ways. One of which being that they had an embarrassment of riches in the department of armored fighting vehicles, which spanked the legendary panzers without mercy. I say anyone that glorifies the Wehrmacht to such a high degree, simply doesn't have much depth of knowledge about their primary opponent - the Red Army (which did, in fact, decisively win WWII in Europe in a straight fight).
     
  7. Miles Teg

    Miles Teg Nuclear Powered Mentat

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    That was probably the wrong word,audacious without a doubt,not necessarily mad. The audacious bit is violating the terms of the Treaty of Versailles without a military competent to fight a war against France. There were few who would try to pull that stunt.
     
  8. Traitorfish

    Traitorfish The Tighnahulish Kid

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    That's true, the Nazis had widespread support in the the south and Austria. However, this does equate to Austria being responsible for the rise of the Third Reich, regardless of the origins of it's leader, anymore than British Labour's disproportionate Scottish support or the Scottish Prime Minister equates to a Scottish take-over of England. Hell, the Independent Labour party (the forerunner of the Labour Party) was founded in Scotland, which is more than can be said for the Nazi party in relation to Austria.

    True, Nazi race theory was a particularly influenced by Hitler, among others, but the extreme anti-communist ultra-nationalism that was the core of Nazi ideology was more widespread, and was somewhat inevitable. After all, the Friekorp had been motivated by such thinking before Hitler even joined the German Worker's Party, let alone transformed it into the Nazi party.
    Besides, Martin Luther, one of the most influential figures in German history, was a rampant anti-semite who advocated the destruction of synagogues and the killing of Jews. Anti-semitism has a long history in Germany, as in the rest of Europe, it's not all down to one man.
     
  9. Darth_Pugwash

    Darth_Pugwash wobble wobble

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    Yup, Antony Beevor's book is exactly where I read it. :)
     
  10. privatehudson

    privatehudson The Ultimate Badass

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    He's a fine author, I'm hoping to work my way through his work on the Spanish Civil War soon.
     
  11. C~G

    C~G Untouchable

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    Obviously you went wrong right from the start.
    Some truth there.
    Maybe for ten year olds but otherwise you are wrong about this.
    Sure and cool weapons too.
    Germans are thought to have had one of the most complete fighting machines of all time.

    They had example magnificent tanks in their disposal accompanied with professional crews operating them with preciseness and thus presenting technical and tactical superiority compared to their counterparts in the other side with mentality of total control.

    In similar fashion you can glorify allies. And I can only say from my pov that the big cats, german panzers are much more cooler than stuff that allies put forward. ;)

    To glorify german warmachine, isn't glorify them as bad guys. It is to glorify war and the mechanisms of it in the field of glory. If you don't get this, you don't understand why men are interested about war in general. It's about being in control, being brave and ultimately defeating insourmantable odds.

    And as communistic Red Army rolled over germans there was also myth about "noble german" (similar to that of Rommel) professional or brave soldiers who just happened to fight the war on the wrong side because of just they happened to be born in Germany. And still probably because of cold war there's idea that there were similarities between them and western allies compared to the russians, who were "the real enemy"...

    I have only scratched the surface of thoughts linked to mythology of WWII. It all plays out like Wagnerian-opera.
     
  12. Adler17

    Adler17 Prussian Feldmarschall

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    PH, did you read my post? I never said the Wehrmacht did not make attrocities. I only doubted that show and these pictures.
    Yes, it wasn't allowed to bomb civilians. But it was allowed to take hostages in the case of Partisan activity and to shoot up to 10 of them for each one killed. You should read about the law of warfare before you post something here to it.
    The SS was mostly used in that as Hitler didn't trust the Wehrmacht. And yes, the Wehrmacht was involved in crimes there, but by far not as much as the SS. Also if 200+ generals did not give the order to their troops they were resisting it. Yes, they got an idea about the true nature of Hitler. His Mein Kampf was seen until then only as propaganda. No one believed it. Too crazy to do. As he started he also lost the support in the Wehrmacht completely. Only the oath and the SS were the causes the Wehrmacht did not collectively act. However when the Ersatzheer acted the Wehrmacht was giving them free hand. That it did not work was Hitler's luck (again).

    @ traitorfish:
    Austria was the base of the ideas of Hitler. They were completely different from Prussia. It is indeed wrong to say Austria annexed Germany in 1933. However it is even more wrong to say Austria was the first victim of Germany.
    Antisemitism and racism existed, exists and will exist (unfortunately). Yes, Luther said that, but he made a completely other way as he was comdamning the murders of Jews who became Christians. And that Hitler did not. Nevertheless it is one black point in this man. However if another right party gained control, even if they were antisemitc, they would have made some repression against Jews but by far not in the extent the Nazis made. So the Nuremberg race laws and so on would not have happened with them. If at all.

    Adler
     
  13. privatehudson

    privatehudson The Ultimate Badass

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    My appologies, that sentence in your last post seemed contradictory to this point of view.

    I wasn't talking about what was legal but what you consider morally justifiable. I personally don't base my morale code on what the legal system says is right or wrong, mostly because the laws concerning warfare in my experience are often inadequate. If you do believe that something is morally correct just because a law says it is permitted then I find that quite disturbing. You've previously stated that nothing can ever justify attacks on civilians, is this another exemption to you?

    This point by the way is not about whether bombing civilians was legally allowed (I know it wasn't thank you very much) but rather if the law had permitted it would you think it justifiable?

    Surely that's hardly the point? If you have an accomplise to a murder who brings the victim knowingly to the actual shootist they are still guilty too?

    I highly doubt that every one of them refused the orders, that's just wishful thinking.

    Its hard to believe Mein Kampf was propaganda when evidence of it being put into practice existed long before Barbarossa. All the Russian campaign did was bring it out into the open.

    Again you talk about the Wehrmacht like it was one single body with one aim and a collective viewpoint on Hitler. I thought we had already established this to be false?
     
  14. Traitorfish

    Traitorfish The Tighnahulish Kid

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    Well, in the end neither state was a "victim", at least not originally- both willingly accepted Nazi rule. The German electorate- while they never elected a Nazi government- allowed the Nazis to rise to power, and the Austrians accepted Nazi rule in a referendum. Neither group was the "victim" of a conspiracy, let alone one orchestrated by a single man. The whole thing is really too complex to lay sole blame on a sole person, group or even nation.
     
  15. Darth_Pugwash

    Darth_Pugwash wobble wobble

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    C~G, I think you misread the OP. I pointed out clearly that I was talking about the Wehrmacht as a fighting force just as much if not more so than as a criminal force, or as bad guys. In fact, of the four points I mentioned, only one directly depends on the Nazis as bad guys. The rest are all purely militarily focused.

    This is a pretty good point.

    To be honest I find it a little odd that you blithely write off the OP's long defeat point as 'for ten year olds' and then go on to bring up another Wagnerian point as if the two are completely unrelated.
     
  16. Adler17

    Adler17 Prussian Feldmarschall

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    @PH: there might be a misunderstanding between us, at least partially. In my posts I was attacking this show. If they talk about crimes they have to post the pictures of the crimes. Which are proven crimes. Indeed a neutral study made by a German-Polish and Hungarian historian only found 80 of originally over 1.500 pictures showing war crimes. The others were partly also showing Russian crimes as well. Anyway if it was morally okay to kill hostages is a completely other story. And I say, no, it was morally not okay. But from the laws accepted. And thus no crime.
    Considering the resistance in the army against the commissionar order I can indeed think that many did not pass the order.
    Mein Kampf was not recognized as a true program until Barbarossa. Indeed not many actually read that book although most had one example. It was donated by someone especially as wedding present. But the fewest actually read in it. And even fewer believed what was written then. In that times there was a completely different political culture in Germany as it is now. You had even brawls in the Reichstag! And election campaigns were even fightings. Thus the propaganda of the parties was not believed by many.

    Adler
     
  17. C~G

    C~G Untouchable

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    Well, yeah in general your message was concentrated finding reasons for the glamorization ratherthan concentrating into the issue of this glamorization being related to them being "bad guys". I give you points for that. :king:

    I might have jumped into conclusion there. Though it seemed first bit of odd asking question "why to glamorize the germans?" when you after all could ask "why to glamorize the allies?" or any other military force in general. I thought the background for the question was the idea that germans were seen as the bad guys of the war. Not sure whether you see it this way.

    For me it is the contrast that gives a bit the motivation for the whole issue a way.
    You're right. Well picked out. It's odd since it's an error. ;)

    I seem to have mishandled the quotes. The ten year old was meant to the glamorization of the bad guys. People who somehow glamorize nazism or germans because they are "cool and evil" must be more than bit of naiive.

    I think you had a very good point about the "long defeat" :)
    Maybe the whole issue with germans is similar to that of "Lost Cause" of Confederacy in Civil war?
     
  18. Darth_Pugwash

    Darth_Pugwash wobble wobble

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    To be honest I think the dark appeal one was a bit silly as well, now that I've read the thread and thought about it a bit.

    The background for the question was that the Germans seem to be noticably more popular than the Allies in re-enactment/wargaming circles etc, I was just kind of wondering aloud as to why that may be.

    :)
     
  19. Hornblower

    Hornblower Cry Havoc!

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    Why do people always seem to confuse the Wehrmacht with Nazi's? The Heer was not made up of Nazi's nor was the Reichstag made up of members of the Wehrmacht. The SS was also not "of" the Wehrmacht. They were an entirely separate instrument and had a very different recruitment process.

    Would anyone be silly enough to assume that the US military is entirely made up of Republicans?

    Is the Australian Defence Force made up entirely of Liberal Party members?

    There is a mystique surrounding this era because so much has been written about it. There is equal mystique about the invincible American fighting man and the stoic British fighter pilots too but people convienently seem to think that they are above reproach whilst lambasting equally heroic Germans. Guilty men fought for all sides in WWII.

    The German military of that era were all undeniably snappy dressers though.
     
  20. Case

    Case The horror, the horror

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    I've never heard of anyone dressing up as a Japanese soldier, despite Japan also winning impressive victories at the start of the war followed by a 'long defeat'. For some reason the Japanese Army's war crimes seem to be regarded as being more important as the German Army's war crimes and the very bad cause the Japanese were fighting for (domination of Asia) seems to weigh more heavily on peoples' minds than the very bad cause the Germans were fighting for (domination of Europe).

    What rubbish. Most of the Army supported the Nazi Government until the end of the war. Even as late as 1945 Hitler was able to find lots of fairly non-political officers who were willing to fight to the last. Moreover, the rank and file seem to have remained remarkably loyal and there don't seem to have been any mass-desertions until almost the end of the war.

    Militaries which don't want to fight for their government don't need to remove the government to escape the war - they can simply give up. The Confederate States Army in 1865, Italian Army in 1941 and Iraqi Army in 1991 and 2003 are examples of what happens when a military institution does't support its leadership - it puts up almost no resistance as both officers and soldiers don't think that the cause is worth fighting for and are happy to surrender. The German military of WW2 had no resemblance to these kind of institutions until about April 1945 when most (but far from all) of the units facing the western allies ceased resistance.

    On the topic of shooting civilians as a reprisal for partisan activities: this is a war crime and the German soldiers involved in these murders were persued and generally successfully prosecuted after the war, with trials continuing to be held to this day.

    I read the first edition of this book and thought it was pretty good. The new expanded edition is meant to be much better.
     

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