Stephen G. Fritz. Frontsoldaten: The German Soldier in World War II. Lexington: University Press of Kentucky, x + pp. $ (cloth), ISBN. In exploring the reality of the Landser, the average German soldier in World War II, through letters, diaries, memoirs, and oral histories, Stephen G. Fritz provides. Frontsoldaten: The German Soldier in World War II. Stephen G. Fritz, Author University Press of Kentucky $ (p) ISBN
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Soldiers, Civilians, and the Death of the Third Reich attempts to: Because of the multitude of external factors, experiences and emotions-during combat and during lulls in the fighting-described and analyzed by Fritz, it is difficult to summarize and critique his book in a short review. Still, most chapters are clear and well structured while some appeared to me confusing and without a clear organization they could have been broken down into independent chapters devoted to only one of the various concepts.
Some concepts such frontsodlaten the Nazification of much of the regular non-SS troops still controversial and debated todaythe affirmation of the Landser’s existence hhe the feeling of camaraderie, and the importance of the Volksgemeinschaft ideal appear frequently throughout the book and become repetitive. There are enough different aspects to this book that most should find some portions of it interesting but few will find the entire book interesting.
For example I was not greatly interested in the description of the effects of rain, mud, snow, cold, heat, pests. What I found more frontsooldaten were: In summary, I liked most of the book and would recommend it, but only to those interested in trying to understand what motivated the Landser of WWII.
Kindle Edition Verified Purchase. The author gives a very good account of the Nazi party and regime’s contribution to the mental and spiritual or emotional development of the frontline German soldiers and the incredible degree of unit cohesion that characterized the Wehrmacht. The western allies had nothing comparable to the pre-military training the Nazis employed – first, the Hitler Youth, then the labor force, let alone what appears to have been extremely effective ideological indoctrination.
The book does not cover in any detail the professional German military’s contribution – military training and tactics, nor does it discuss in detail actual combat at any level above the individual and small unit levels. Since it is primarily an analysis of the individual German soldier from a psychological perspective, it makes extensive use of letters from soldiers on the Eastern Front.
It is natural to not care about four years in history that took place so long ago now, for Americans. And that made things much easier for the Americans and the British.
I love most war and especially ww2 material, but this was just so tedious. The material was there, the execution was not. I simply couldn’t maintain interest and had to put in a monumental effort to finish. Perhaps this has more of an appeal to others, but I felt this work was sterile, dull and very repetitive. Maybe those who have never frontsldaten Forgotten Soldier by Sajer would have found it better? Fritz does a remarkable job of painting a picture of the iu German infantry soldier or Landser by pulling quotes from diaries, letters and interviews.
The young men who marched to war under the swastika were motivated, well trained and indeed raised to carry the ideology of the Reich to their enemies. This book does not paint a glorious picture of the Germans, nor does it make the average soldier look like a war criminal.
Nor does it glorify war and destruction. Some of the quotes from the front are remarkably poignant and insightful, especially when one considers the conditions under which they were written and by young men besides. There are two reasons that I did not give this book 5 stars, they are: No photographs, even simple photographs to put faces frontsoldxten the voices in this book would have been incredibly powerful.
The photo on the cover of the book is of an SS troop you can see the edge of the emblem under the knife hiltwhich Mr. Fritz claims is different than the average Landser. Two many quotes from the same people are recycled.
Fritz uses some of the arguably better quotes 2 or awr times in the text. With as many Landsers as were involved in the war, it seems that other voices could have been added to this text to make the points necessary. Guy Sajer is quoted many times, which is a shame since he already has a published voice, so many others do not.
This book also helps to understand how so many fell under the spell of Hitler, when viewed from below, so many of the policies of the Nazi’s seem to make sense.
Especially when the subjects are immersed in the reams of propaganda generated by the regime. It is easy to see why these young men, raised in the Hitler Youth, the socialist work force, and finally the Wehrmacht believed what they were told, especially after the devastation and poverty visited upon Germany after WWI. This book is well worth the time. Reading it made me very happy to be living in a relatively peaceful era far, far removed from the battlefield. Not the best written or informative book on the topic.
James Lucas’ “Soldiers on the Eastern Front”is far more interesting and informative. See all 57 reviews. There’s a problem loading this menu right now. kn
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Frontsoldaten: The German Soldier in World War II by Stephen G. Fritz
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