Storm of Steel - Ernst Junger

  • Thread starter bokkatankie
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Have just read this.

Picked it up at an Airport had never seen or heard of it before. A truly remarkable account of a German Officer in the First World War. The introduction (by the translator) is equally interesting.

No poetry, no winging, just a first hand account of the horrors and comradeship that trench warfare spawned.


Iron Cross, First Clas, Oak Leaves and Pour le Merit (Blue Max).

He was also injured 11 times and had more than 20 scars as a result. Never winged about getting gassed and seemed to be back in action pdq. no trips to Kraiglocheart (sp?) for him.
I read this book in German (it's called "Stahlgewitter") some years ago and found it absolutely mesmerising. In fact, I've still got it in my bookcase. I didn't know it had been translated into English, but I'll definitely be getting it. I hope the translation's up to scratch.

Storm of Steel was popular with nationalists, veterans groups such as Stahlhelm, and the Nazis in the post-1918 period, but ironically Junger was involved with the July '44 bomb plot. He saw service during the Second World War, and, if memory serves, lost a son in action. His biography - Ernst Junger and Germany: Into the Abyss 1914-1945 by Thomas Nevin - is worth a look at.
Didn't know Junger was involved in the July plot but knew that his book formed part of the Weimar intellectual climate from which Nazism emerged. Obviously, Junger was not responsible for what some of his readers did but his evocations of wartime comradeship and dramatisation (some would say glorification) of violence appealed to many of the 'Front Generation' who later found the SA and SS appealing. Hopefully now those associations have faded the book can receive fairer evaluations and not just be condemned as a proto-Nazi tract.


I read this a few years ago and found it quite engaging. However, the key bit is that the author was reported as having enjoyed the war which goes against the conventional wisdom of 'war is hell', etc. He must have been amongst the 1% who do. Secondly, he only died a few years ago, 2001 I think. I remember seeing his obituary in the Torygraph and being impressed that his life spanned three centuries.

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