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Hitler's Soldiers: The German Army in the Third Reich

Ben H. Shepherd



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Yale University Press
01 October 2017
History; European history; 20th century history: c 1900 to c 2000; Second World War; Land forces & warfare
A penetrating study of the German army’s military campaigns, relations with the Nazi regime, and complicity in Nazi crimes across occupied Europe.

For decades after 1945, it was generally believed that the German army, professional and morally decent, had largely stood apart from the SS, Gestapo, and other corps of the Nazi machine. Ben Shepherd draws on a wealth of primary sources and recent scholarship to convey a much darker, more complex picture. For the first time, the German army is examined throughout the Second World War, across all combat theaters and occupied regions, and from multiple perspectives: its battle performance, social composition, relationship with the Nazi state, and involvement in war crimes and military occupation.
This was a true people’s army, drawn from across German society and reflecting that society as it existed under the Nazis. Without the army and its conquests abroad, Shepherd explains, the Nazi regime could not have perpetrated its crimes against Jews, prisoners of war, and civilians in occupied countries. The author examines how the army was complicit in these crimes and why some soldiers, units, and higher commands were more complicit than others. Shepherd also reveals the reasons for the army’s early battlefield successes and its mounting defeats up to 1945, the latter due not only to Allied superiority and Hitler’s mismanagement as commander-in-chief, but also to the failings - moral, political, economic, strategic, and operational - of the army’s own leadership.
By:   Ben H. Shepherd
Imprint:   Yale University Press
Country of Publication:   United States
Dimensions:   Height: 210mm,  Width: 140mm, 
Weight:   771g
ISBN:   9780300228809
ISBN 10:   0300228805
Pages:   664
Publication Date:   01 October 2017
Audience:   College/higher education ,  A / AS level ,  Further / Higher Education
Format:   Paperback
Publisher's Status:   Active

Ben H. Shepherd is reader in history, Glasgow Caledonian University. He lives in Glasgow, UK.

Reviews for Hitler's Soldiers: The German Army in the Third Reich

Highly readable and with great narrative scope, this is an excellent starting-point for anyone who wishes to have a broad overview of WWII from the German military point of view. Robert Carver, Military History Monthly--Robert Carver Military History Month (11/01/2016) Excellent. . . he uses the letters of individual soldiers to great effect. . . an admirable study. Nicholas Stargardt, The Wall Street Journal--Nicholas Stargardt Wall Street Journal Shepherd has written a comprehensive history of the 20th century s most formidable fighting machine. It is also an unanswerable moral indictment of the moral cowardice and arrogance of an officer crops who sold their souls to Hitler and allowed him to lead them and their beloved country into the abyss. Nigel Jones, BBC History--Nigel Jones BBC History Magazine (08/01/2016) An engaging investigation of the German army s complex relationship with the Third Reich. The author, the Glasgow academic Ben Shepherd, does a sterling job of boiling down the 12 years of Nazi Germany to produce an accessible account of the Faustian pact entered into by German generals Roger Moorhouse, The Times--Roger Moorhouse The Times (06/18/2016)

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