wehrgeistige Führung

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Derry C-R
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Joined: 09 May 2006 15:14
Location: Bath UK

wehrgeistige Führung

Post by Derry C-R » 31 Oct 2006 08:33

In the Wehrmacht, especially after the defeat at Stalingrad, there was a concerted drive by the top brass to promote what is termed "wehrgeistige Führung" -- literally "military-spiritual guidance", or something similar -- with unit officers talking to their men to instil:
(a) fanatical devotion to the National Socialist cause, and belief in Germandom's superiority over others (so it goes much further than "morale support")
(b) keenness for the fight against the Satan of bolshevism, and unshakeable belief in final victory.
It thus has both an ideological and a combat morale aspect

Has anyone come across a standard, generally-accepted English equivalent for this phrase, already accepted and used in the literature? It's used heavily in several chapters of a history of WW2 I'm translating and editing, and I still haven't found a really satisfactory rendering.

Thanks for any help

Tom from Cornwall
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Joined: 01 May 2006 19:52
Location: UK

Re: wehrgeistige Führung

Post by Tom from Cornwall » 20 Mar 2021 20:39

A very old thread, but I came across the term "wehrgeistige" in the war diary for 26 Panzer Division this evening.

Dated 25 October 1942, the reference reads:
Der Div.-Kdr. nimmt mit einigen Kommandeure und dem Ic der Div. an einem Vortrag des Oberst Sprengel über wehrgeistige Betreuung bei der Armee teil.
I translated it as:
The Divisional Commander, with some commanders and the Ic of the Division, takes part in a lecture by Oberst Sprengel about the generation of defensive spirit in the army.
Anyone seen a better translation for that term? "Defensive" doesn't seem right, how about "stronger combat spirit"?



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