This post is primarily a note to myself to keep some parts that stood out to me in this interesting research.
A monumental war history in German, which has just been completed after 30 years of work, explores a question that preoccupies modern Germans: why Nazi Germany fought on, defying all military logic, to the bitter end.
It took more than two years of fighting to establish that Hitler’s war aims were unachievable. Hitler probably realized that himself.
Yet it took nearly three more years to end the war. The Wehrmacht did not capitulate until after the Fuehrer had committed suicide in his Berlin bunker in April 1945.
To the very end, the Nazi regime required Germans to recite their belief in “ultimate victory.” But in the final years of the war, part 8 suggested, Hitler’s mind gradually focused on staging a vain but heroic last stand.
Hitler’s all-or-nothing approach has been described by his biographers as a key to his rise, and an exiled German writer, Sebastian Haffner, suggested as early as 1940 that the method was also the mark of a “potential self-killer.”
The volume’s account of the war on the western front in 1944 and 1945 describes the German military fighting on towards self-destruction under mottoes such as “for honor” and “for the fatherland,” believing they were “doing their duty.”
“That was their common denominator with a majority of the Germans, who had been simply sticking to what they were doing, or had not sought any alternative, or had not been able to visualize any other way,” the book says.
On their own responsibility and often risking execution for treason, some of the German military openly disobeyed orders or subtly wasted time so that the Allied invasion of Germany could proceed quickly without even more loss of lives and property.
“To the Germans, no alternative appeared feasible, other than the unconditional surrender demanded by the enemy,” the book adds.
Most of the rest of the world was needed to defeat the most efficient fighting machine of its generation, which had battled on despite Hitler’s strategic blunders.
Explaining modern Germany’s reluctance to fight the Taliban and its focus on collective defense, the last part says the war taught post-war Germans an abiding lesson and they deliberately renounced any capacity to wage a war of their own ever again.
Germany’s submission to NATO [note: why is this considered a submission?] has meant that the Second World War was the “last war of the Germans” in history. [note: I think the entire world sure hopes so]
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