On Reenacting Axis Troops
by Ed Franzosa
In past years there has been some claptrap about the motives of people who portray German soldiers. And, more regrettably, there also has been a revival of the false propaganda malarkey that questions the motives of the common man who fights for his country and the society he grew up in. No one has the right to judge the motives and emotions that cause a man to serve his country in military duty. Here are the facts as I see them: If his country is at war, a young man joins the military for three basic reasons:
Duty and Patriotism
Anyone with their head screwed on right feels a love for their own country and a duty towards protecting their homeland. It is much like your family-protect it first and ask questions later.
When your friends are all going off to fight the enemies of your country, you want to do the same. In many cases a whole group of friends would enlist together on the basis that they could stay together and fight together. The US Army in WWII made special provisions for this. Many men grow up in families where military service is an expected duty of each young man; I know, for my family was of this kind.
War is the most exciting business there is. Nothing, nothing at all, can compare to the feelings that one experiences in combat. (If you haven't been there, you just don't know what I am talking about. I have and I, like other veterans, will never forget--Ed Franzosa)
A young man in Germany felt the same emotions that a young man in the US or England or Russia felt. His motives for fighting for his country were just as right, just as pure, and just as proper. If you were NOT there at the time, then you do not have a good basis for questioning his decision now. Monday morning quarterbacking 50 years later smacks of hypocrisy. When I was in Vietnam we had a drinking toast from an old Navy legend--"My country. May she always be right; but right or wrong--My Country!" It was valid in 1969, it valid today, and it was valid in the 1940's too. Reenacting should be viewed in the light of a young German man going to fight for HIS country-doing what he felt was best for him and his country. There should be no recriminations against him and the choices he made in 1939-45. He followed the path of his duty to his country at that time.
A final note: Remember that our former enemy (Germany) is now our most important ally in Europe and that our former ally (Russia) was for years, our worst enemy and the one that most seriously threatened the American way of life.