hawkeye (hawkeye7) wrote,

German WWII Military History

Attended a seminar given by Jurgen Forster of the Military Research Institute (Militärgeschichtliches Forschungsamt), one of the authors of the insanely huge and highly acclaimed (but horrendously expensive) Germany and the Second World War, Volume IV: The Attack on the Soviet Union. At over 1300 pages and $250 American it is unlikely to appeal to the general reader but probably should be on your reading list if you are serious about the war against Germany. The book is more a collection of monographs. The chapters are by different authors who sometimes do not agree.

As one might expect, military history in general and the Second World War in particular are not favourite research subjects or the source of popular best-sellers in Germany but the Military Research Institute in Potsdam is devoted to just that. Forster belongs to what he describes as the "second wave" of revisionist WWII historians. Although very divided politically, they have a very in-your-face attitude towards their subject, which is just as well. Their attitude is that Germany is their country, that if they cannot understand it nobody can and a thorough understanding of events from both sides of the Second World War will be invaluable to future understanding of the conflict.

A recent display at their museum in Dresden highlighted the problem. A photograph was displayed of a German officer putting a noose around a Russian woman's neck (she had forged ID on her, so was considered a partisan or a spy). The officer was recognised by one of the museum visitors as a a relative. This caused a considerable stir.

His seminar was entitled "Wehrmacht, War and the Holocaust". He traced the gradual involvement of the military in what eventually became the Holocaust - the organised murder of millions of people. He traced the influence of National Socialism on the military and the way in which the German ar against partisans in Russia degenerated. Considerable effort has been put into the detail of determining who knew what and when, something which even the participants could be very hazy about (some with excellent reasons) in the aftermath.

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