What are the best and most comprehensive books on the Wehrmacht?

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geist1871
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What are the best and most comprehensive books on the Wehrmacht?

Post by geist1871 » 17 Jan 2019 15:48

Hey guys, I've had an account here for a while and just decided to write my first post. Anyway, I am looking for the best and most thorough books about the Wehrmacht and Germany's general military effectiveness during WWII. Thanks in advance!

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Re: What are the best and most comprehensive books on the Wehrmacht?

Post by Cult Icon » 17 Jan 2019 16:21

I believe that this is an essential book, that came out too late for me. The insights contained are hugely valuable and widely applicable. Reading this will save you a lot of mental energy and time with a large number of memoirs and so forth:

https://www.amazon.com/Rise-Fall-Comrad ... =8-2-fkmr0
This is an innovative account of how the concept of comradeship shaped the actions, emotions and ideas of ordinary German soldiers across the two world wars and during the Holocaust. Using individual soldiers' diaries, personal letters and memoirs, Kühne reveals the ways in which soldiers' longing for community, and the practice of male bonding and togetherness, sustained the Third Reich's pursuit of war and genocide. Comradeship fuelled the soldiers' fighting morale. It also propelled these soldiers forward into war crimes and acts of mass murders. Yet, by practising comradeship, the soldiers could maintain the myth that they were morally sacrosanct. Post-1945, the notion of kameradschaft as the epitome of humane and egalitarian solidarity allowed Hitler's soldiers to join the euphoria for peace and democracy in the Federal Republic, finally shaping popular memories of the war through the end of the twentieth century.

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Re: What are the best and most comprehensive books on the Wehrmacht?

Post by jesk » 17 Jan 2019 18:16

Warlimont, Manstein, Goth, Bock, Guderian, Halder. The rest is second hand, their opinion is similar to the forum participants and is controversial.

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Re: What are the best and most comprehensive books on the Wehrmacht?

Post by Cult Icon » 17 Jan 2019 18:37

This book is another one that I wish came out earlier- I arrived at the same conclusions after spending hundreds of hours studying the Eastern Front 1941-1944. Then this book came out and made a portion of my efforts redundant. It's a big time saver. Perhaps one day someone will write a multi-volume history of the rise and fall of the German army and bring all the threads together.

https://www.amazon.com/Enduring-Whirlwi ... 520&sr=8-1

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Re: What are the best and most comprehensive books on the Wehrmacht?

Post by TheMarcksPlan » 18 Jan 2019 03:38

jesk wrote:
17 Jan 2019 18:16
Warlimont, Manstein, Goth, Bock, Guderian, Halder. The rest is second hand, their opinion is similar to the forum participants and is controversial.
This is how most historians saw things for ~50 years.
Then some younger, smarter folks realized that the memoirs and (to a lesser extent) the diaries are all written by men with an agenda.
Good historians (Glantz, Stahel, Tooze - the writers of the series "Germany in the Second World War" - Boog, Foerster et. al. ) read the memoirs but look beyond them to archival material from both sides. I'd recommend any of their books. Glantz is less an authority on the Wehrmacht than on the Red Army but you'll have a good picture nonetheless. Stahel is one of the best around.

Also the work Niklas Zetterling and Anders Frankson. Their book on Kursk is a good starting point.

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Re: What are the best and most comprehensive books on the Wehrmacht?

Post by Cult Icon » 18 Jan 2019 03:50

I agree, the Bock and Halder war diaries are must reads but notes with little context and a weak enemy picture. Manstein and Guderian's memoirs are sanitized towards their own agenda and have portions that are highly flawed.

Stahel's series on Barbarossa is a must-read and so is Glantz's much more complicated "Barbarossa Derailed". The WW2 in Germany series is a valuable reference.

Forcyck also has two volumes called "Tank Warfare on the Eastern Front" that is a summary of EF tank battles compiled from a lot of more current secondary sources.

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Re: What are the best and most comprehensive books on the Wehrmacht?

Post by Duncan_M » 18 Jan 2019 05:07

Cult Icon wrote:
17 Jan 2019 16:21
I believe that this is an essential book, that came out too late for me. The insights contained are hugely valuable and widely applicable. Reading this will save you a lot of mental energy and time with a large number of memoirs and so forth:

https://www.amazon.com/Rise-Fall-Comrad ... =8-2-fkmr0
This is an innovative account of how the concept of comradeship shaped the actions, emotions and ideas of ordinary German soldiers across the two world wars and during the Holocaust. Using individual soldiers' diaries, personal letters and memoirs, Kühne reveals the ways in which soldiers' longing for community, and the practice of male bonding and togetherness, sustained the Third Reich's pursuit of war and genocide. Comradeship fuelled the soldiers' fighting morale. It also propelled these soldiers forward into war crimes and acts of mass murders. Yet, by practising comradeship, the soldiers could maintain the myth that they were morally sacrosanct. Post-1945, the notion of kameradschaft as the epitome of humane and egalitarian solidarity allowed Hitler's soldiers to join the euphoria for peace and democracy in the Federal Republic, finally shaping popular memories of the war through the end of the twentieth century.
Didn't read it myself but I'm perplexed over the synopsis. Is the author suggesting the typical small unit cohesion typical of long service, all-male soldiers, grouped together in close proximity, placed in trying/stressful situations, performing tasks requiring intense teamwork, present throughout history in untold armies, is some sort of facilitator of the Holocaust and other German war crimes?

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Re: What are the best and most comprehensive books on the Wehrmacht?

Post by jesk » 18 Jan 2019 14:28

TheMarcksPlan wrote:
18 Jan 2019 03:38
jesk wrote:
17 Jan 2019 18:16
Warlimont, Manstein, Goth, Bock, Guderian, Halder. The rest is second hand, their opinion is similar to the forum participants and is controversial.
This is how most historians saw things for ~50 years.
Then some younger, smarter folks realized that the memoirs and (to a lesser extent) the diaries are all written by men with an agenda.
Good historians (Glantz, Stahel, Tooze - the writers of the series "Germany in the Second World War" - Boog, Foerster et. al. ) read the memoirs but look beyond them to archival material from both sides. I'd recommend any of their books. Glantz is less an authority on the Wehrmacht than on the Red Army but you'll have a good picture nonetheless. Stahel is one of the best around.

Also the work Niklas Zetterling and Anders Frankson. Their book on Kursk is a good starting point.
These historians often seek complex solutions where they are not. For the task 2 + 2, the formula is (535-533) + (9877-9876) + (1 * 1) = 4. One, two, three, four, five million Soviet pows. And a lot of mistakes Hitler. Germany and the USSR in normal conditions rivals of different weight categories.

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Re: What are the best and most comprehensive books on the Wehrmacht?

Post by Cult Icon » 18 Jan 2019 15:37

+

Ziemke's series, dated but still very useful and in the German POV

Moscow to Stalingrad, Stalingrad to Berlin

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