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Operation Barbarossa, Hitler's invasion of the Soviet Union in 1941, led to one of the most brutal campaigns of World War II: of the estimated 70 million people who died in World War II, over 30 million died on the Eastern Front. Although it has previously been argued that the campaign was a pre-emptive strike, in fact, Hitler had been planning a war of intervention against the USSR ever since he came to power in 1933. Using previously unseen sources, acclaimed military historian Rolf-Dieter Muller shows that Hitler and the Wehrmacht had begun to negotiate with Poland and had even considered an alliance with Japan soon after taking power. Despite the signing of the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact, at the declaration of war in September 1939, military engagement with the Red Army was still a very real and imminent possibility. In this book, Muller takes us behind the scenes of the Wehrmacht High Command, providing a fascinating insight into an unknown story of World War II.
New Revised Paperback Edition "This book will benefit any person carrying out serious research into Hitler's failure to subjugate Russia." . Crown Imperial "This serious study is a must for all interested in the history of World War Two." . British East-West Review ..". one of the best jobs of integrating Russian, German, American and British writing on the subject ... most students wishing to write a paper would find everything they need in the way of bibliographical materials by referring to this book." . Slavic Review This volume provides a guide to the extensive literature on the war in the East, including largely unknown Soviet writing on the subject. Indispensable for military historians, but also for all scholars who approach this crucial period in world history from a socio-economic or cultural perspective. Contents: Introduction: "Lebensraum in the East" - Germany's War of Aggression against the Soviet Union - Part A: Policy and Strategy - Part B: The Military War - Part C: The Ideologically Motivated War of Annihilation in the East - Part D: The Occupation - Part E: The Results of the War and Coming to Terms With Them - Conclusion: From Historical Memories to "Bridges of Understanding" and Reconciliation. Rolf-Dieter Muller is Senior Research Fellow at the Militargeschichtliches Forschungsamt, Potsdam. Gerd Ueberschar is Senior Research Fellow at the Military Archives and University of Freiburg.
Since the end of World War II, Germans have struggled with the legacy of the Wehrmacht - the unified armed forces mobilized by Adolf Hitler in 1935 to ensure the domination of the Third Reich in perpetuity. Historians have vigorously debated whether the Wehrmacht's atrocities represented a break with the past or a continuation of Germany's military traditions. Now available for the first time in English, this meticulously researched yet accessible overview by eminent historian Rolf-Dieter Muller provides the most comprehensive analysis of the organization to date, illuminating its role in a complex, horrific era. Muller examines the Wehrmacht's leadership principles, organization, equipment, and training, as well as the front-line experiences of soldiers, airmen, Waffen SS, foreign legionnaires, and volunteers. He skillfully demonstrates how state-directed propaganda and terror influenced the extent to which the militarized Volksgemeinschaft (national community) was transformed under the pressure of total mobilization. Finally, he evaluates the army's conduct of the war, from blitzkrieg to the final surrender and charges of war crimes. Brief acts of resistance, such as an officers' "rebellion of conscience" in July 1944, embody the repressed, principled humanity of Germany's soldiers, but ultimately, Muller concludes, the Wehrmacht became the "steel guarantor" of the criminal Nazi regime.
Die kurze Episode der "Wehrmacht" hat zu einer ungeheuren militarischen Kraftentfaltung des Deutschen Reiches gefuhrt, zu uberwaltigenden Siegen und katastrophalen Niederlagen, zugleich zur Mitverantwortung fur eine verbrecherische Kriegfuhrung, wie sie in der deutschen Geschichte ohne Beispiel ist. Der Band bietet zunachst einen Uberblick uber die Wehrmacht im Dritten Reich, ihre Fuhrungsprinzipien, Gliederung, Ausrustung, Ausbildung und Fronterfahrung. Im zweiten Teil wird erkennbar, wie sich die militarisierte "Volksgemeinschaft" der Deutschen im Zweiten Weltkrieg unter dem Druck der totalen Mobilmachung veranderte. Der dritte Teil analysiert die militarische Kriegfuhrung vom "Blitzkrieg bis zum Untergang von Reich und Wehrmacht. Der Ausblick auf den Umgang mit diesem schwierigen Erbe in der Bundesrepublik zeigt, wie tief der Bruch in der deutschen Militargeschichte gewesen ist."
Volume V Part II of the comprehensive and authoritative Germany and the Second World War series completes the analysis (begun in Volume V/I) of the administration and exploitation of the German sphere of power and of the German war economy. The authors show how, despite military success and increasingly desperate efforts at mobilizing every resource for the war effort, it was becoming apparent that the Reich's strength was spent. The consequence was ever more ruthless oppression of the population and a frenzied elimination of 'ideological' and 'racial' opponents.
This is the fourth in the comprehensive and authoritative series, Germany and the Second World War. It deals with the attack on the Soviet Union, the turning-point of the war. The detailed analysis is underpinned by an extensive apparatus of maps, diagrams, and tables.
English summary: This volume presents the key findings of the Dresdner Commission of Historians for the Ascertainment of the Number of Victims of the Air Raids on the City of Dresden on 13/14 February 1945, which sifted through, discussed and evaluated all the existing sources for the first time. The contributions discuss the historical records in the Dresden City Archive on the entire wartime situation at the time, the military significance of Dresden in Spring 1945, the death tolls from British air raids on other German cities and the number of foreign refugees who lost their lives during the bombing of Dresden. The report by the municipal archaeologists reveals findings from a systematic excavation of the old town of Dresden. An investigation was also conducted on the possibility that under the given conditions on 13th/14th February the heat was so intense that no trace of the victims was left. Other contributions discuss the issue of low-flying attacks and evaluate the memories of survivors of the air raids. The results are complemented by an account of the personal memories of Gotz Bergander. German text. German description: Dieser Band enthalt die zentralen Ergebnisse der Dresdner Historikerkommission zur Ermittlung der Opferzahlen der Luftangriffe auf die Stadt Dresden am 13./14. Februar 1945, die erstmalig samtliche verfugbaren Quellen gesichtet, diskutiert und ausgewertet hat. Dabei handelt es sich um Beitrage zur Aktenuberlieferung im Stadtarchiv Dresden, zur damaligen Gesamtkriegslage, zur militarischen Bedeutung Dresdens im Fruhjahr 1945, zur Zahl der Opfer infolge britischer Luftangriffe in anderen deutschen Stadten sowie zur Anzahl auswartiger Fluchtlinge, die bei der Bombardierung Dresdens ihr Leben verloren haben. Der Bericht uber archaologische Grabungsbefunde zeigt Ergebnisse der Stadtarchaologie, die die Dresdner Altstadt systematisch erforschte. Gepruft wird auch, ob ruckstandsloses Verbrennen von Menschen unter den Bedingungen des 13./14. Februars 1945 moglich war. Weitere Beitrage setzen sich mit der Frage der Tieffliegerangriffe auseinander und werten Erinnerungen von Uberlebenden der Luftangriffe aus. Erganzt werden die Resultate durch die personlichen Erinnerungen Gotz Berganders.
Volume V Part II of the comprehensive and authoritative Germany and the Second World War series spans the years 1942 to 1945, and looks in closely researched detail, and against a background of growing military setbacks and disasters leading to final defeat, at the administration and ruthless exploitation of the occupied countries and of Germany's own allies, and the effect on their populations (in particular their Jews, Roma, and Sinti) and national economies. This comprehensive study of the meteoric rise to prominence of Hitler's crown prince Albert Speer, and his struggle to implement a 'total war' armaments policy in the face of opposition from the Party's Gauleiters and political rivals in the Nazi leadership, documents with a wealth of maps, diagrams, and tables the achievements of the arms drive he masterminded; a large part of this success is shown to have relied on the forced or slave labour of those under German domination. The conflicting claims of industry and the Wehrmacht for dwindling manpower resources are also considered.
This volume is concerned with developments in wartime administration, economy, and manpower resources in Germany and its occupied territories from 1939-1941. It examines the mobilization of material and personnel resources in the German sphere of power for an industrialized conduct of the war. Indissolubly linked with this issue is the question of the way in which the regime's ideology affected that mobilization process, and why the 'opportunity' which the war offered for an organizational restructuring of this sector was not taken. The authors have produced a problem-oriented account, providing - by a detailed presentation of government practice - a multitude of insights into the regime's governmental structures.
Nine months after the beginning of the Second World War, German dominance over much of Europe seemed assured. Hitler not only stood on the pinnacle of his popularity in Germany but more than ever his ideological fixations and political calculations determined German war policy. This volume, the fourth in the acclaimed Germany and the Second World War series, examines the thinking behind the decision to go to war with the Soviet Union which was to prove the undoing of the German war effort. The authors examine in revealing detail the military and political policies behind the attack on the Soviet Union and the strategic conduct of the war. They explore not only the command principles and practices, but also the expenditure and attrition of the forces, and show that by the end of 1941 it was clear that it was in the eastern theatre that the Second World War would be decided and the map of Europe redrawn.
Das Thema Wehrmacht ist bis heute Gegenstand eines breiten offentlichen Interesses, das sich in hochst kontroversen und teilweise ausserst emotionalisierten Diskussionen artikuliert. Zentrale Fragen hierbei sind: Welche Rolle spielte die Wehrmacht im Machtgefuge des "Dritten Reiches"? Wie bereitwillig passte sie sich den machtpolitischen und ideologischen Zielen des NS-Systems an, trug sie mit oder stand sie zu ihnen im Widerspruch? Inwieweit liess sie sich von der Staatsfuhrung fur einen verbrecherischen Eroberungs- und Vernichtungskrieg instrumentalisieren? In welchem Ausmass war sie selbst an den Verbrechen beteiligt, indem sie volkerrechtswidrige Befehle ausfuhrte oder sogar selbst ausarbeitete? Wie viel Schuld traf die oberste Fuhrung der Streitkrafte, die verantwortlichen Befehlshaber, das Offizierskorps, die Unteroffiziere und Mannschaften? Was war und wie war die Wehrmacht uberhaupt?"
When Hitler launched Operation Barbarossa with his attack on the Soviet Union in June 1941, the Wehrmacht deployed 600,000 troops to the Eastern Front. Their numbers were later swelled by a range of foreign volunteers so that, at the height of World War II, astonishingly one in three men fighting for the Germans in the East was not a native German. Hitler's declaration of the 'struggle against Bolshevism' reverberated throughout all of Europe - among convinced fascists as well as among non-Russian eastern Europeans seeking to regain their independence from the USSR. Many of these volunteers subsequently became involved in the atrocities of the Wehrmacht and the SS. Vilified by Hitler for their supposed failures, condemned and forgotten by their homelands for treason and collaboration, their involvement in the war has been largely ignored or swept aside by historians. Rolf-Dieter Muller here offers a fascinating new perspective on a little-known aspect of World War II.
When Hitler launched Operation Barbarossa with his attack on the Soviet Union in June 1941, the Wehrmacht deployed 600,000 troops to the Eastern Front. Their numbers were later swelled by a range of foreign volunteers so that, at the height of World War II, astonishingly one in three men fighting for the Germans in the East was not a native German. Hitler's declaration of the 'struggle against Bolshevism' reverberated throughout all of Europe - it attracted convinced fascists as well as non-Russian eastern Europeans seeking to regain their independence from the USSR. Many of these volunteers subsequently became involved in the atrocities of the Wehrmacht and the SS. Many historical accounts of the war in the East, the bloodiest struggle in world history, not only overlook the role of local helpers and thereby unwittingly play up to subsequent Stalinist propaganda; they also underestimate the importance of German-allied armies fighting on the Eastern Front. Yet it was not just Eastern Europe which provided volunteer soldiers for the Wehrmacht - a number of men from occupied countries, such as France, Norway and Denmark also signed up as volunteers, as well as a small number from neutral countries. For the first time, this book tells the story of these men. Vilified by Hitler for their supposed failures, condemned and forgotten by their homelands for treason and collaboration, their involvement in the war has been largely ignored or swept aside by historians. Rolf-Dieter Muller here offers a fascinating new perspective on a little-known aspect of World War II.
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