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How "bad' were the German soldiers really?


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#1 Blue Lightning

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Posted 30 May 2013 - 01:21 AM

I made a thread talking about unfair maps recently, and ended up on one post, making this observation:

I'm an American, and not hella proud of it latley either (Iraq, Libya, etc). This history books were written by us. They fail to mention Dresden and many other atrocities against Germany,


That made me think of this thread subject; were the Germans really that bad, and dumb like the media has portrayed them?

In the movies the Germans are portrayed as always the bad guys, doing unspeakable things in war. In some cases they are portrayed as the "stupid guys" like Hogans Heros, which as we all know, is ridiculous. In much of the media, the Nazi troops of course kidnap babies and kill little bunny rabbits.

Reality might be somewhat different. A freind of mine who is from former Yugoslavia, told me his Grandfather used to tell him what happend when the Germans rolled into Yugoslavia and occupied it...and them. He said that the Germans were always polite, even helpful, and were the absolute apitamy of the professional soldier. I asked about rape and all that, and he said no way, he said they were in his grandfathers own words "the most professional soldiers he had ever seen". That is when I started to not believe everything the media was teaching us.

Now, I'm not trying to paint the Nazi's or the Wehrmacht as a great welcoming social club, but hasnt the victors of WWII (we Americans) mabye exageratted a bit when describing the Germans in media? I'm not talking about the camps and that horrible scene, (although there is controversey about the numbers of 6 million being jacked way up). But let's for now leave that aside. I'm talking about the common soldiers and to a lesser extent, the SS during normal action, and general occupation. Are the way they are portrayed...mabye over the top?

Hitler too. I mean according the history books (if you put it all together), he is portrayed as a super-nut, half-jewish, part black, homo-sexual heroin attict, with one testicle and connections to aliens from outer space. It's starts to sound ridiculous.

I remember in 4th grade we had (what turned out to be our only study on WWII in 12 years in school!) a one-day teaching about Japan and Pearl Harbor. I remember clearly my teacher saying that Japan attacked at Pearl Harbor to warn us to stay out of the war they were in with the rest of the Pacific. I remember that even at my young age, I thought that was a strange reason to attack another country...to "warn them". I had a puzzled look on my 10 year-old face. Over the years, I learned that I was right to doubt that! Turns out Japan attacked at Pearl because the US blocked their entire oil supply from the Dutch Indies, which is an act of war. I'm not saying they were right to attack, but I am pointing out how the media, even in school, is a lie.

So to address the thread subject...how bad were the Germans REALLY?

#2 Kugelfische

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Posted 30 May 2013 - 04:13 PM

Interesting thread, my grandfather told me that some german soldier had abandoned or was abandoned(i cant remember), so he was wearing civillian clothes hiding in a house so my grandfather gave him some food and in return he polished his boots like he had never seen before. He told me "They were a very proud people." He certaintly did not have anything bad to say about hem the times I talked to him.


And the lying or uninformedness and the blame game, I think how it can effect education is just really disturbing especially after so many years when people still disagree about things.

#3 Blue Lightning

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Posted 31 May 2013 - 04:04 AM

Well it is propaganda. Remember, the victors always write the history. To this day there are those who want to portray the Germans in a worse light perhaps. The National Socialist idea for example, was not favorable to immigration. Right now, immigration is a hot topic (both legal and illegal), and those who want to push for more of it, are starting to run into a buzzsaw in Europe, and America. Those groups want to call anyone against illegal immigration, or too much legal immigration, "nazi's"...you notice that? So propaganda against 1930's Germany still serves them.

#4 TheLoneOnion

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Posted 31 May 2013 - 01:33 PM

If you want a real eye opener, I recommend you read the book "Fuhrer, Folk, and Fatherland: A soldiers story". Very good book, SO much knowledge that you just don't hear on the history channel.

#5 heady

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Posted 31 May 2013 - 08:22 PM

Well it baffels me why anyone even has to "think" about it, as with all humans,nations,countries and so forth every individual is different.
Their ideology and reason for war was bad but at the individual level every 2nd soldier is just like any other of any nation, however
that is not an excuse for their behavior even if "you're just following orders".

#6 lazerBAR

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Posted 01 June 2013 - 05:37 AM

So following a certain ideology makes you bad? I hate how germans are potrayed in most movies, sometimes it just feels unnatural how they act. They follow every order, act very orderly even in combat, run across a dangerous street for no reason, etc. Poorly potrayed german soldiers underrate their tactics, but thats called dehumanization used a lot by propaganda. There are few good war movies about ww2. I really hate how most movies potray atrocities, they make the men commiting them "brainless", if you are going to make a people look bad, at least make them feel. But again this is dehumanization.

#7 Regular John

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Posted 01 June 2013 - 02:37 PM

Czechoslovakia was occupied by Germany and they made some really ugly things here but my grandparents told me some stories about regular german soldiers - they were always very polite. When they were moving back from eastern front, few soldiers needed to sleep somewhere so they politely asked if they could sleep in the attic and my grandparents agreed. Soldiers notticed that one of the daughters was crying all the time because she was very sick. Next morning when my grandparents woke up, the soldiers were already gone - they left the building very quietly and brought fresh food in return for the sleepover. They also brought some rare medication and they actually saved their daughter's life... One year later, Russian and Romanian army came to "liberate" our country. They raped my grandmother and killed her sister because she was resisting the rape. I also heard many stories about women hiding from liberators everywhere because of mass raping. They usually dont show this side of war in movies.

#8 Dodenburg

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Posted 02 June 2013 - 09:59 AM

Well, you cant really blame someone for portraying Germans like monsters, or you can today, but if you would live in WW2 era, I am pretty sure you all would blame them to. Especially, after the conctenracional camps were discovered and you would hear the testimonyes of those who survived them. Try to explain, that most of the German soldiers were actually nice guys to someone, who lost all his family in Oswetim, or to the soldiers who discovered the 70 executed US soldiers in Malmedy etc...those ppl dont care if the order to do such a crime was given just by 1 idiot officer or politician.
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2./SS-Panzer Regiment 2 "Das Reich" Panzer 244 "Adelhaide"

#9 Blue Lightning

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Posted 02 June 2013 - 06:57 PM

So might makes right? Sure, your going to have some war crimes, but commited on both sides. 70 people slaughterd by the SS at the BoB was horrible, but dont you think the bombings of Dresden were mabye even more so? 20,000 wedding rings found in the charred rubble. But that wasnt reported to the people at large...but the incident at the BoB was reported, re-reported, and hyped up. Yes, moral I know...but I think it is the duty of not only the press, but those who right the books to report the truth. Nobody wants to talk about Eisenhower making the Germans eat grass in their own country. I never hear about those who died of dysntary from that. But we always hear about the 70 shot in cold blood at the BoB. So the press isnt fair...what's new?

But more to the point of the thread, yes I agree there were atrocities committed by a handful of Germans. But it is made to look like all of the Germans were like that.

I remember the movie Gettysburg and Siskel and Ebert did a review. Siskel liked the first half, which showed the struggles of the northren army. But he didnt like the second half because it showed the struggles of the southren army...an ideology he didnt agree with. Moreover it didnt show the rebels as horrendous charecters, but instead, people like anyone else. He didnt like that. He would of liked it if they had long warty noses and rotten teeth, and kidnapping babies I suppose.

And that is the crux of it. People who are responsable and in the media, should not allow their own ideology to interfere with a proper portrayl of an amry and it's struggles.

#10 heady

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Posted 05 June 2013 - 07:59 PM

Well, you cant really blame someone for portraying Germans like monsters, or you can today, but if you would live in WW2 era, I am pretty sure you all would blame them to. Especially, after the conctenracional camps were discovered and you would hear the testimonyes of those who survived them. Try to explain, that most of the German soldiers were actually nice guys to someone, who lost all his family in Oswetim, or to the soldiers who discovered the 70 executed US soldiers in Malmedy etc...those ppl dont care if the order to do such a crime was given just by 1 idiot officer or politician.

However the vast majorty of german soldiers didn't even know about the camps.

#11 Pascucci

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Posted 06 June 2013 - 02:41 PM

That's actually a myth, it was kind of impossible not to notice them when later in the war slave labor made up a huge chunk of German industry. Of course German soldiers would be likely to deny their existence, if they said they knew and/or supported them, it really wouldn't work well towards proving their innocence. On the Eastern Front and in Poland their brutality was unmatched by anyone other than the Japanese, often killing huge numbers of civilians (particularly SS AND Waffen SS units, but there were a ton of normal units taking part also) and executing many Soviet prisoners on the spot. The noble German army myth is, well, a myth and most people forget Adolf Hitler and his policies were extremely popular in Germany. Also, the bombing don't count, the Germans started that game by bombing civilians in Poland in 1939, if you choose to fight a brutal war and lose, don't expect to be treated better than those you have already brutalized. If you compare to how the Germans treated Russians to how the Russians treated Germans, it makes the Russians look almost merciful.

#12 lazerBAR

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Posted 06 June 2013 - 11:09 PM

I disagree, the soviets were just as brutal and cruel as the axis on the eastern front. I dont think its really a matter of who did worse, because you cant measure "bad" by a number of deaths or bombs or different beliefs. Wasn't the SS units that went around Poland(Warsaw uprising) and Belarus penal units? I remember reading that the 36th SS were an anti partisan unit initially made up of convicted poachers and then later major criminals and concentration camp prisoners. So were the RONA who were made up mostly of soviet POW's; especially known for their cruelty in Warsaw '44 to the point where the Germans killed their commanders? The point is all men are capable of using their basic instinct to inflict pain and death. Measuring this is pretty insulting.

#13 Father Ted

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Posted 07 June 2013 - 08:32 PM

This thread is not going to come up with anything new, and will be likely to degenerate rapidly.




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