Second world war through the lenses of German soldiers

4(T)

LE
The German State avoided some of the penalties mainly through being broke, although having it's economy sunk to a level where 1US$ cost 4,200,000,000,000 Marks and people were bartering artworks, jewellery and the like for basic foodstuffs helped drive the ferment leading to the foundation and support for the NSDAP who promised a return to a better lifestyle for everyone - and started to deliver on that. From the point of view of the 1920's & 30's German who was used to seeing their lords and masters still hunting, shooting & fishing, throwing lavish parties for their peers whilst everyone else was forced to scrape a living and borrow heavily, it's easy to see the attraction.
There's a good book on the period, 'When Money Dies'.


"When money dies" is pretty sobering reading for any economic period.

It certainly puts political events in 20s/30s central Europe into context. The hardships and tragedy endured by whole populations seems to have desensitised or even motivated them to the cruelties and pogroms that occurred later.
 

Pteranadon

LE
Book Reviewer
They photgraphed many of the horrors of the massacres they commited in the east from the day they invaded Poland. Maybe they thought those pictures would never comesto light as they would be victors.
There is display on this topic in the Russo German war museum in Berlin and it has been mentioned in many modern histories of the German experience of WW2 such as Nicholas Stargardt's The German War. The mass executions in 1941 seem to have attracted photgraphers.

I am surprised the Guardian did not pick this point up. The pictures are all happy snaps. Maybe a lack of historical knowledge on the editorial team?
 
Except they managed to escape most of them, mostly thanks to the USA and the UK.....
And a unquestioning france needing cannon fodder for Indochina. IIRC by the time 2 of the Oradour sur glane Alsatian darlings came to trial they had been decorated for Indochina service
 
That's an excellent point.
Even our Prime Minister at the time said we were laying down the foundations for the next war.
The last reparations payments were scheduled for 1988 but were, of course, restructured when Germany defaulted and could never have kept up the payments, quite apart from the reparations in kind such as hundreds of locomotives, machine tools etc.

One factoid I picked up in a previous role was that the last payment of outstanding debt arising from the Treaty of Lausanne (1923) was in 2010 - from Turkey to Deutsche Bank for debts accumulated between 1878 and 1918.
 
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Bordon/hants

Old-Salt
I lived and worked in Crete for 10 mostly very enjoyable years, got to know the people
The amount of massacres there during 3 years of German occupation was staggering.
It was not so much the total butchers bill - if compared to industrialised Extermination camps in Germany and Poland - but it was a hundred or so villages / towns and a couple of cities whose civvies were partially liquidated due to resistance in that area.

And none of it SS !

All either Falshirmjager , Mountain Div or standard German infantry Units.
We used to go there a lot on holiday, the West end of the Island though away from the commercial areas, ie. White Mountain bit where all the signposts are riddled. loads of WW2 "loud souveniers" abound, with many still being used.

Loads of Allied and German ww2 weapons including belt fed, get lit up at weddings etc., and at one local exhibition they even had a tree trunk in a glass display case riddled with holes that was used by the Germans as an execution post.

I saw another exhibition in a small town with all sorts of rare Para stuff, folding stretchers etc. from a JU52 and the usual array of Mp's and Mg's but in stunning new like condition, as were the Para bits and bobs.

One small cafe up some hill there had a Para helmet hanging from the ceiling and a 1911 and K98 nailed to the wall by the bar (this was mid 1980's)......I always wanted to know where all the United Defence M42's ended up as loads were sent there.

In the Samaria george the locals used to sell German kit to tourists, ironically very popular with Germans as well especially further north where the big Para graveyard is, still with the giant Luftwaffe Eagle statue when we used to go.

An old boy back then a few miles from Kandanos used to use a Jerry R75 BMW outfit to take feed up to his bleedin' goats, every year he was offered more for it..bet it is sold now!
 
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OneTenner

LE
Book Reviewer
I've just finished reading this
51FTiXLF41L._SX331_BO1,204,203,200_.jpg


It's a very good book for understanding how the German war machine functioned - it'll probably be of great interest to tankies and anyone who was in BAOR, there are lots of period photos, including some of the building occupied by British troops after the war.
Most of the book is devoted to the fighting on the Eastern Front, what strikes me is the ease at which decorations were awarded, seemingly just for being there in some cases. Despite the grandiose book title, there isn't any grandstanding, just matter-of-fact descriptions of actions and reactions. The descriptions of life as a tanker will, I'm sure, be familiar to ex-tankers everywhere.
 

ches

LE
I've just finished reading this
51FTiXLF41L._SX331_BO1,204,203,200_.jpg


It's a very good book for understanding how the German war machine functioned - it'll probably be of great interest to tankies and anyone who was in BAOR, there are lots of period photos, including some of the building occupied by British troops after the war.
Most of the book is devoted to the fighting on the Eastern Front, what strikes me is the ease at which decorations were awarded, seemingly just for being there in some cases. Despite the grandiose book title, there isn't any grandstanding, just matter-of-fact descriptions of actions and reactions. The descriptions of life as a tanker will, I'm sure, be familiar to ex-tankers everywhere.


Imo one of the best German participant penned books out there. Very illuminating for a historian too.
 

Pteranadon

LE
Book Reviewer
Imo one of the best German participant penned books out there. Very illuminating for a historian too.
Agreed . A good book. Post war he was a senior NATO commander and a regular veteran expert attending the Army Staff College battlefield tour to Normandy.
SSVC captured him in this video
 

Bordon/hants

Old-Salt
A Cretans collection......told you they had stashes!


Back n Thread .........."Soldaten" the book is worth a read, many accounts recorded by us when the Germans were in camps, Luftwaffe guys saying how they enjoyed shooting up civvies etc, etc,

Amazon product
 
I've just finished reading this
51FTiXLF41L._SX331_BO1,204,203,200_.jpg


It's a very good book for understanding how the German war machine functioned - it'll probably be of great interest to tankies and anyone who was in BAOR, there are lots of period photos, including some of the building occupied by British troops after the war.
Most of the book is devoted to the fighting on the Eastern Front, what strikes me is the ease at which decorations were awarded, seemingly just for being there in some cases. Despite the grandiose book title, there isn't any grandstanding, just matter-of-fact descriptions of actions and reactions. The descriptions of life as a tanker will, I'm sure, be familiar to ex-tankers everywhere.
Ive just finished it myself. It's very good. Vignettes like moaning about rain leaking into the turrets of the Tigers or how they managed to drag Tigers out of mud. Great insight. The undercurrent I got from it is that his aristo background didnt hurt a bit and he spent a considerable time away from some of the Eastern war, albeit in recovery from wounds and on courses. In fairness, he fought in and survived Kursk and Goodwood and was probably glad he wasn't in a Panzer IV. Comes across as a bit coy about the atrocities and the fate of Russian and French civvies, though. At least, there isnt the concerted moaning about how hard they had it after the war. Worth a look. Three and a half track links out of five.
 
A Cretans collection......told you they had stashes!


Back n Thread .........."Soldaten" the book is worth a read, many accounts recorded by us when the Germans were in camps, Luftwaffe guys saying how they enjoyed shooting up civvies etc, etc,

Amazon product
Excellent read. Kinda takes the fanbois' gloss off the Luftwaffe, especially when a 109 pilot brags about strafing a wedding.
 

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