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Author: Johann Voss
The Aberjona Press
Originally written while the author was a prisoner of the US Army in 1945–46, Black Edelweiss is a boon to serious historians and WWII buffs alike. In a day in which most memoirs are written at half a century’s distance, the former will be gratified by the author’s precise recall facilitated by the chronologically short-range (a matter of one to seven years) at which the events were captured in writing. Both will appreciate and enjoy the abundantly detailed, exceptionally accurate combat episodes. Even more than the strictly military narrative, however, the author has crafted a searingly candid view into his own mind and soul. As such, Black Edelweiss is much more than a "ripping yarn" or a low-level military history. Black Edelweiss joins not only the growing body of German military memoirs, but the more select, more narrowly-focused group of personal memoirs by other Waffen-SS enlisted men. Beyond the microcosmic view of combat these books relate—to the extent that they are honest and candid—such books are important for what they can reveal about their authors’ motivations and reflections on those impulses and their consequences. To date, these works differ significantly. As it joins the ranks of the books in this genre, Black Edelweiss makes a unique and very important contribution. It is a true, personal account of the author’s war years, first at school and then with the Waffen-SS, which he joined early in 1943 at the age of seventeen. For a year and a half, the author fought as a machine gunner in SS-Mountain Infantry Regiment 11 "Reinhard Heydrich," mainly in the arctic and sub-arctic reaches of Soviet Karelia and Finland, and later at the Western frontier of the Third Reich. The characters in the story are real, and the conversations and actions are recounted to the best of his ability from the short distance at which he wrote the manuscript in 1945–46. Apart from the piercing insights into the question of why the German soldier fought as he did, what makes this book truly unique is the author’s anguished, yet resolute examination of the dialectic between the honorable and valorous comportment of his comrades and the fundamentally reprehensible conduct of about 35,000 men behind the front lines who nevertheless wore the same uniform. During his captivity, the author was assigned for a time as a clerk to a US Army Judge Advocate General’s Corps officer, and in the performance of his administrative duties, the author had access to the mounting reams of documentation of the Holocaust. His growing recognition of the involvement of Waffen-SS personnel in the monstrous crimes of that process caused him to dig deeply into his soul, to examine his most intimate and private motivations and thoughts, and to reevaluate the most basic assumptions of his life to that point. The author captured this process and the result in the notes which became this book. Honestly, forthrightly, and courageously told, Black Edelweiss is a precious gift to historians and other students of World War II. It not only provides a glimpse into the attributes that made the German armed forces a formidable and tenacious foe, but squarely confronts the most painful issue facing German World War II veterans in general, and Waffen-SS veterans in particular. Supported by 22 photos, 8 maps, and notes.

Author: Stephen G. Fritz
The University Press of Kentucky

This book, Frontsoldaten by Stephen G. Fritz, does not dwell on the details of events, equipment or even on the particular places where the German soldiers fought. Instead, The author settles for exploring their thoughts, their fears, hopes, dreams and also the Kameradschaft (comradeship) that made the Landser the best soldier of WWII. About 90% of this book discusses the life of the German soldier on the Ostfront.

The entire focus of Frontsoldaten is on the German Landser himself. Fritz's basis for this focus is on the written word of actual soldiers during the war (many of whom did not survive). The author "capsulizes" his chapters by using passages from war-time letters written to loved ones and also from soldier's diaries.

Frontsoldaten is a valuable tool in under-standing the men we portray. In reconstructing my impression of the Frontsoldat, it is important to me to not only look the part, but to also "feel the feelings." What makes this book so truly valuable is that it reaches deeper into the mind and psychological make-up of the Landser.

In discussing the German soldier's political feelings, Fritz takes care not to label all German soldiers as "Nazis," but he does state that for the most part, they overwhelmingly agreed with the economic and foreign policy objectives [this means Germany's (and Hitler's) reasons for the war] of the Nazi regime. Fritz tries to put the reader "into" the mind of the "twenty-something" year old German, who (without the benefit of the independent reasoning which only comes later in life) was like most "twenty-somethings" in that he was a product of his environment. During the 19300s and 400s, the political environment of Germany had been almost exclusively dominated by Adolf Hitler and the Nazi Party and this had heavily influenced these young men. The author also points out that the average German soldier embraced not only National Socialism, but also the military because they both broke down the walls of class distinction and gave everyone the same chance for success. Many Germans have described National Socialism as a concept that was first met with general cynicism, then passive acceptance—before finally gaining general support.

Fritz calls the German soldier of WWII a kind of "soldiers soldier." In comparison to the American GI (whom he described as never really being a soldier, but more of a civilian in uncomfortable clothing), he says that the German soldier had a much clearer understanding of mission, purpose, honor and Kameradschaft. In fact he goes to some length in arguing that the overall success of the German Army in opposing its enemies was largely because of the training, discipline and Kameradschaft that was constantly instilled throughout the rank and file. He also makes an interesting point (one which created a memory bubble of my own) when he states that in comparison with the average Tommy or GI, the Landser was much more aware of the atrocities that had already occurred under Stalin's rule in the Soviet Union. He states (for the first time I have ever seen in print) that the German press, before WWII, openly discussed Stalin's purges to a far greater degree than the British or American press and that the average German citizen was very clear to the danger that dwelled to their East.

I heartily recommend Frontsoldaten, because it helps give one a glimpse of the psychological profile of the average German soldier of WWII and I consider this kind of understanding to be as important to my impression as my Stahlhelm.

Author: Guy Sajer
Potomac Books

This book recounts the horror of World War II on the eastern front, as seen through the eyes of a teenaged German soldier. At first an exciting adventure, young Guy Sajer’s war becomes, as the German invasion falters in the icy vastness of the Ukraine, a simple, desperate struggle for survival against cold, hunger, and above all the terrifying Soviet artillery. As a member of the elite Großdeutschland Division, he fought in all the great battles from Kursk to Kharkov. His German footsoldier’s perspective makes The Forgotten Soldier a unique war memoir, the book that the Christian Science Monitor said "may well be the book about World War II which has been so long awaited."

Now it has been handsomely republished as a hardcover containing fifty rare German combat photos of life and death at the eastern front. The photos of troops battling through snow, mud, burned villages, and rubble-strewn cities depict the hardships and destructiveness of war. Many are originally from the private collections of German soldiers and have never been published before. This volume is a deluxe edition of a true classic.

Author: Cyrus A. Lee
Pictorial Histories Publishing Co

The handbook for the collector and reenactor of German Army combat uniforms, equipment, and weapons for the period of 1939 - 1942. Contains first hand accounts of action in France and Russia. Also included is the Soldat Guide to European Museums and Battlefields.

Author: James Lucas
Arms & Armour

The title says it all! This book can help you to understand the German Soldat and his motives—just remember though, it's a typical Limey book in that it has a lot of strange English biases in it. I'm just sayin'.

While Allied propaganda would have us believe that during the Second World War the German population were downtrodden workers, with no rights and totally under the power and influence of the all-controlling Gestapo, the truth is somewhat different. While the Allies saw Hitler as an evil to be removed from power, in 1933 the German people saw him as a savior, able to rescue them from the humiliation of Versailles and provide a strong leader. The German people themselves felt that they had social benefits unmatched by their neighboring states, and that its poverty had been eliminated while their economy had been stabilized. James Lucas presents fascinating insight into the real Reich, a glimpse into the life on the German home front. After many years' research and interviews with civilians and German soldiers, Lucas offers a study of the social, economic and military phenomena of the Nazi regime.

Author: Heinz Guderian
Da Capo Press

General Heinz Guderian’s revolutionary strategic vision and his skill in armored combat brough Germany its initial victories during World War II. Combining Guderian’s land offensive with Luftwaffe attacks, the Nazi Blitzkrieg decimated the defenses of Poland, Norway, France—and, very neatly, Russia—at the war’s outset. But in 1941, when Guderian advised that ground forces should take a step back, Hitler dismissed him. In these pages, the outspoken general shares his candid point of view on what would have led Germany to victory, and what ensured that it didn’t. In addition to providing a rare inside look at key members of the Nazi party, Guderian reveals in detail how he developed the Panzer tank forces and orchestrated their various campaigns, from the break through at Sedan to his drive to the Channel coast that virtually decided the Battle of France. Panzer Leader became a bestseller within one year of its original publication in 1952 and has since been recognized as a classic account of the greatest conflict of our time.

Author: Armin Scheiderbauer
Helion and Company

The author could be described as a 'veteran' in every sense of the word, even though he was only aged 21 when the war ended. Armin Scheiderbauer served as an infantry officer with the 252nd Infantry Division, German Army, and saw four years of bitter combat on the Eastern Front, being wounded six times.

This is an outstanding personal memoir, written with great thoughtfulness and honesty. Scheiderbauer joined his unit during the winter of 1941/42, and during the following years saw fierce combat in many of the largest battles on the Eastern Front. His experiences of the 1943-45 period are particularly noteworthy, including his recollections of the massive Soviet offensives of summer 1944 and January 1945. Participating in the bitter battles in East Prussia, he was captured by the Soviets and not released until 1947.

Adventures in my Youth is a unique memoir - the author originally wrote it only for his daughter. It has never been published in any language, until now.

Author: Hans von Luck

A stunning look at World War II from the other side...

From the turret of a German tank, Colonel Hans von Luck commanded Rommel's 7th and then 21st Panzer Division. El Alamein, Kasserine Pass, Poland, Belgium, Normandy on D-Day, the disastrous Russian front—von Luck fought there with some of the best soldiers in the world. German soldiers.

Awarded the German Cross in Gold and the Knight's Cross, von Luck writes as an officer and a gentleman. Told with the vivid detail of an impassioned eyewitness, his rare and moving memoir has become a classic in the literature of World War II, a first-person chronicle of the glory—and the inevitable tragedy--of a superb soldier fighting Hitler's war.

Author: Siegfried Knappe

A German soldier during World War II offers an inside look at the Nazi war machine, using his wartime diaries to describe how a ruthless psychopath motivated an entire generation of ordinary Germans to carry out his monstrous schemes.

Author: Otto Carius (Translated by Robert J. Edwards)
Stackpole Books

WWII began with a metallic roar as the German Blitzkrieg raced across Europe, spearheaded by the most dreaded weapon of the 20th century: the Panzer. No German tank better represents that thundering power than the infamous Tiger, and Otto Carius was one of the most successful commanders to ever take a Tiger into battle, destroying well over 150 enemy tanks during his incredible career.

Author: Franz Schneider and Charles Gullans

An excerpt from the back cover of this book describes it best: "You're a German combat soldier--the victim of a master military plan that failed. Youuve been cut off from all help and left to perish in the city of Stalingrad in the early months of 1943. Freezing, starving, facing certain death, you're given the chance to write a last letter home. To whom do you write? What will you say? What thoughts go through your mind when you know you are going to die?" Needless to say, a very moving book!

Author: Jan Montyn
Viking Adult

A Dutch citizen, Montyn joined the German Navy in 1943. In this autobiography, he describes his experiences as a sailor in the Baltic, as a soldier on the Eastern Front, the digging out the city of Dresden, and his postwar experiences in the French Foreign Legion and Dutch Army.

Author: James Lucas
Greenhill Books

This book provides very interesting details on subjects rarely addressed on the Russian Front. I loved it. Much has been written about the tanks and infantry, but theis book teaches about the self propelled artillary, the rockets, staying warm, marching, terrain etc! This book is unashamed to detail the bravery, endurance, guile, skill and professionalism of the brave German soldier and his equally brave Russian foe. His writing style is excellent, the chapters and topics are short and sweet.

Author: Anthony Kemp
Illustrator: Angus McBride
Osprey (Men-at-Arms)

This fascinating study by Anthony Kemp outlines the careers and characters of a number of senior German commanders of the World War II period (1939-1945). To those who read military history many of the names are familiar. It is a paradox, however, that few biographies have been written. The impression still exists today of German generals as stiff-necked, scar-faced, monocled Prussians. Whilst in a few cases this was certainly true, the fact remains that all of them were men, some more ordinary than others. With a variety of photographs, eight full-page colour plates by Angus McBride, accompanied by ten pages of commentaries, this is a first-class addition to Osprey's Men-at-Arms series.

Author: Carlos Jurado
Illustrator: Ramiro Bujeiro
Osprey (Warrior)

Osprey's survey of the Blue Division soldiers of World War II (1939-1945). The all-volunteer 'Blue Division' was a formation that allowed Franco's technically neutral Spain to support Nazi Germany's invasion of Russia. Following initial training in Germany, the Blue Division's units were sent to the Eastern Front in August 1941, where, after a 40-day march to the front, the Division fought in several major battles including Leningrad. In 1943, with the tide turning against the Axis forces in Russia, the Division was ordered to be withdrawn, yet many men chose to stay on and serve with the Volunteer Legion. Even after the collapse in the East, some volunteered to serve with Waffen-SS units through to the fall of Berlin in 1945. This book narrates the experiences of the common soldier, exploring his motivation for serving the Wehrmacht, and detailing his dramatic experiences in a brutal and hostile theater of World War II.

Author: Jim Pool
Schiffer Publishing, Ltd.

This new book is the follow-on work to the author s well-received Rations of the German Wehrmacht in World War II. Aided by the discovery of a large body of wartime British Government intelligence reports this volume helps to further unravel the mysteries of the wartime German food industry. Utilizing the successful formula of the first book this volume addresses the Special/Emergency rations of the German military, the feeding of the German soldier during offensive operations, as well as offering a comparison of the German and U.S. Army ration organizations. Lavishly illustrated with photographs, charts, wartime advertisements, and other educational aids this book is a must for every serious collector and historian of the German military in World War II.

Author: John Wilkinson-Latham
Illustrator: Gerry Embleton
Osprey (Men-at-Arms)

Originally Churchill’s second choice as a commander, Montgomery was to make the 8th Army his own. Indeed, his first task as the new commander-elect of was to restore the morale of the army. The desert army quicly assumed the character of their forthright and cocksure commander, and the troops confidently expected victory. This they achieved at the Battle of El Alamein and the order of battle for the British and Dominion forces is detailed in full. The difficulties of desert warfare and the type of equipment and uniforms are also discussed.

This book examines the history, organisation, uniforms and equipment of Montgomery's army during the North African campaigns of World War 2. Major battles and weapons are all covered, and uniforms are shown in full colour artwork.

Author: Thomas McGuirl and Remy Spezzano
RZM Publishing

Panzergrenadier Division "Grossdeutschland" was one of Germany's most celebrated military formations of the Second World War. Formed in 1942 by the expansion of Infantry Regiment (motorized) "Grossdeutschland," the new division quickly earned its reputation on the Eastern Front of being the elite of the German Army. Twice the size of most other divisions, it was an immensely powerful and hard-hitting mechanized formation that cut a large swath through the Red Army, whether in the attack or on the defense. Its carefully selected officer and non-commissioned officer corps ensured that no matter what the odds, the division would always give a good account of itself in battle and would possess an esprit de corps enjoyed by few other comparable divisions, including those of the Waffen-SS.

The thousands of volunteers from every land and province in Germany who fought and died while serving in the ranks of Panzergrenadier Division "Grossdeutschland" represented a cross-section of German society, a radical departure from the manner in which most German divisions of the era were created. Now for the first time, the faces of these men, at rest and in battle, can be seen through the images gleaned from hundreds of photographs taken by the division's war correspondents or Kriegsberichter.

This outstanding selection of photographs, which until recently remained unseen for decades in a European archive, have been recovered and painstakingly researched by authors Remy Spezzano and Thomas McGuirl. Together with the assistance of the division's Veterans' association, they identified hundreds of men, living and dead, as well as dozens of combat vehicles, items of equipment, and specific engagements the division took part in from April 1942 to September 1944. Accompanied by a detailed narrative that ties each of the photos within the context of the war on the Eastern Front, "God, Honor, Fatherland" represents a milestone in the study of the war in the East and shows the face of the German soldier as he has never been shown before.

Author: Helmuth Spaeter
Schiffer Publishing, Ltd.

German language edition. A companion to the above book, this volume is chock full o' GD photos. It is also available in English, but I know not where. Photo history of one of the most elite fighting units in WWII by one of its former members. Includes listing of Knights Cross Winners.

Author: Helmuth Spaeter
J.J. Fedorowicz

The absolute "last-word" on GD. Translated from the German, this book has every thing there is about GD and its offspring units. Hard cover, small format (6" x 9"), 507 pages, 30+ maps and diagrams. This is the third and final volume of the text history of this elite formation. Sections include: The creation of Panzer-Korps "Großdeutschland"; the complete history of the Brandenburgers as a commando unit; the history of Panzer-Grenadier-Division "Brandenburg"; the final fighting of both "Großdeutschland" and "Brandenburg"; the activation of additional "Großdeutschland" formations in the final, desperate fighting; the "Führer" Divisions on the Eastern Front; the Panzer-Grenadier-Division "Kurmark". Each section is filled with detailed, first-hand accounts from the participants. The author is Knight's Cross recipient Helmut Spaeter.

Author: Helmuth Spaeter
J.J. Fedorowicz

The absolute "last-word" on GD. Translated from the German, this book has every thing there is about GD and its offspring units. Hard cover, small format (6" x 9"), 479 pages, many maps and orders of battle. The first volume of a 3-volume set covers the "GD" (Greater Germany) from its inception as a "Wach"-Regiment in 1921 through its evolution into an infantry regiment. Covered are the unit's first action in France in 1940 and its reorganization as a Panzergrenadier-Division. This volume covers the regiment/division through to the end of 1942. An excellent history of one of the most elite units of the German army.

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