1. We have added a Gift Upgrades feature that allows you to gift an account upgrade to another member, just in time for the holiday season. You can see the gift option when going to the Account Upgrades screen, or on any user profile screen.
    Dismiss Notice

Glamorization of the Wehrmacht

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

  1. Hornblower

    Hornblower Cry Havoc!

    Joined:
    Jun 17, 2005
    Messages:
    772
    Location:
    Downunder
    Professional soldiers are trained to be A-Political. They are trained to carry out policy and will fight for their country regardless of what political party is in power... to a point. In the case of post Citadel and Overlord Germany they were fighting to keep their enemies from their homeland. By this stage whatever doubts that were had about the NSDAP were over ridden by a bigger problem. Under threat of total destruction of homes, families, looting and rape you do not care what party is in power if you perceive the oncoming threat to be a greater evil.

    Also there was absolutely no way that any political change was going to occur anyway. What would be the result of a successful coup? Hitler replaced. The Nazi party would still be in power.

    As General George Patton found when Military Governor of Bavaria - you can't run this goddamn country without the Nazi's. Everyone of influence was a member of the party. By 1945 nearly 75% of the population involved in infrastructure and administration of the country were members of the party. It was expedient and sane for a civilian to pay lip service to the party to ensure survival. That did not mean that 75% of the population were book burning anti-semites.

    Do not confuse a civilian political movement and tar the profession of arms with politics.
     
  2. Kranden

    Kranden War is the real diplomacy

    Joined:
    Jul 18, 2007
    Messages:
    459
    Location:
    U.S.A.
    Oh my god frob is that an AT-AT!?

    (btw what do you guys think of my avatar)
     
  3. Case

    Case The horror, the horror

    Joined:
    Oct 25, 2000
    Messages:
    1,884
    Location:
    Canberra, Australia
    Given that the German Army played a critical role in the Nazi Party's rise to power (albeit by standing aside) and enthusiastically planned and waged wars of conquest against all Germany's neigbours I don't think that we need to be at all sensitive about its reputation! - especially given the nature of the Nazi Government it loyally served. Anyway, what 'civilian political movement' is being discussed here?

    Moreover, you seem to be missunderstanding me. The point I was making was to refute the argument that the German Army opposed the Nazis but could only end the war by removing the government. Whether most members of Army felt obliged to support the Government or were fighting only to defend Germany from invasion, the fact is that the Wehrmacht remained remarkably loyal to the Nazi regime, and didn't 'walk off the job' until the final weeks of the war. Why on earth didn't the troops facing the Western Allies give up after the Battle of Normandy?
     
  4. Hornblower

    Hornblower Cry Havoc!

    Joined:
    Jun 17, 2005
    Messages:
    772
    Location:
    Downunder
    LOYALTY

    A professional soldier, sailor or airman does not just walk off the job... ever.
    Desertion is a thing that idealists trot out when they don't understand that the core value of any military is the ability to take orders through thick and thin and not just when they suit.

    Should the British have given up after Dunkirk? They were clearly beaten. Should the military have risen up and overthrown the government? No. The military of a modern and civilised country is not for interfering with civil politics. It is there to defend against external threats and should the policy of the government of that country dictate ... reach out and swat the bad guys outside the border.

    To blame the Wehrmacht for aggression against foreign countries is using a blinkered argument. In fact the Heer and Kreigsmarine did not wish to engage in offensive actions in 1939. Their brief was to be able to provide a machine of war able to undertake foreign campaigns from the mid 40's onward. When told of the intention to proceed to war in 1939 the high command of the Wehrmacht (professionals) opposed the notion as totally reckless and advised stenuously against it.

    This is no different to the US Army of the 30's or any of the allied countries in that era. They had drawn down and virtually disarmed due to political reasons. The core of the command groups all wished to build strong armies. Not to go and make war but simply to prepare for conflict which they viewed would come in the 1940's. The allied armies are glamourized too and yet they did exactly the same job as the Wehrmacht.
     
  5. Case

    Case The horror, the horror

    Joined:
    Oct 25, 2000
    Messages:
    1,884
    Location:
    Canberra, Australia
    But most of the German Army's personnel were conscripts, and not professionals. Given that the Nazis never really achieved majority public support its suprising that ordinary soldiers and officers continued to fight as long as they did - many of the conscripts must have opposed the Nazis and wanted the war to be over.

    Anyway, that's not entirely correct - it's considered acceptable for senior professional soldiers to resign if they're ordered to do something they believe is clearly wrong (eg, the US Military's Chiefs of Staff during the Vietnam War are often criticised for not resigning in protest).

    No they weren't - while the British Expeditionary Force had been totally defeated, the RAF and RN were largely intact and remained more than capable of defending Britain from external attack. The same didn't apply to the German military after about September 1944 at the latest.

    I agree - that's the correct role for a military in a democratic state. However we're talking about Nazi Germany here. The Army played an important role in German politics during the 1920s and 1930s and was used for agressive (not defensive) wars.

    So you're saying that the only reason the German military opposed launching an agressive war in 1939 was that it wasn't yet ready to fight it? Wouldn't it have been better to advise the government that launching such wars was immoral, probably illeagal and likely to result in defeat?
     
  6. Adler17

    Adler17 Prussian Feldmarschall

    Joined:
    Jun 10, 2003
    Messages:
    5,341
    Location:
    Schleswig- Holstein. Germany
    The role of the Wehrmacht was to protect Germany from foreign enemies. From the beginning of Prussian military tradition they had to stay out of the politics. They failed, too, like everyone else in Germany, to prevent Hitler becoming the "Führer". The danger in him was not seen until 1938. And then leading parts of the Wehrmacht tried to get rid about him. That failed. And then the first victories came...
    The German officers saw in the war with Poland something dangerous but not illegal. An agression war was not illegal until Nuremberg and that trial in that regard a violation of the nulla poena sine lege base. In their eyes Poland had annexed German soil and France was responsible for Versailles. So in 1940 it is no wonder that Hitler was celebrated for this victories even by German communists and Jews for these victories.
    A possibility of a successful coup did not come until 1942 and the war with Russia. The attrocities there lead to a massive protest of the officers and eventually to July 20th 1944. The coup failed.
    In that situation to give up was unacceptable for any Wehrmacht officer in leading positions. It would only lead to let Germany be raped by Stalin without resistance.

    Adler
     
  7. Provolution

    Provolution Sage of Quatronia

    Joined:
    Jul 21, 2004
    Messages:
    10,102
    Location:
    London
    That does not explain why Wehrmacht fought the Western Allies to the end, that was simply stupid, as they in effect gave Stalin more land. So I think Wehrmacht was as nazified as any army in Germany.
     
  8. C~G

    C~G Untouchable

    Joined:
    May 24, 2006
    Messages:
    4,146
    That is weak argument Case about walking off.
    So you're seriously suggesting that ordinary soldiers should just give up their arms and start walking towards the enemy after years of warfare, after being of born and raised in Germany and after being taken to an ARMY?

    In what kind of fashion this would happen?

    You're seriously delusional about how german soldier might have experienced the war and how soldiers in general do. Do you think there are some kind of options to do it especially in the service of totalitarian regime?

    And what comes to the idea of Wehrmacht playing role of somehow influencing the aggressive wars towards other countries. It's more than probable that there were political elements in Wehrmacht wanting to show the world what it could do but I seriously doubt it was this entity's primary goal. Professional soldiers don't necessarily get influenced into politics, some of them can of course and question is how much such officers example existed in Germany. Probably most people just did their duty and like usually let others more high ranking people to choose for them what happens.
     
  9. Adler17

    Adler17 Prussian Feldmarschall

    Joined:
    Jun 10, 2003
    Messages:
    5,341
    Location:
    Schleswig- Holstein. Germany
    Most German soldiers were free of Nazi ideology. In the first line forces it is proven that there the Nazi ideology was not common. They only fought in the west at the end because the western forces were not accepting a partial surrender.

    @ Case: That some courts does not recognize the shootings of hostages is legally wrong. In my thread about historical criminal cases I will make some case review on that topic.

    Adler
     
  10. Traitorfish

    Traitorfish The Tighnahulish Kid

    Joined:
    Sep 14, 2005
    Messages:
    32,571
    Location:
    Scotland
    Actually, the coups that were planned- most famously the July 20 plot, among others- were aimed at removing the Nazi party from power. The plan was, generally, that the anti-Hitler faction of the army would quickly remove the Nazi party and SS leadership and place the country under Wermacht control.
    The reason for killing Hitler was not merely to remove him from power- although obviously that was a factor- but because of the loyalty oath that all soldiers had taken to him. The officers involved in the coup- most of who were old Prussian aristocracy, and so took things like that very seriously- hoped that by freeing their troops from this oath, they would be able to act against the Nazi party and remove it from power.
     
  11. BaneBlade

    BaneBlade Prince

    Joined:
    Nov 19, 2005
    Messages:
    358
    If you had actually read something about it you would know that there were lots of contacts between the militarys, intelligency agencies, private and political persons, industrialists, church people ect. with the goal of peace negotiations, cease fire ect.
    Why nothing came of it? Because the Allies hadn't a real interest in it, and very few man on the german side actually had the chance to achieve something meaningfull.
     
  12. Case

    Case The horror, the horror

    Joined:
    Oct 25, 2000
    Messages:
    1,884
    Location:
    Canberra, Australia
    Yes - the German Army of WW2 was actually unusual for the army of a totalitarian state. For example, many of the Soviet soldiers who surrendered in huge numbers in 1941 and 1942 seem to have done so as they didn't want to fight for the communists (the majority fought stubonly, however). Incredibly, Soviet soldiers were still deserting to the Germans as late as 1944! Italian soldiers surrendered in huge numbers without putting up much of a fight to the British in 1941 and Iraqi soldiers surrendered en-mass in 1991 and 2003. As other examples, the Army of Tsarist Russia slowly collapsed during WW1 and the North Korean Army seems to have fallen apart after the UN forces went on the offensive in 1950.

    In short, it's actually pretty common for the armies of totalitarian states to under-perform when fighting away from home soil and disintergrate as soon as their country comes under pressure. Armies perform badly and eventually collapse when the soldiers and/or officers don't support the cause they're fighting for. Don't assume that just because soldiers are meant to follow orders that they always do.
     
  13. Adler17

    Adler17 Prussian Feldmarschall

    Joined:
    Jun 10, 2003
    Messages:
    5,341
    Location:
    Schleswig- Holstein. Germany
    In ww2 the German propaganda towards Soviet soldiers told them every soldier surrendering was given a bottle of wine or other alcoholics. In the next days the German forces had problems with the masses of PoW being made!

    Adler
     
  14. ParkCungHee

    ParkCungHee Deity

    Joined:
    Aug 13, 2006
    Messages:
    12,921
    Tough Titties. The Kwangtung Army had to deal with the same problems with the Yangtze valley, yet I've never seen anyone rush to their defense.
    Absolute Rubbish. The Allies took no such policy in dealing with Werewolf or Fascist Partisans. In fact, This policy wasn't even accepted throughout the Axis. Mussolini wrote extensively to Hitler demanding a cessation of this Policy.
    Then why are the civilian:military casualties so skewed in Russia as compared to Germany? Why was the German Army the FIRST to recieve orders from Hitler for the extermination of the Jews?
    By this logic, The Communist Party, Red Army, and NKVD were never a source of support for Stalin, the Falange was never a source of support for Franco, and the Zaibatsu were never a source of support for the Japanese Militarists.

    False comparison, the U.S. never gave out orders that they not only were allowed to, but expected to do so. We see that in the Wehrmacht.

    Actually in the East and Southeast, the vast majority of Partisans were enlisted in the armies, merely operating behind the lines. They Held recognized military ranks within an established army structure. However, applying this policy to the Germans, I'm sure you'd be fine if we hung everyone from the SA, Marine-SA, Waffen-SS, SS, Gestapo, Ordnungpolezei, and party structure we came across. And anyone who has facial features resembling a racial stereotype (say Blonde and Blue eyed?) once we got into Germany? After all, it was justified under military law when the Wehrmacht did it.

    You mean the day that the entirety of the Wehrmacht, except for a few men, decided to side with Hitler?

    Or, evidently, then it had a few years prior, when they were sworn to uphold Constitution of the Weimar Republic. Or a few years later, when they were sworn to tell the truth when they were on trial.

    Atrocities made by groups of soldiers were rewarded handsomely.

    While its tough to judge accurately, do to intimidation, when the Nazi moved into Austria, popularity for the Austrofascists had declined, the Nazis did have the majorities support.

    This is true, but not in the way you meant it. The Lufftwaffe was ideological from the start. It was a branch of the armed forces built entirely under the Nazis, ideology was entrenched in it.

    As a rather good webcomic points out "In this instance, being guilty means you did the crime, not how you feel about it."

    No one would have cared if Hitler had reoccupied the Rhineland. It was Hitler's army that reoccupied the Rhineland. If it was all "tone madman" then I believe we could have sent one British soldier to crack him in the mouth and the whole affair would be over. The problem was that it wasn't "tone madman" but a whole nation that agreed with him.

    Do you have any photos of the crimes you've accused the soviets of? If we were to apply your absurd standard, theres no evidence of wrong doing at Kolyma?

    Thats funny, I thought Legalism was thrown out with Qin Shi Huang.

    German soldiers are not. The unification of Germany itself is tied to the fact that the German army was to be politicized. It was no less politicized in the 1930s then it was in the Wilhelmine era, and if you think they were apolitical then, you're screwier then Willy.

    I think it is Herr Von Seekt that is in need of this lecture, not us.

    Again, absolute rubbish. The Prussian Military establishment had been politicized since the days of Bismark and continued to remain so until 1945.

    Even that would yield worthwhile results. Look at Italy, the Fascist Party remains in power throughout the war, fighting for the allies.
     
  15. Eran of Arcadia

    Eran of Arcadia Stormin' Mormon Retired Moderator

    Joined:
    Oct 16, 2004
    Messages:
    23,090
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    The Sunshine and Lettuce Capital of the World
    As for Prussian military oaths:

    In November 1918, as leftist revolutions swept through Germany and the Western Front had pretty much collapsed, the kaiser got the absurd idea that he could save his throne and his empire even after an armistice with the Allies. He envisioned himself marching on Berlin at the head of his armies to re-establish order. Never mind that moral was catastrophically low, he told his advisors, the army had sworn an oath to him. At this point he was informed (I think by Groener) that the oath was at that point "just words, just an idea".

    So evidently a Prussian military oath was not so powerful as to override all other considerations.
     
  16. holy king

    holy king Deity

    Joined:
    Jan 3, 2003
    Messages:
    16,323
    Location:
    Vienna, Austria
    right, there are words and codices and there is reality....
     
  17. Adler17

    Adler17 Prussian Feldmarschall

    Joined:
    Jun 10, 2003
    Messages:
    5,341
    Location:
    Schleswig- Holstein. Germany
    @ Eran: In that days the armies were collapsed. There was nothing to use! Also I did not say that the oath was not an excuse for some but not for all. It it was just words why an oath is still used in military and in trials?

    @ Park:

    1. I am in no way an expert about the Japanese in the Far East. However some of their crimes might have been due to their inabilities to feed the PoW. Also in the infamous death marches also many Japanese guards died on exposure, too. But I am no expert here.

    2. The French threatened to kill 10 Germans for every German partisan killing a French soldier. So far to this statement. If you say rubbish to something you should inform yourself better. It was accepted in that times.

    3. Stalin also did not trust anyone. But does it mean the Red Army was not a pillar of the system? No. But what's the difference? The Wehrmacht was a pillar of the German state and not of the party or Hitler per se. It is no wonder that especially the Wehrmacht was in a leading position in the German resistance.

    4. There were such occasions in which the US did not make PoW by orders. To refuse to look it up is no argument that they did not exist.

    5. Many partisans, even soldiers, did not bear the weapon openly nor were wearing signs of belonging to a kind of militia. Thus they were not protected by the Hague conventions.

    6. The Wehrmacht did not stop the assassinators and infact many generals did not pass the contact to Hitler even if they did not supported it openly. Nearly all of them agreed if the coup was successful they would help the new order. So yes, the Wehrmacht was supporting the coup.

    7. Attrocities were punished hardly. There are many cases that even small crimes could be punished draconically. That's rubbish.

    8. The Luftwaffe fought mostly in a gallant way. No ejected fighter pilots were shot down. And so on. So tell me, who, except Rudel, was a strong Nazi of the German pilots?

    9. The point with the Rhineland was that, in the eyes of the German population, this madman was right in remilitarising it. The same can be said for Austria and the revision of Versailles. That was even accepted by the other nations. No, the problem is only that it was Hitler. Should he be stopped there? Yes. But that was the guilt of the other nations not to act here. At least in 1938. If they stayed hard Hitler would be soon history.

    10. What do you mean with the photos? I attacked the show and nothing more or less.

    11. BS! The German army was forbidden to vote, they were forbidden to take influence in the non military politics of the government and only there to fight. Do you really believe Moltke could say something to Bismarck how to deal with the social democrats?!? The army was national conservative but did not enter politics. Until about 1938...
    Indeed this absence of politics was on reason to change in 1955 but not earlier.

    13. The fascist power in Italy after the invasion of 1943 fought still with the Germans. Never heard about the Socialist Italian Republic?

    It was a pleasure for me to inform you more on German/ European history, as you have massive holes in that topic.

    Adler
     
  18. holy king

    holy king Deity

    Joined:
    Jan 3, 2003
    Messages:
    16,323
    Location:
    Vienna, Austria
    oh, thats why they ceased to be a pillar for the soviet union after stalins death and hadnt existed and been a pillar for lenin before stalin?
    hitler was the german state at that ponit, the whole state followed him including the wehrmacht and when goebbels asked them if they wanted the total war they applauded in extacy, thats the point.
    is still dont get why the crimes of other fighting parties relativate the crimes of the wehrmacht.
    you cant counter "hitler was bad!" with "but stalin was too!".

    so everybody not protected by the hague conventions was a rightless thing, that one could do anything one wanted to with?

    if "the wehrmacht" (how many members actually knew about the planned assasination? - less than 0.25 percent should be about right) really supported the plans they would have succeded. why plant a bomb? they could have easily stabbed him like the senators did with ceasar, right?

    so if you think a madman is right and even follow him, what does that make you? a good soldier holding onto his oath?

    so if the wehrmacht entered politics in 38, did they so supporting hitler?
     
  19. Eran of Arcadia

    Eran of Arcadia Stormin' Mormon Retired Moderator

    Joined:
    Oct 16, 2004
    Messages:
    23,090
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    The Sunshine and Lettuce Capital of the World
    My point was, the fact that one had sworn an oath, Prussian or not, was not sufficient to release one from the consequences of action or inaction, and that further, breaking an oath (whether to the state or an individual) would not have been unique in the annals of Prussian military history. So it is no excuse.
     
  20. C~G

    C~G Untouchable

    Joined:
    May 24, 2006
    Messages:
    4,146
    Sure, never claimed it wasn't.

    But I think you're confusing professionalism and high quality of troops that have high morale to fight with the idea they supported the cause of nazis and also completely disregard that maybe because they thought high themselves as being soldiers they didn't want to turn their guns down to the enemy their countrymen were fighting against (for whatever reasons where at root) for few years back then.

    You're completely dismissing in what kind of enviroment german soldiers grew up and not even forgetting how exactly they could have chosen to surrender in en masse before they were disintegrated.
    Probably all these sides had lot to gain from surrendering compared to germans. Of course propaganda and simple rumours of what would happen not only to soldiers but also to Germany if they would surrender affected them.
    This is probably when they have chance to surrender. In their home soil they might have not such chance. Example Hitler didn't allow the troops in Stalingrad to surrender but eventually they did, surely it took quite long time.
    And I think too that all armies have their breaking point but above all it should be noted that these individuals that surrendered probably had more to gain from surrender than from keeping fighting and they probably found a way to do it in collective fashion example through their high ranking officers.

    I would imagine it is quite hard to ordinary low ranking officers or soldiers orchestrate large surrender parties and that's why germans kept fighting. Of course it's possible they also believed that they would lose their home country for good after what had happened with Hitler.
     

Share This Page