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Soldat: Reflections of a German Soldier, 1936-1949 Mass Market Paperback – August 9, 1993


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Soldat: Reflections of a German Soldier, 1936-1949 + Black Edelweiss: A Memoir of Combat and Conscience by a Soldier of the Waffen-SS + In Deadly Combat: A German Soldier's Memoir of the Eastern Front (Modern War Studies)
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Product Details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 448 pages
  • Publisher: Dell; Reissue edition (August 9, 1993)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0440215269
  • ISBN-13: 978-0440215264
  • Product Dimensions: 1.2 x 4.1 x 6.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (107 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #99,024 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

This engaging, introspective memoir, coauthored with Bruslaw ( The Business Writer's Handbook ) offers insight into the thinking and attitudes of a Wehrmacht officer. Knappe served in the artillery during the invasions of Czechoslovakia, France and the Soviet Union and as a staff officer during the Italian campaign and the defense of Berlin. Though he had moral reservations about the Czech campaign and was troubled by his government's betrayal of its non-aggression pact with Russia, Knappe believed that his participation in combat was honorable and that the overriding purpose of the war was to correct the injustice perpetrated against Germany by the 1919 Treaty of Versailles. Only after he was captured by Soviet troops in 1945 did he begin to understand that he had been an "unthinking cog," accepting without question Hitler's might-makes-right philosophy. The memoir closes with an account of his release from a Soviet prison camp in 1949 and his reunion with his family in Leipzig. Knappe came to America in 1955 and is now a retired corporate executive in Ohio. Photos.
Copyright 1992 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Library Journal

Knappe's Wehrmacht career began in 1936. He participated in the final collapse of the Eastern Front, then spent more than four years as a Russian POW. Readers may doubt Knappe's insistence that he fought not for National Socialism but for Germany, but this mindset, common among his generation, cannot be dismissed out of hand as special pleading or selective memory. His memoir, based heavily on a wartime diary, shows a talented professional soldier and unreflective patriot who initially regarded Hitler as fulfilling legitimate German aspirations; by the time he began probing beneath the regime's surface, it was far too late to take action. Soldat makes a worthwhile companion to Hans von Luck's Panzer Commander ( LJ 10/15/89). Both works highlight an unresolved paradox: never did soldiers perform better in a worse cause than the men who served Adolf Hitler.
- D.E. Showalter, U.S. Air Force Acad., Colorado Springs
Copyright 1992 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

This book, aside from being a facinating look into pre and wartime Germany, was very well written and very readable.
soldat1944
An amazing story of a German Artillery Officer from his training to the invasion of Poland to Russia and the last desperate battle of Berlin and his capture.
J Cook
Ever since I first picked up a copy of this book, I've loved it so much that I think I've read the thing at least 4 times!
Jonathan Walters

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

106 of 109 people found the following review helpful By Ross Schlichting on April 24, 2000
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Out of every war there are survivors, and it is sometimes amazing how they make it through their ordeals. This is truly a picture of just how a commander's whim, school selection or being wounded can take you out of a potentially deadly situation (or stick you right back into one!) It shows just what a crapshoot surviving combat is.
It is also a great insight into the German indoctrination process of young men and how they were eventually turned into soldiers. Another plus is the insight into the training of the German non-mechanized artilleryman (I've read enough about Panzers) and how the peacetime German soldier acted and thought. It is nice to read another interesting viewpoint of the last days of the Fuehrer Bunker as well. This book is also one of the very few that discusses in some detail being held prisoner by the Russians after the war.
In response to other reviews, I don't think it was Knappe's goal to do any soul searching for what had happened during the war. He was an officer and a soldier. He did not allow himself to be put in questionable war crime offense situations. He treated his soldiers and prisoners with respect and dignity.
German soldier autobiographies do not need reflection, soul-searching or some kind of apology to tell how they feel now after having time to think about the war. Knappe was a soldier doing the best he could for his country, just like the men from other nations. He was not a member of the Nazi Party, or a fanatical facist, just a soldier.
Knappe did not agree with everything that Germany did, from both a tactical and philosophical standpoint, but this is a soldier's tale. He did what he had to do to complete his missions and survive.
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47 of 49 people found the following review helpful By Michael Valdivielso on February 8, 2003
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Follow a German soldier from his training, to the battlefield, from Russia to Italy, to the Battle for Berlin and then to his capture by the Russians. The details of life both on the front and at home really brings us into the war, allowing us to see how conditions change and how his view on war and the Reich also change. A few extras, like a small glossary and a organizational chart are not really needed. The book is about life in the Reich as much as the battles the Wehrmacht fought. Lots about the daily life of the German soldier, from their food, how they dealt with the weather, how they dealt with the horror of battle.
A must for seeing the war from a PERSON's point of view.
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48 of 52 people found the following review helpful By D. Brown on September 28, 2002
Format: Mass Market Paperback
I have read several military memoirs. Some were great, and others were self serving, egotistical garbage. Richard Marcinco's books fall into the latter category. Siegfried Knappe's Soldat is on the other end of the spectrum. Knappe has written an entertaining, and very engrossing book that covers his distinguished career in the German army. If you want an honest German perspective of World War Two, look no further than Soldat.
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18 of 18 people found the following review helpful By Jonathan Walters on June 14, 2006
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Ever since I first picked up a copy of this book, I've loved it so much that I think I've read the thing at least 4 times!

Soldat is a book that chronicles the recollections of a German named Siegfried Knapp, an ordinary boy caught up in WW2 Germany. While there are many books out there about WW2 in general and the Germans in particular, Soldat is remarkable in that its story is told from Knapp's perspective and on a very personal level. While reading, one gets a real sense of being `in the trenches', as Knapp details very vividly his experiences from basic training and artillery school (with some very memorable parts), through to the officer's academy and on to service on multiple fronts. The culmination of his service was the battle for Berlin, and his subsequent imprisonment by the Soviets is also covered.

What sets Soldat apart from other books on the subject matter is that the focus is on what directly relates to Knapp; there are no discussions about grand strategy or the motivations behind Hitler's invasion of the U.S.S.R. Instead, the reader is treated to a glimpse of life from inside the German army and German society, from someone who experienced it directly.

Overall, this book is definitely recommended for those wanting a more in-depth look at the German army from a true ground up and personal perspective. Those looking for Sven Hassel-esque action or Osprey-style discussions on strategy may be disappointed though and should look elsewhere.
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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Craig H. Tarr on November 2, 2005
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Soldat

Author-Siegfried Knappe with Ted Brusaw

Dell Publishing

Copyright 1992 by Siegfried Knappe and Charles Brusaw

Printed 1993

Paperback 430 pages, 14 pages black/white photos.

This book is about the life and service in the German army between 1936 and 1949 of the author Siegfried Knappe.

In 1936 the author graduates from the gymnasium and enters the Labor Service. From there he joins the army in the artillery arm. On his first day with the artillery he is disappointed by the fact that it is not mechanized and all horse drawn. What is interesting that this did not change in his unit until Italy signed the armistice with the Allies and his unit took over the Italian motorized transport.

He served in the occupation of Sudetenland, the invasion of France, the Invasion of Russia, the Italian campaign and the defense of Berlin. By the end of the war he had moved up in rank and joined the generals staff complete with red stripes on his pants to designate himself as a senior officer. During his career he met Hitler several times and at the end of the war was held by the Russians at the Krasnogorsk Prison camp. He was lucky, he survived and was released in 1949 after 5 years of captivity. During the war he married and had children which gives an insight into the hardships that the civilian population suffered, as well as the soldiers worry about family at home.

This book provides a great deal of information on how the units operated and the state of the German Army throughout the war years. It deals with the prewar years as well as the postwar years of Germany and the horrible ordeal between the two.
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