Soldat: Reflections of a German Soldier, 1936-1949

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Soldat: Reflections of a German Soldier, 1936-1949 [Mass Market Paperback]

Siegfried Knappe , Ted Brusaw
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (111 customer reviews)

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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.

From Kirkus Reviews

World War II from inside the Wehrmacht. Knappe, one of the Third Reich's best and brightest, trained under Rommel and distinguished himself rapidly, meeting the Fhrer as a young peacetime soldier. He lived and fought through most of the major campaigns (France, Russia, Italy, the defense of Berlin), cheating death time after time, surviving for nearly five years as a Russian prisoner. Here, aided by Brusaw (The Business Writer's Handbook--not reviewed), Knappe offers precise, affecting memories of the WW II era--of his family, his circle, and a Jewish friend who had to leave Germany; of the way people lived in different places he was billeted, and of the textures of his life: the Russian winter and the hell of combat are palpable. No everyman, Knappe comes off as sensitive as well as dutiful, and remorseless in his respect for his own life. Yet the self-deceptions of nationalism and war appear in justifying asides here and there. He was bothered by the use of children in the war, he tells us, but outraged when a teenaged leader failed to report that they had fled their position, and he was nonplussed by a Russian woman who thought Fascism would be as bad as Communism. His memoir displays an unnerving acceptance of an establishment: There is no hint of civil disobedience. Knappe was disturbed about the treatment of Jews and wondered, ``Why invade Russian when we have a treaty?''- -but his ethic of discipline did not allow him the initiative of those who plotted to kill Hitler. Withal, a superb description of the German war machine from creation to defeat, and a fine, absorbing chronicle of a remarkable time. (Forty-five b&w photographs--not seen.) -- Copyright ©1992, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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