D-Day through German eyes

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  • D-Day through German eyes
  • I lived on a D-Day beach for a while. Juno.

    While I was there, I got to know a lot of different folks, we became friends. A few of us, in a mixed group of British, French and German, went on a tour of the cemeteries. We went to British, German, Canadian, American, all of them. There were moments that I will never forget in that. Moments when humans put aside the past.

    Go to the beaches. Go and see it. Please.

    Premier Icon leffeboy
    Subscriber

    It goes to show that misinformation is nothing new really :(.

    And the cemeteries. The time has to be right but they need to be seen

    tjagain
    Member

    I (sort of) read a book about the dambusters raids from a German point of view – that was interesting. the winners write the history. “The forsaken army” about a German soldiers experiences at Stalingrad was also sobering reading

    Premier Icon oldnpastit
    Subscriber

    Check the 1 star reviews on this book. There’s some suspicion that these interviews are not entirely legit.

    I think there was actually a thread on STW about this very book a few years back.

    Sorry.

    EDIT, yes, here’s one of them, but I think there were more:

    http://singletrackworld.com/forum/topic/non-fiction-d-day-history-book-seems-fake-should-i-be-annoyed

    Duffer
    Member

    There’s some suspicion that these interviews are not entirely legit.

    Given that the interviewer was a German propagandist, that wouldn’t surprise me. [Edit – or perhaps the whole thing is a fake]. I’ll read the reviews.

    Either way, I enjoyed it.

    JackHammer
    Member

    Tigers in the mud is pretty interesting for a German point of view too. Mainly based on the eastern front.

    Duffer
    Member

    Picked up this book on Amazon earlier today, and I’ve pretty much finished it already.

    In the 1950s an ex-nazi propagandist conducted a series of interviews with various ex-Wehrmacht rank-and-file who were in Normandy for D-Day; one from each of the five allied beaches. The transcripts of these interviews laid unpublished until his grandson discovered them decades later. That’s what makes up this book.

    It’s bloody fascinating, and deeply disturbing. It seemed that many of the Germans genuinely believed that they were trying to defend a united Europe from the Allied imperialism and Bolshevik communism. The first account in particular is harrowing.

    If you’re after some war to learn about, this is amazing. There is also a book 2, with a further 5 accounts. Well recommended.

    atlaz
    Member

    I (sort of) read a book about the dambusters raids from a German point of view – that was interesting. the winners write the history.

    My mum’s uncle was in a work camp in the Ruhr that got hit by the floor after the dams. He survived as he was in the toilet. Not all of his fellow forced workers (all French) were as lucky. Despite this and half of the city being bombed flat by the Americans to get the railway bridge (it’s still there), he never had any bitterness towards the allies.

    There’s lots of “from the view of the Germans” books on Amazon. Some are dull. Some are written by unrepentant Nazis and some are fascinating. The diaries tend to be a more accurate representation even if a lot are pretty tedious.

    cranberry
    Member

    I have both books in the series.

    With regard to the interviews, they were done in the 1950’s, so understandable that they were both lucid and rather well remembered.

    It is interesting to see how many times “united europe” or some variation on the theme is brought up, such as “defending europe from the Anglo-saxons”.

    outofbreath
    Member

    Totally fake.

    I’ve read the first one and it’s a terrific read but they’re fiction, the whole back story about them being real accounts collected by the guy’s dad is made up. If you read a few books about D-Day you can pretty much identify his sources, plus there are multiple references to stuff from ‘Signal’, which was clearly also a source for the Author.

    If you’re interested in D-Day just go to BBC History Magazine website and listen to a few of the D-Day related podcasts all of which are by serious Historians.

    mt
    Member

    “defend a united Europe from the Allied imperialism and Bolshevik communism” is this what revisionism means.

    Lived near Sainte Mere Eglise and the locals (around in the 1940’s) seemed not to have got the “United Europe” message from there German occupiers.

    I shall look out for the book though and perhaps learn something.

    is the guy that wrote the book called Leo Kessler?

    cranberry
    Member

    “defend a united Europe from the Allied imperialism and Bolshevik communism” is this what revisionism means.

    Search google for “nazi propoganda europa” and you will find that it was quite common for the nazis to claim that they were defending europe against bad people on either side.

    outofbreath
    Member

    “defend a united Europe from the Allied imperialism and Bolshevik communism”

    It seems some Germans did think that to some degree:

    http://www.historyextra.com/podcast/germany%E2%80%99s-world-war-two

    lazybike
    Member

    I vaguely remember seeing an account of D-Day from a German soldier who’d estimated that he’d fired more than 10000 rounds..

    Premier Icon nedrapier
    Subscriber

    “defend a united Europe from the Allied imperialism and Bolshevik communism”

    It seems some Germans did think that to some degree:

    Course they did! What’s the alternative? “We’re the baddies, we’ve got to stop the good guys winning?”

    outofbreath
    Member

    Course they did!

    Yup, so it’s not revisionism, it’s what they really thought.

    lazybike
    Member

    The only book I’ve read that makes sense of war is the Bhagavad Gita.

    OrmanCheep
    Member

    “We’re the baddies, we’ve got to stop the good guys winning?”

    It must have been obvious they were the baddies though? They had skulls on their helmets…

    [video]https://youtu.be/hn1VxaMEjRU[/video]

    mitsumonkey
    Member

    the Germans genuinely believed that they were trying to defend a united Europe from the Allied imperialism and Bolshevik communism

    Angela Merkel and Brexit spring to mind 😆

    outofbreath
    Member

    Angela Merkel and Brexit spring to mind

    Perfidious Albion.

    Premier Icon nickc
    Subscriber

    Thanks outofbreath, fascinating podcast

    TurnerGuy
    Member

    Angela Merkel and Brexit spring to mind

    didn’t Jean-Claude Juncker’s ancestors have something to do with the manufacture of the Stuka dive-bomber?

    JackHammer
    Member

    That mitchell and webb sketch has got to be one the most profound things they’ve ever done.

    outofbreath
    Member

    Thanks outofbreath, fascinating podcast

    I always wondered why Germany carried on when they were sure to lose, and why ‘normal’ people went along with something so unpleasent and so mad and then stuck with it even when all was obviously lost. Was quite a suprised to find that there are enough records from people involved in the big decisions and enough accounts from ‘normal’ people at the time to answer those questions to my satisfaction, if not definitively.

    wilburt
    Member

    why ‘normal’ people went along with something so unpleasant and so mad

    Is there an simple answer to this one?

    I ask as when I was growing up in Leeds there was this old Serbian chap who I once got talking to. He said he was still haunted by what he had seen (and I suspect done) during the war on behalf of the Germans.

    outofbreath
    Member

    Is there an simple answer to this one?

    Fairly simple. I think with an hours reading you could get enough insights to understand why Hitler wouldn’t give up, why the Generals couldn’t unseat him and how a bit of propaganda could play to pre-existing views to make the war seem like the Allies fault and surrender seem a bad idea.

    Clearly any answer is going to be over simplistic and no apply to everyone, but I’m satisfied with the various answers as I understand them.

    Premier Icon johnnystorm
    Subscriber

    why ‘normal’ people went along with something so unpleasant and so mad

    Any contemporary examples eh?

    With the Red Army breathing down your necks you might as well go down fighting as you weren’t going to get an easy ride either way.

    Pyro
    Member

    why ‘normal’ people went along with something so unpleasant and so mad

    Is there an simple answer to this one?[/quote]

    Nothing simple, I suspect. I remember seeing quoted somewhere, I think it was Rudolf Hess saying that the biggest issue (and also biggest advantage) in the German collective psyche in the build-up to war was obedience.

    outofbreath
    Member

    I think it was Rudolf Hess saying that the biggest issue (and also biggest advantage) in the German collective psyche in the build-up to war was obedience.

    The fact places like Holland (no previous tradition of Anti-Semitism and a totally integrated Jewish population) deported 80pc of their Jewish population to Labour/Death camps supports ‘obedience’ as one of the factors. An effective civil service that were used to doing what they were asked is probably fairly easy to subvert especially if a just-about-credible cover story was used.

    swanny853
    Member

    I lived on a D-Day beach for a while. Juno.

    Not until you told us.

    I have this on the kindle ready to read, shame to find out it’s ‘contentious’

    dragon
    Member

    It seemed that many of the Germans genuinely believed that they were trying to defend a united Europe from the Allied imperialism and Bolshevik communism.

    Well to a large extent they were, problem is they started it.

    outofbreath
    Member

    I have this on the kindle ready to read, shame to find out it’s ‘contentious’

    It’s still a great read, I couldn’t put it down even after I twigged it was fiction.

    arrpee
    Member

    Currently reading ‘Alone in Berlin’ by Hans Fallada. It’s a piece of, (seemingly, very well-informed) fiction about an elderly couple living in Berlin during the war years, who take it upon themselves to perpetrate (very modest) acts of resistance against the regime.

    Not quite finished it yet, but it’s ace. Really conveys how the system elevated the absolute worst in society and created an atmosphere of constant fear, in which you could be denounced at any moment by practically anyone, for any reason.

    I think there’s a movie adaptation coming out soon.

    stumpy01
    Member

    arrpee – Member

    Currently reading ‘Alone in Berlin’ by Hans Fallada. It’s a piece of, (seemingly, very well-informed) fiction about an elderly couple living in Berlin during the war years, who take it upon themselves to perpetrate (very modest) acts of resistance against the regime.

    That’s a good book. It’s based on a true story, but I’m not sure how true to the actual story it really is.

    the Germans genuinely believed that they were trying to defend a united Europe from the Allied imperialism and Bolshevik communism

    Well, it’s pretty much what happened, the only issue was the version of united Europe which they offered

    Premier Icon nickc
    Subscriber

    problem is they started it.

    Many Germans saw WW2 as the almost inevitable conclusion to what happened at the end of WW1 Same encirclement fears, bolshevism to the east, imperialism to the west. Hitler warning then that the old powers would declare war (which provoked by him obviously; they did) but at the same time willing to at least half believe the propaganda.

    Honestly, listen to OOB’s podcast if you’re at all interested

    Moses
    Member

    Late last century we swapped houses several times with German familes for our holidays. In one therewas an early ‘1930s school atlas, showing the German view of Europe’s power balance, with antagonistic powers on all sides: France, Russia, Britain and others. From a German perspective, it looked most scary – hence the reason for their re-armament.

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