Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Odd Reading

I am reading the Lives of Hitlers Jewish soldiers. One should treat this book for what it is a rich collection of oral history. There is much color, but remember with all oral history there is a natural
tendency to justify yourself.

I find the description of the Finnish army to be amazing. Performing well against communists in battle is not difficult in that Communist armies are burdened by stupidity and reward political orthodoxy as opposed to merit. The description of the Finns as ruthless fighters who excelled in guerrilla warfare is surprising, especially coming from a from a Waffen SS veteran.

The stories are that of human nature. The policy of michlenge was not widely known and the book
promotes a discussion of a seldom discussed facet of the Holocaust.

11 comments:

The_Editrix said...

I haven't read that particular book, but the fate of the "Mischlinge" in the German military is tragic (and for once the word is not misapplied). There you can see to where patriotism can lead if it isn't coupled with common sense and sobriety. They loved Germany (that was hell-bent on destroying them) more than they loved their families and themselves.

I don't think that the performance of the Russians had anything to do with political orthodoxy. They were, as were their leaders, not bound by the rule of law. Do you know how the Russians cleared minefields? And the same applied to the Germans. The war in the East was never one that was fought by the rules of the Geneva convention, not to forget that the German troops had to assist the German efforts to rid Europe of the Jews.

Last but not least: Take all accounts from soldiers with a grain of salt. They tend to hype each other because it makes them look even better if they ended up as winners and, if not, excuses their failures. Rommel is such a case of largely undeserved hype because he made a fool out of Montgomery in Africa.

P.S. Does the book mention that our former chancellor Helmut Schmidt was one of those soldiers? According to the Nuremberg race laws he was (and still is) a "quarter Jew". He hold the rank of lieutenant when the war ended.

beakerkin said...

I will have to check to see if Helmut Schmidt is listed.

The book is very interesting and rich
in style but if you are looking for great knowledge this is not the place. Oral history from veterans adds color to history. One example is
the wonderful works of Donald Knox on the Korean War and the Bataan Death March.

In fairness I have known about the story of the michlenge for a while.
A relative did masquerade as a michlenge in order to survive the war. He was not the most cuddly of relatives, but we loved him anyway.

Always On Watch said...

This summer, for a drastic change in my life ever since 9/11, I'm reading a lot of fiction. A bit of escapism.

I admire you, Beak, for being able to read exclusively nonfiction. Lately, I've found most nonfiction so damned depressing.

Ducky's here said...

Performing well against communists in battle is not difficult

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Yeah, just ask Hitler at Stalingrad or the Germans who got their asses kicked by the female rifle platoons outside Leningrad you dumb punk.

beamish said...

Soviet military history is a case study in what logistical incompetence looks like.

Finland kicked Russia's ass in World War 2 largely because the Russian army had never fought anyone that shot back at them before.

beakerkin said...

Ducky

The commies got their asses kicked by the Poles, Finns and Germans. Were
it not for American Aid and a foe fighting on several fronts and force of numbers they would have lost.

Even when they outnumber a foe like Finland they still lose. Their officers embody incompetence and the troops lack motivation. You are forgetting the large numbers of Hiwis created by ham handed war crimes were the tip of the iceberg.

Mr B is correct.

beamish said...

Yeah, just ask Hitler at Stalingrad...

Stalingrad? Isn't that almost 1400 miles east of Berlin and a little over 1000 miles behind Russian lines at Warsaw, Poland at the start of Operation: Barbarossa?

And Russia cowered behind the Volga River under the Nazi occupation of the Ukraine for how long? Almost three years?

Hitler said (in the pages of Mein Kampf) he was going to crush the Soviet Red Army and take the Ukraine 15 years before he did.

We all know leftists are slow-witted and lack reading comprehension skills, but damn.

The_Editrix said...

Ever heard about the Lend-Lease Act, you dumb punk? Without America the Sovjets wouldn't have had the chance of an icecube in hell against the Germans.

Their military successes were based on their bigger numbers and the fact that they didn't give a damn for their own soldiers' lives. Not even the Germans sent a company of their own through a minefield to clear it. There is no reason whatsoever to boast about the military prowess of the Sovjet army, neither from a military nor from an ethical angle. The Russian people were as abused and kept in a pre-civilisatory state by the Sovjets as by the chided Czar. The Sovjets would have sided as gladly with Nazi-Germany (as they had done before) as with the Allies given a slightly different twist of history.

Oh yes, and did I say that there is no reason to boast about the military prowess of the Sovjet army, neither from a military nor from an ethical angle? And did I remember to call you a dumb punk?

The_Editrix said...

Well, in my book Beak is a flaming liberal and Beamish one of those well-meaning Americans who are suffering from acute brain-blockade because they are sniffing "leftists" under every bed. However, that is fine. But that there is an American who IN ALL SERIOUSNESS waxes lyrically about the military prowess of the Sovjet Army in WWII is beyond me.

Without a military talent like Field Marshal Zhukow the Sovjet Army would have done even worse than they did anyway.

All that is knowledge about historical facts everybody can acquire, and not a matter of politics, whether left, right or center.

FJ said...

I think the movie "Enemy at the Gates" about sums up the "military prowess" of the Soviet Army in WWII.

The_Editrix said...

Interesting how dreaded leftist Hollywood suddenly becomes acceptable when it supports your own point of view.

At least the host of this site reads books.