On a visit to the British National Archive in 2001, Sonke Neitzel made a remarkable discovery: reams of meticulously transcribed conversations among German POWs that had been covertly recorded and recently declassified. Neitzel would later find another collection of transcriptions, twice as extensive, in the National Archive in Washington, D.C. These were discoveries that would provide a unique and profoundly important window into the true mentality of the soldiers in the Wehrmacht, the Luftwaffe, the German navy, and the military in general - almost all of whom had insisted on their own honorable behavior during the war.
Collaborating with renowned social psychologist Harald Welzer, Neitzel examines these conversations - and the casual, pitiless brutality omnipresent in them - from a historical and psychological perspective, and in reconstructing the frameworks and situations behind these conversations, they have created a powerful narrative of wartime experience.
©2011 Soenke Neitzel and Harald Welzer; English translation by Jefferson Chase copyright 2012 (P)2012 HighBridge Company
I grew up in a town close to Camp Forrest where German POWs were held in the continental United States during the war. Although this book deals with German POWs held in The United Kingdom, this book was of particular interest to me. I was shocked at how prevalent the ideas about people in territories invaded by nazi troops were. It seemed to be more or less accepted that regardless of any written rules of conduct (which seem nebulous at times), that committing rape and murder were perfectly acceptable practices. Any small act was accepted as a pretext for the most appalling crimes against humanity. The "thousand year reich" will certainly be remembered for far more than a thousand years for these acts. I pray that we do better.
Perhaps, this subject was revealing and exemplary in letting us hear the voices and thoughts of the men that built and were part of the Third Reich.
Yes, as I see the perspective here as vital not well known, how ordinary and plain these soldiers were, yet the Nazi Regime shaped them into people that could obey the unconscionable.
well enough, though the subject matter is quite dry at times
Reflect on how precious choice is and I thank God I have the freedom to have many choices.
The subject matter is dark and dry in it's presentation but was invaluable in showing what happens when ordinary men are compromised by leaders intent on evil. Good leadership is vital
I listen to a lot of first-person histories of the war. Since I don't speak German, I was hoping that this book would give me some insight into the German war experience.
The author spends a tremendous amount of time on the sociological and psychological reasons behind the soldiers actions, and how easy they were persuaded that what they did was normal, expected, and "just a job".
Dull, dull, dull, dull...
I'm returning this audiobook. I couldn't make it through the first hour.
I listen to approximately 50 hours of audio books a month. I love audio books.
I was very interested in listening to the soldiers recordings but tended to dose off when the author started analysing their conversations. I'm not saying I did not value the authors input; I would of just preferred to listen to more of what the soldiers had to say. Some of their stories where just incredible. I'm so happy I did not have to live through such an ordeal. It's a worth while listen for anyone interested in WWII from a German soldier's point of view.
A good listen if you are a history wonk maybe not as interesting for those looking for pure entertainment.
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