Hitler’s Army: Soldiers, Nazis, and War in the Third Reich:

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Hitler’s Army: Soldiers, Nazis, and War in the Third Reich:
Omer Bartov

Ioan Popescu
HST 603-011
The autonomy of the Wehrmacht within the confines of the Third Reich, particularly with respect to its relationship with the Nazi party has been open to considerable debate post World War II. In Hitler’s Army: Soldiers, Nazis, and War in the Third Reich, Omer Bartov addresses the motivating factors responsible for transforming the Wehrmacht from merely a highly efficient and professional military organization into an extremely politicized armed forces motivated by National Socialist ideals. Bartov argues four distinct yet related theories which, when taken together bring insight into the Nazification of the Wehrmacht in ultimately becoming Hitler’s Army. His arguments first highlight the war experience through the de-modernization of the Wehrmacht particularly on the eastern front along with the social organization relating to the destruction of the ‘Primary Group’. These factors resulted in the Wehrmacht to compensate through the ‘Perversion of Discipline’ which directly attributed to many war crimes along with harsh punishment of its own soldiers. Finally, the distortion of reality through propaganda all shaped the soldiers perception of the war and ultimately allowed Hitler to assume total control of the Wehrmacht. Murray Sager argues that the Wehrmacht supported Hitler, not just in gratitude, but because the Wehrmacht closely identified with the aims of National Socialism (Sager, 2010). Furthermore, Wolfram Wette argues that the Wehrmacht’s long-standing prejudices against Jews, Slavs, and Bolsheviks made it a willing accomplice to Nazi aims (Wette, 2008). Samuel Newland points out that from the beginning of the National Socialist era, Hitler's generals were not in opposition to his schemes but supported him, further showing a Wehrmacht commitment…...

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