EBOOK The German War A Nation Under Arms By Nicholas Stargardt – dugisits.co.za


  • Hardcover
  • 704
  • The German War A Nation Under Arms
  • Nicholas Stargardt
  • English
  • 16 February 2020
  • 9780465018994

Summary The German War A Nation Under Arms

Download The German War A Nation Under Arms 109 Free read ´ E-book, or Kindle E-pub í Nicholas Stargardt Summary The German War A Nation Under Arms To answer this uestion He offers an unprecedented portrait of wartime Germany bringing the hopes and expectations of the German people from infantrymen and tank commanders on the Eastern front to civilians on the home front to vivid life While most historians identify the German defeat at Stalingrad as the moment when the average Germ. One of those oft asked but never answered uestions Just what the hell were the Germans thinkinguite often it would appear the answer would appear to be why us Nicholas Stargardt attempts to puncture the myth of a nation of Good Germans victimised as bystanders in a war they neither wanted not supported through the examination of the experiences of German civilians and members of the military often using the experiences of families both at home and on the front lineThe book is eminently accessible very readable and makes no bones that at least knowledge of if not actual participation in war crimes was widespread especially in the East and that this knowledge filtered back to the homefront where people were pooling snippets of knowledge about the persecution of the Jews to build an incomplete inaccurate only in the actual details picture of the Final Solution Indeed by 1943 the building intensity of the British bombing campaign was blamed on Anglo Jewish revenge for German Jewish policy an awful lot of things seem to be the fault of the British tooThe effect and subtlety of propaganda is also finely balanced in determining how the attitudes of the population could be manipulated and freuent examination of SD reports into public attitudes and how they have reacted to Goebels propaganda pepper the bookThe final chapter with the post war period the failure of the various de Nazification programmes and the ridiculously rapid adoption of a cult of victimisation amongst the German populace often ignoring or turning on its head the actual treatment meted out by Germans the bombing war being a case in pointFinely balanced who d have thought that the Gestapo balanced their investigations with examinations of the motives and backgrounds of the purple they were investigating this is an excellent 5 read One everyone ought to pick up

Free read ´ E-book, or Kindle E-pub í Nicholas StargardtThe German War A Nation Under Arms

Download The German War A Nation Under Arms 109 Free read ´ E-book, or Kindle E-pub í Nicholas Stargardt Summary The German War A Nation Under Arms As early as 1941 Allied victory in World War II seemed all but assured How and why then did the Germans prolong the barbaric conflict for three and a half yearsIn The German War acclaimed historian Nicholas Stargardt draws on an extraordinary range of primary source materials personal diaries court records and military correspondence. Germany suffered a lot during World War II As many as 5 million soldiers died As many as 700000 civilians were killed Thousands civilians died or were relocated during territorial dislocations at war s end Hundreds of cities were bombed millions of homes were lost These are all hard facts Also a fact the Germans started it This bears repeating The Germans started it On the surface this statement has all the ethical weight of a playground argument between five year olds But I think it is actually a profound moral condemnation It was the Germans who gobbled up Austria and Czechoslovakia It was Germany that invaded Poland and divvied it up with Stalin It was Germany that passed anti Semitic racial laws who euthanized the infirm and disabled and sent undesirables to concentration camps It was the Germans who murdered 6 million Jews and killed millions Soviet civilians It was the Germans who had a plan for world domination that would have made Cobra Commander envious Germany suffered Germany reaped what they sowed This is the difficult balance that has to be struck when writing about the German experience of World War II To empathize with the human suffering while always recognizing that it did not occur in a vacuum Some modern historians have difficulty with this tension For instance in J rg Friedrich s The Fire The Bombing of Germany 1940 1945 the systematic air war conducted against Germany is presented outside its historical context There is never a mention about why the Allies might be bombing Germany Only that it occurred and it was horrible If you d never read a single thing about World War II and only Friedrich s book you d be fully justified in labeling the Allies as the most terrible fiends to ever draw a breath The great accomplishment of Nicholas Stargardt s The German War A Nation Under Arms 1939 1945 is that it perfectly walks this moral tightrope It manages to look at World War II from the perspective of individual Germans it gives voice to their own trials and tribulations but it never lets them off the hook Rather by the end Stargardt delivers a uietly powerful indictment on the ordinary German You will not find the mythical good German here the German ignorant of Hitler s plans the German trying to swim against an evil tide Instead you find people who knew the parameters of their nation s crimes who either participated in them or knew someone who did and who showed enough commitment to fight a six year war against incredible odds The German War begins in 1939 with the Wehrmacht poised to swarm across the Polish border Unlike the exuberance of 1914 the public response to Hitler s invasion is chiefly anxiety The German public had been on a knife s edge as their Fuhrer conducted a high stakes game of chicken with Great Britain and France Up until this point Hitler s gambles had paid off bloodlessly especially with the infamous Munich Conference That streak ended with Poland This war according to Stargadt was unwelcome especially for those with memories of 1918 That public sentiment started to change when the Wehrmacht smashed Poland before Great Britain or France could lift a finger to stop them It changed even when the Sitzkrieg ended with Germany rumbling through the Low Countries toppling France and sending England racing back across the Channel Suddenly the Germans were the masters of Europe The German people were now part of a momentum that could only end with their total domination or absolute ruin The German War is first and foremost a people s history Stargardt s main focus is on the ordinary soldiers and civilians who lived through this time He cares about things like rationing morale and the limits of endurance To that end he follows roughly twenty people throughout the course of the war and supplements their story arcs with many other personal accounts culled from diaries letters and postwar interviews You meet young soldiers in the heady early days of the war as they bask in the golden sunlight of occupied France you follow civilians on the homefront as they spend their Christmas huddled around crackling radios listening to radio broadcasts from a besieged Stalingrad intercut with a rendition of Stille Nacht and finally you view the hellish collapse as traitors are hanged from trees as young boys are dragooned into service to fight the Soviet steamroller and as Germany crumbles and burnsThe trick with a book like this is not simply doing primary source research It is in choosing the best primary sources to highlight Stargardt excels at this He has found compelling people to follow sometimes to their graves At times he manages to achieve an extraordinary level of intimacy For instance he devotes space to the love letters between Robert and his wife Mia Robert was stationed in East Prussia well away from the main action Bored and frustrated he tried to convince his wife to exchange dirty letters Robert took the lead with a saucy reminiscence in which he referred to his penis as both my giver of joy and my little mouse As in my little mouse was shaking with joy Later he tries to convince his wife to masturbate Yes folks I m telling you there s a passage on Nazi era proto sexting Stargardt also cleverly relies on the use of reports from the Sicherheitsdienst SD the Nazi s security service The SD spent a lot of time taking the weather of the German populace They listened to what people were saying and then typed those observations into reports that were then filed Which is such a German thing to do It is of course impossible to know exactly how everyone felt about any one thing These reports however provide a pretty good way to generalize the German mood It also demonstrates some odd fixations which are the hallmark of the Nazi regime The SD was uite worried for instance about teenage sexual indiscretions in the absence of fathers who were away at the front Stargardt s narrative maintains a rough overall chronology that takes you through the war years Certain chapters however are thematic in nature and allows Stargardt to explore certain issues at greater depth One of these chapters for example deals with the Holocaust This is one of the great uestions of World War II How much did the German nation know In Stargardt s telling they knew a lot He uotes letters from soldiers on the Eastern Front who witness the atrocities of the Einsatzgruppen Some of these eyewitnesses are shocked most are able to overcome their revulsion due to their belief that this is for the greater good Despite the censors a lot of these men took pictures which they then sent home to be developed In this way rumors circulated on the homefront about Germany s appalling crimes Stargardt also spends a good deal of time on the Allied air war against German cities Whatever else we might say about the air campaign its morality its effectiveness it certainly served to cohere German resistance to the bitter end For a totalitarian state the Nazi Party proved surprisingly responsive to the needs of its people With great alacrity it provided assistance with food and shelter thereby binding people and Party A book like this centered as it is on the experiences of ordinary people runs the risk confusion The old forest verses the trees conundrum You need a proper framework to avoid getting lost in the details Stargardt does an excellent job accomplishing this by seamlessly transitioning between the Nazi leadership at the top and the man and woman on the street On one page Stargardt will explain how Nazi Propaganda Minister Joseph Goebbels kept pushing for Germany to engage in total war on the next page he will show what that phrase actually meant for a typical German civilian On one page you will read about a Nazi Party measure to boost civilian confidence on the next page you get to read an SD report on how that measure went over This is a book that s going to appeal mainly to readers already invested in World War II It is not a battlefield history indeed mention of battle is secondary to Stargardt s story To that end it s helpful to have a rough outline of the war s ebb and flow before embarking on this volume The German War also does not attempt to be comprehensive There is almost no mention of North Africa or Italy with most of the action centered on Western Europe and the Eastern Soviet Front At the same time this doesn t read like a book aimed solely at WWII enthusiasts It is well structured easy to follow and compellingly written It is not a World War II story but a human one Stargardt does not set out to demonize the German people He recognizes the difficult choices that each person had to make Imagine after all saying no to your country But he also makes clear that there is no easy separation between German and Nazi As though Nazis were an alien species This is important because history is cyclical As Stargardt notes in a concluding chapter there was a lot of German self pity in the years directly following the end of the war The Cold War gave a lot of Germans including ex Nazis the cover they needed to return to normal life often with bitterness at the way they d been handled by the Allies It reuired a different German generation to take responsibility for the crimes they inflicted against the world Today in stark contrast to Japan who refuses to acknowledge their atrocities in China Germany vigorously assumes responsibility for the Holocaust Yet there are signs that is changing Watch for instance the German miniseries Generation War which peddles the notion that it was a few bad apples that spoiled the bunch The German War does a masterful job in exploring the experience of the German people and also their culpability

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Download The German War A Nation Under Arms 109 Free read ´ E-book, or Kindle E-pub í Nicholas Stargardt Summary The German War A Nation Under Arms An citizen turned against the war effort Stargardt demonstrates that the Wehrmacht in fact retained the staunch support of the patriotic German populace until the bitter endAstonishing in its breadth and humanity The German War is a groundbreaking new interpretation of what drove the Germans to fight and keep fighting for a lost cause. I chose this book hoping to get a better understanding of why the German people went to war and fought so desperately hard right to the end for what many of them thought at the time was a bad cause or at least a cause unlikely to succeed I learned a bit of the answer but certainly not as much as I was hoping to I lived in Germany for three years in the 1980 s and a very close friend s wife is German I have dealt with Germans on an ongoing basis for work for the last 25 years so I think I understand them a bit There is a uote from Goethe I have often felt a bitter sorrow at the thought of the German people which is so estimable in the individual and so wretched in the generality Germans really do fit the stereotype of being reliable punctual hard working and so on or they did in my experience And they are rule followers Hitler knew this and he used it to wreck Europe Germany included but this does not absolve the Germans of responsibility for the war and the book reveals this in the words of the people who lived through 1939 45Stargardt starts his account in 1939 with the invasion of Poland by the Wehrmacht but anyone wanting to learn the context must go back to the militarization of the Rhineland the Anschluss with Austria and finally the negotiated acuisition by Hitler of the Sudetenland followed by the occupation of the rump Czech lands Fortunately I recently finished a history of the Habsburg Empire which helped me understand the pre WW1 antecedents eg why there were German colonies in the Sudetenland Poland Hungary Romania and elsewhere Hitler leveraged the presence of these ethnic Germans to fabricate claims in the east but generally Hitler was fairly direct about his desire for Lebensraum and he forthrightly declared that might makes right and that he would eradicate Poles and later Russians to create new German states The author uses excerpts from hundreds of letters from ordinary Germans to show what they were thinking at the time and he weaves in data from German government polls and surveys conducted during the war to illustrate the national mood With few exceptions Stargardt does not cover battles in detail but he gives the flow of events context through the letters One thing it is easy to forget is that in 1939 the Great Depression was still had Germany firmly in its grip and countries poverty increased the further east one went So while Germans were astounded by the bounty they found in France real butter real coffee they were eually appalled by the conditions in which they found Russians living The letters reveal what historians have pointed out Stalin had so mistreated his people that Germans were often greeted as liberators until the SS showed up to deal with rear area security There were at least two ways in which Hitler threw away any chance of victory in Russia first he started his invasion at least a month too late so that the Russian winter stopped the Wehrmacht before it could get to Moscow and second the harsh treatment murder of the Russians in the territories occupied by German forces meant the Wehrmacht was always hamstrung by the need to secure its rear areas against partisan attacks A third way he ensured defeat is that Hitler s Armies were in no way prepared for the Russian winter or for the logistical challenges of supplying themselves over the thousand mile distances from the Reich to the front linesAt times one feels for the average German who perhaps did not even support Hitler and it is a fact that the majority of Germans did not vote for him for Chancellor in 1933 but felt duty bound to answer his call up notice and report for service in the Army But then a comment will emerge from a page of a letter about the necessity to deal with the Jews or Poles or Russians or even something explicitly worded about killing the lesser races and that sympathy collapses As the war went on Germans began to feel perhaps rightly that having mounted the tiger it was best to remain in the saddle than to try to get off But a few disagreed I chuckled at the story of a German veteran of the invasion of Poland and the Battle of France a grizzled sergeant who was sent to the Russian front As his unit made its way east this NCO talked to and German soldiers returning from the front who explained how bad it was Finally the sergeant said to himself this is just too stupid and he slipped away from his unit and headed west using his gruff laconic veteran NCO exterior to bluff his way all the way back to Germany He then boarded a train whose route came close to the Swiss border where he jumped the train crossed into Switzerland and turned himself in His answer to the Swiss interrogators as to why he deserted was simple I saw no reason to die in Russia He lived out the war in Switzerland and then returned to his farm in Austria where he lived and farmed for another sixty years unrepentant for deserting In the general population however a significant drop off in support for the Nazi Party did not come until 1945 when it was becoming clear that the war was lostDespite a handful of resistors like The White Rose group and the July 20th plotters the majority followed orders even when the orders included shooting civilians including children Feelings of shame for their actions finally began to emerge as the war ground on in the letters soldiers sent home to wives and sweethearts In fairness one must remember how the Nazis dealt with backsliders in the US conscientious objectors during WW2 had the option to become medics in Germany they were executed In the US Army in WW2 one 1 soldier was shot for desertion in Germany at least 50000 deserters were shot and it is likely the number was higher So if one chose to follow one s conscience death was likely to attend your steps as they say Germans also fought because they felt they were protecting their country from the Asiatic hordes and they had seen enough of how Stalin treated his own people to know how he would treat Germans But the reason the German Army survived the winter of 1941 42 in Russia was the inherent grit and sense of duty of common German soldiers even in the face of inadeuate food clothing and euipment After the failure to take Moscow and with the entry of the US into the war in December 1941 the war was effectively over as Charles de Gaulle declared on the day he learned that Japan had bombed Pearl Harbor but Germany would not let it be over for three and a half years Some Germans were disgusted enough by the wanton killing of prisoners Jews and other marginalized groups to say so in their letters but a vanishingly small number were willing to act And even if the July 20 1944 plot to kill Hitler had succeeded it is likely that Himmler or Bormann would have taken charge uashed the plotters and the war would have gone onAnd so then the Holocaust This is the hardest thing to understand I must find a book to explain anti semitism to me because I don t understand it A major finding in the contemporary letters by Stargardt and others is that Germans did know what was happening to the Jews perhaps not in detail but they knew they were being killed exterminated not re settled as the Nazis claimed initially The letters reveal this knowledge over and over in lesser or greater detail and it was most clear in the last year of the war when many letters expressed the belief that Germany was being punished for what we did to the Jews It was not until years after the war in Richard von Weisacker s famous speech of 1985 that a high official of Germany accepted full responsibility for what happened to the Jews whereas in the ten to twenty years following the war there were concerted efforts to conceal the extent of the collaboration of the people with their leaders in the Final Solution There were a small number of Germans during the war who refused to believe that such things are really being done but that was willful ignorance They knewAs the war entered its last year the German Army finally felt the massive resources of the Allies begin to crush them There has been a lot of nonsense written about German miracle weapons like the V2 and jet fighters and Tiger tanks Did the Germans have some very high uality weapons Yes but such weapons are useless without the fuel to run them the pilots to fly them or ability to manufacture them in significant numbers Exempli gratia the Germans built 2000 Tiger Tanks in WW2 but the Russians built 64000 T 34 tanks and the US built 50000 Sherman tanks The German fighters were handily outclassed by American P 51 fighters in both uality and numbers Virtually every U boat which left harbor after 1943 was destroyed because Germany had lost its surface navy and the sheer numbers of Allied vessels made each U boat sortie a suicide mission As one German arms ministry director said by January 1945 the German effort against the Allies was not really a war it was an imitation of a war The Germans never developed an arms industry eual to the task that Hitler had set the nation to performBy the way in a truly impartial post war court not only would Nazis have gone to the gallows but Air Chief Marshal Sir Arthur Harris and Churchill would have been convicted of war crimes for at least the bombing of Dresden if not many other cities In the case of Dresden they knew knew for certain that there was no military reason for destroying that city Even Churchill called it a terror bombing Nothing justifies the incineration of children not even when the parents of those children may have incinerated Jews or others If killing children is not a crime then nothing is a crime It is a sad fact that than 50% of all civilian deaths from bombing in Germany occurred in the last six months of the war when everyone knew that Germany was already defeatedOne of the things that resonated with me is the degree to which many educated German soldiers fell back on literature and poetry as a key spiritual support to get them through whatever horrendous experience they found themselves in Many many soldiers remembered poetry from Holderlin uotes from Goethe arias from Mozart to help them cope Sadly this love of culture did not seem to increase their compassion or empathy or at least not enoughSo why did the Germans fight for six long years In the beginning because Hitler told them to and most people initially had confidence in Hitler who up until 1941 had always been a successful gambler Later they fought because they knew they had to defeat Russia to prevent the destruction of Germany via retribution And in some ways they fought because it became a habit after years of war Such a sad vicious circle and such disgusting ringmasters in the form of the Nazi leadership The only analog in American history is the Civil War in which the South fought for a cause which was demonstrably wrong and eually unlikely to succeed perhaps that is a starting point for Americans trying to understand the German point of view