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Glamorization of the Wehrmacht

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

  1. nonconformist

    nonconformist Miserable

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    I read Beevor's Stalingrad recently, so instead of giving opinion, I'm just gonna give some direct quotes from various characters:

    From Erich von Manstein, your archetypal "good German":
    General Hermann Hoth:

    One of the msot telling was an order from Reichenau's Sixth Army Group Headquarters in August 1941:
     
  2. Evil Tyrant

    Evil Tyrant Eccentric Dictator

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    Why should the Wehrmacht surrender or overthrow Hitler? Germany's treatment after WWI pissed off most Germans, that is why an extremist like Hitler was able to take power in the first place. The allies are demanding unconditional surrender, and after Versailles, most Germans probably feared that if they surrendered this time, Germany would be destroyed completely. That has a way of motivating people to fight to the very end, until they cannot fight anymore. Hitler's propaganda also portrayed him as the savior of the country, and most people probably bought into that after bringing them out of depression and the Blitzkrieg.

    The generals who tried to assassinate him saw the real Hitler more clearly than the average soldier would have, and being generals would have a clearer view of just how badly the war was going. Even then, they were still doing this out of patriotism. They realized Hitler was leading Germany down the tubes, and they thought they could do better in running the war and negotiating at least a tolerable peace for Germany. Not everyone saw Hitler's failings, and if they did, many had their fears calmed by Nazi propaganda. Most Germans were probably more concerned about Germany's survival, so they just did what the government said would help save the country. The same way Americans, British, and Russians did what their governments told them to do.
     
  3. Provolution

    Provolution Sage of Quatronia

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    Yes, nazism was widespread in Germany, but the Americans rooted it out in a nice fashion. Kind of shame that nazism was contageous, as elements in the US state apparatus picked up some inspiration.
     
  4. ParkCungHee

    ParkCungHee Deity

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    Even if the French threatened to do so, did they? And pointing to one other country hardly disproves my point that the major allied powers, as well as Germany's own allies, rejected this.

    That you refuse to present it is. If America was interested in behaving as the Germans did, you would not be here to have this conversation.

    And the fact that many partisans DID wear uniforms, and carry weapons but merely operated in the rear areas of the German lines, and were treated no diferently, tells that the Germans didn't give two damns about the hague convention. It also should be remembered that the German definition of a partisan included all Jews automatically, as well as anyone who "looked Jewish".

    The Coup did not succeed because the Wehrmacht did not act. The supporters of the coup called upon the army to act and arrest members of the Nazi government, they did the very opposite.

    Welll I estimate then, that there should be at least 10 million executions in the German army for maltreatment of Soviet Civilians alone. If there was such harsh punishment for crimes, Germany would not have an army to field.

    Ah yes, but they gallantly hung those pilots when they got on the Ground. Strong Nazi's are easy to find in the Luftwaffe, Ernst Udet, Walther Wever, Albert Kesselring, etc. etc. etc.

    The point being that the guilt is upon the whole German nation, not just one madman.

    Are you seriously going to claim that the Military was not involved in politics during the Wilhelmine era? That politics didn't play a role in the Kapp Putsch? Are you going to deny that the army was aware in advance of, and took an active role in the Night of the Long Knives, and actually asked for it to happen in exchange for the Siegfried oath?

    facepalm.jpeg
    First of all it was the Italian Social Republic, not socialist (Repubblica Sociale Italiana).
    More importantly, I said the Fascist Party not Mussolini. In 1943, the Fascist Grand Council, Gran Consiglio del Fascismo voted Mussolini out of power. The allied government headed by Pietro Badoglio was, with only a few exceptions the Italian government that had entered the war in 1940. Dino Grandi, Pietro Badoglio, etc. were all extremely important members of the Fascist movement, and continued to run occupied Italy for the allies, as members of the ruling Fascist Party.

    While we're on this topic, you might recall (or more likely, not) that after this, members of the CCVN and Italian Military who sided with the Fascist Party were then gathered up by the Wehrmacht and sent to Concentration camps, not POW camps, even during the period in which the Kingdom of Italy had declared neutrality, rather then enter on the Allied side.

    No need, I've already read the Goebells diaries.
     
  5. Lotus49

    Lotus49 Emperor

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    Everyone was killing everyone, but the Germans were a little more enthusiastic about it because they really needed to exercise all that frustration out of their system from being so badly screwed over after the last war.

    I say we cut 'em a break, and move on. Lessons learned.
     
  6. Case

    Case The horror, the horror

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    The German soldiers of WW2 lived through the 1920s and/or 1930s, so they were aware of the circumstances in which the Nazis came to power - and probably were from families which didn't support the Nazis - and/or how the Nazis miss-governed Germany.
     
  7. Case

    Case The horror, the horror

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    I'd add that the German Army seems to have gone along with Hitler's order to shoot any uniformed Allied commandos who were taken prisoner.

    The German Army also basically ran Germany during the later years of WW1.
     
  8. frob2900

    frob2900 Deity

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    Yeah, but that's not political, it's just being poor sports. You can bet they (the boys in field-grey) had a legitimate beef with the commandos.
     
  9. Case

    Case The horror, the horror

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    No it's not - a policy of shooting POWs is a very serious war crime and a black mark on the German Army's reputation. I believe that a number of Germans were hanged after the war for this (for example, the British SAS formed a number of specialised investigative parties which searched Germany for people involved with shooting members of the SAS during the war).

    Being beaten or having ones friends killed doesn't make it legal to kill prisoners. Soldiers from all armies kill prisoners in the heat of battle, but deliberetly murdering POWs after they surrendered is something else altogether.
     
  10. ParkCungHee

    ParkCungHee Deity

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    Herr Adler seems to be uninformed on this matter.
     
  11. West 36

    West 36 Can count up to 4

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    They were the perfect enemy. You can't get much more evil than that, their leader had qualities that made him distinguishable from the rest. and a mustache that only Charlie Chaplin could also rock. They're uniforms, weapons, technology were all cool looking, apparently. They at least thought about a lot of strange, new, almost ludicrous ideas- huge tanks, space flight, and the good ol' jet engine. A relatively small country took on most of the world, and almost got away with it, if it hadn't been for those meddling allies. They were, too some, the perfect army, one of glory and honor, so people want to be apart of that. At the same time, they are one of if not the image that comes to mind when people picture evil. They are the enemy everyone loves to hate. This makes them the perfect adversary in many ways, and thats why they fit the antagonist role in many films, books, etc. So people want a part of that. To be the almost, that awesome power that put the earth on edge. Of course, if these people were alive at the time, they'd hate them with a passion, and live in fear, hoping that world domination would never happen. Fight for or against them emits strong emotions. Plus 'what-if' scenarios give people hard-ons, and these guys were full of 'em.
     
  12. Adler17

    Adler17 Prussian Feldmarschall

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    @ Holy King:

    Hitler was the "Führer". However the army was never part of the NSDAP or related groups. It was a state's organ in contrast to the SS, which became the party's army. In Russia the Red Army was also part of the party.
    And Goebbels was talking to chosen men and partly even actors to jubilee. That was a big show.

    Also I never relativated by saying the others did as well. I only said the others were also guilty. That does not justify the Germans nor the other way round. Don't take it out of the context.

    If someone was not protected as soldier or member of a militia under the Hague conventions he could be dealt as Saboteur or spy. And hanging is in that case in most countries at this time the punishement for that deeds. So the killing of the partisans was no crime.

    If all relevant commanders agree to follow the new order after a coup you have a kind of support. That happened on July 20th.

    Also even Hitler did not only make mad things. But he indeed tried to ger support. And in that days it was a good thing to get support by dissolving Versailles. I can't see anything bad in that, except being Hitler the one harvesting that others sowed.

    At last with 1938 I meant the first assassination plot the Wehrmacht was involved in.

    Adler
     
  13. Adler17

    Adler17 Prussian Feldmarschall

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    An oath was seen by many as something holy, untouchable. Thus some could not do this because of their background. That this oath was nothing worse because of the circumstances is another thing. But many even though felt they could not act. Also breaking oaths is not very common in Prussian history. Not following orders is another thing though.

    Adler
     
  14. Adler17

    Adler17 Prussian Feldmarschall

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    @nonconformitist: I never said that all generals did not follow Hitler's orders in regard of the attrocities.

    @provolution: Nazims was not widely spread. The party was widely spread, but not Nazism.

    @ Park:

    1. They did not do that, at least to my knowledge. But that did not mean they said this without willing to do so.

    2. Canicatti massacre, Chenonge massacre. I do not have time to find out more atm.

    3. Many partisans did not wear uniforms and beared weapons openly.

    4. The Wehrmacht did not act, but at this moment the coup had already failed.

    5. Pilots were soldomly hung and seldomly killed by the mob. That happened in England, too.

    6. A nation can't be guilty. Only single persons can.

    7. Some generals were involved in the Kapp putsch and not the Reichswehr. The same has to be said for political involevements before. But that were then single cases and in general there was no involvement of the army. And the "Röhm putsch" was mostly made by the SS or Gestapo.

    8. You believe one source is enough?

    @ Case:

    1. Most of the soldiers of 1939-1935 were 16- 20 years old when going into war. Most of them did not interest for politics and were unaware of the bad sides. Even the parents might have hided that to protect them (like my great grandfather did).

    2. To shoot commandos was a warcrime but also done by the Allies.

    Adler
     
  15. ParkCungHee

    ParkCungHee Deity

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    So let me get this straight, you're idea of "acceptable practice by all sides" is for one side to participate in it, and a minor player for the other side to threaten to do it, but never did so.

    See, just as I suspected. I ask for a case war orders went out, you follow up with a relatively minor war crime of soldiers acting without orders. I asked when did the U.S. order its troops to execute civilians or POWs.

    Argument ad Nauseum.
    Argument ad Nauseum.
    Argument ad Nauseum.
    Argument ad Nauseum.
    Argument ad Nauseum.
    Argument ad Nauseum.
    Argument ad Nauseum.
    Argument ad Nauseum.
    Argument ad Nauseum.
    Argument ad Nauseum.
    Argument ad Nauseum.
    Argument ad Nauseum.
    Argument ad Nauseum.
    Argument ad Nauseum.
    Argument ad Nauseum.
    Argument ad Nauseum.
    Argument ad Nauseum.
    Argument ad Nauseum.
    Argument ad Nauseum.
    Argument ad Nauseum.

    Because they refused to take part in it! This is circular reasoning.

    Wrong. Orders came down from Hitler himself to hang captured American pilots.

    No, but the Reichswehr decided to selectively ignore the orders of the Chancelor, and they would disagree with you. After all, "Reichswehr do not shoot Reichswehr"
    Who were acting as part of a deal made with the army!

    No, I'm saying I believe I've heard all of this before.
     
  16. Case

    Case The horror, the horror

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    Really? When did the Allied leadership issue orders that Axis special forces were to be executed? Seeing as the Axis didn't even have much in the way of special forces this doesn't seem at all likely.

    The only time I know of the Allies deliberetly killing captured Axis special forces was when the German Commandos who got caught wearing Allied uniforms during the battle of the Bulge were executed after being court-matrialed for violating the laws of warfare.
     
  17. nonconformist

    nonconformist Miserable

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    I once read an American's account about when they were vetting surrendered Wehrmacht when deciding who to hand over to the Russians, and he said that the way they told was to look through the Landers' possessioins, and those having fought on the Eastern Front would almost certainly have photgraphs of hangings and executions.


    The Night of the Long Knives was committed by the army, which had sold itself to the Nazis in order to gain higher precedence. The army sold itself out in 1934.
     
  18. holy king

    holy king Deity

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    hitler and the nsdap actually were the state after 33. germany became a one party system and hitler dictator, the wehrmacht was germany's army. i dont see the difference here.
    alright and the goebbels thing was polemical, sorry...

    im not sure what the context was, why are you arguing about possible french and american warcrimes (that never happened on a large scale, and were not ordered as far as known) during a discussion about the wehrmacht?

    legalism is a dangerous ideology/philosophy if you ask me...you cant take the events out of every social, humanitarian and political context, just because they were not illegal according to the existing laws at that time.

    dissolving versailles by taking over the rhineland, the sudetenland and austria, building up a much larger army than allowed and saving germany's economy by building up this army for only one reason: starting a second world war and the conquest of significant parts of europe, northern africa and the middle east, while cooking up antisemitism and prosecuting jews, roma, sinti, socialists, challenged people etc. are the deeds of a mad man and a mad system, and most of germany's population and the wehrmacht followed blindly or even happily.
    an oath is just words, starting a world war and later taking part in the holocaust and ordered war crimes (and the slaughtering of partisans and civilians which wasnt a crime per law) on a large scale isnt particularly something you can later justify by claiming "my oath told me not to care about that, i just did what i was ordered"
     
  19. joycem10

    joycem10 Deity

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    Does anyone else find the arguments that Germany was the first victim of Austria because Hitler was Austrian to be delusional verging on insane?
     
  20. holy king

    holy king Deity

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    it is, but i was never stated in that way and i think not 100 percent seriously.

    adler just tried to say that it would be more true to say that germany was austria's victim than the other way round, while both statements are NOT true.
    debatable, but the main question is if it isnt debating about such a strange construct thats verging on insane ;-).
     

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