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Old November 7th, 2012, 10:12 AM   #1

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Post Where the German soldiers of WWII aware of the awful doings of Adolf?


Did every German soldier in WWII know exactly what they were fighting for? Did they know what Hitler was up to; killing thousands of innocent people?

Did they think it was justified because of Hitler's exceptional speaking abilities, or did they think they were just fighting for the glory of Germany?
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Old November 7th, 2012, 10:45 AM   #2

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A sizeable part of them certainly knew, others were not sure but I am sure that there were signals.
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Old November 7th, 2012, 10:52 AM   #3

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Originally Posted by Currahee View Post
Did every German soldier in WWII know exactly what they were fighting for? Did they know what Hitler was up to; killing thousands of innocent people?

Did they think it was justified because of Hitler's exceptional speaking abilities, or did they think they were just fighting for the glory of Germany?

The vast majority of soldiers who served on the Eastern front must have had a shrewd idea that Hitler and his henchmen were not exactly playing by the rules of international law. In fact the situation was so bad it was close to barbarism. The SS and nazi diehards, simply didnt care. Communism had always been public enemy number one along with the jews . Up to Stalingrad the bulk of the wermacht lauded Hitler, who had brought them victory after victory. After Stalingrad they were too busy trying to stay alive. By this time they were fighting for hearth and home and the safety of their loved ones, not for the Furher.
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Old November 7th, 2012, 10:56 AM   #4

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Undoubtedly most of them knew something about the murder of Jews but, really, is there any possible way that the average Wehrmacht soldier could divine the scale of the Final Solution from mere inferences?

Regardless, the reality is far more complex than A) Germany was a nation of people warring over their right to kill Jews or B) Germany was a nation brainwashed by a persuasive anti-Semite. Both are sort of true but don't even begin to describe what the war was about or what the German people's attitudes were.

Interestingly, the vast majority of secret police and death squads were volunteers and even some of the volunteers didn't last long and just went to another job.

Ordinary Men: Reserve Police Battalion 101 and the Final Solution in Poland: Christopher R. Browning: 9780060995065: Amazon.com: Books
Ordinary Men: Reserve Police Battalion 101 and the Final Solution in Poland: Christopher R. Browning: 9780060995065: Amazon.com: Books


That book ^^ is really great read if you're interested in what prompted people do take part in the impressive and terrifying endeavour of manpower and organization that was the final solution. By far one of the best books on the subject IMO

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Old November 7th, 2012, 11:25 AM   #5

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Originally Posted by hisstoryin View Post
Undoubtedly most of them knew something about the murder of Jews but, really, is there any possible way that the average Wehrmacht soldier could divine the scale of the Final Solution from mere inferences?

Regardless, the reality is far more complex than A) Germany was a nation of people warring over their right to kill Jews or B) Germany was a nation brainwashed by a persuasive anti-Semite. Both are sort of true but don't even begin to describe what the war was about or what the German people's attitudes were.

Interestingly, the vast majority of secret police and death squads were volunteers and even some of the volunteers didn't last long and just went to another job. Ordinary Men: Reserve Police Battalion 101 and the Final Solution in Poland: Christopher R. Browning: 9780060995065: Amazon.com: Books

That book ^^ is really great read if you're interested in what prompted people do take part in the impressive and terrifying endeavour of manpower and organization that was the final solution. By far one of the best books on the subject IMO

Fair comment. Of course there were rumors and people who knew people that had seen what was being done behind the lines. But when you are marching along or cowering in a foxhole i am not too sure that politics or the much fantasised international jewish conspiracy was the main topic of conversation.

Not much in the way of heil Hitler and long live the Furher in this letter home.

Lone Sentry: German Soldier Describes Terror of Sicily Retreat (WWII Intelligence Bulletin, November 1943)
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Old November 7th, 2012, 11:48 AM   #6

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Did every German soldier in WWII know exactly what they were fighting for? Did they know what Hitler was up to; killing thousands of innocent people?
All sides in WW2 killed millions of innocent people. Thus every soldier that fought WW2 fought for a side that was responsible for mass genocide. Period.

Or do you think that the victims of the strategic bombing and of hunger following the population dislocations after the war were not innocent?

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Did they think it was justified because of Hitler's exceptional speaking abilities, or did they think they were just fighting for the glory of Germany?
90% of the armed forces, including nearly all officers, did not know about the holocaust. Even Speer managed to trick the judges in the Nuremberg trials that he didn't know anything about the holocaust.
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Old November 7th, 2012, 11:51 AM   #7

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90% of the armed forces, including nearly all officers, did not know about the holocaust.
You have a source for that statistic, I don't doubt.
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Old November 7th, 2012, 11:54 AM   #8

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That book ^^ is really great read if you're interested in what prompted people do take part in the impressive and terrifying endeavour of manpower and organization that was the final solution. By far one of the best books on the subject IMO
I have to say, I have that book and I found it quite boring. Given the subject matter, it's probably hard for it to go in to a great deal of depth as I don't imagine many of the executioners who survived the war would want to talk about what they did, for fear of retribution, but I was expecting more personal stories about why they did what they did and how it affected them.
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Old November 7th, 2012, 12:10 PM   #9
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The claim that 90 per cent of the Wehrmacht didn't know about the Holocaust is utter, total, unhistorical drivel! which openly proves how shallow and utterly inadequate a grasp of history the author of this absurdly nonsensical statement has.
The Wehrmacht were up to their necks at every leve as participants in the Holocaust and the amount of evidence documents, photographs and personal testimony is overwhelming for this fact. So please ignore all and every historically illiterate claim on this thread that claims anything different as all such claims are arrant rubbish!
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Old November 7th, 2012, 12:12 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by Currahee View Post
Did every German soldier in WWII know exactly what they were fighting for? Did they know what Hitler was up to; killing thousands of innocent people?

Did they think it was justified because of Hitler's exceptional speaking abilities, or did they think they were just fighting for the glory of Germany?

They should have been. They were the ones doing them.
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