WW II and Hitler’s Army Essay (Book Review)
The book by Omer Bartov gives a detailed encounter of an army in Germany called Wehrmacht during the reign of Hitler. It depicts aspects some of the reasons why the army engaged in the war between Germany and Russia. The prevailing politics may have motivated the army. It is also believed that professional skills and competences that guided their operations was a major source of motivation.
Besides, the following review explores whether the army was a threat to Hitler’s regime or not. It may also be possible that the top officials were merely executing the national socialist ideologies in order to enhance the unity and structure of the army. Some of the aspects of a country’s strategic culture that can be highlighted from this book have been discussed below.
During the Second World War, the Wehrmacht’s success was largely based on the ideologies dictated by the Nazi regime despite of advanced technology that was used to fight the experienced Russian army. The German army was extremely inferior in terms of experience and use of technology compared to its opponents. However, through their organization, they were able to counter the attacks made by their mighty opponents.
Lack of technologically advanced war mechanisms on the side of German troops led to the acceptance of Hitler’s views. According to Hitler’s views, the battle was a struggle for survival.
This ideology demanded total spiritual commitment which was largely a pseudo- religious and mythical ideology that greatly influenced the army against the military, political and traditional values. Bertov (1999) indicates that the commitment by the Wehrmacht army was largely dependent on ideologies, mythology and fanaticism.
After the massive defeat and deaths of the German army in the war that took place in the eastern side, it was evident that the traditional groups (primary groups) of the army were no longer working as a unit to in the army. Therefore, it was necessary to reorganize the social groupings in the army.
The Nazi regime had to integrate a new perspective of imaginary groupings so that the troops could look at the war as their duty. Therefore, they could do anything to destroy any real or imaginary enemies (Bartov, 1999).
Perversion of discipline
Bartov (1999) believed that one of the motivations that made the groups stick together was the harsh discipline which the troops exercised. Unity of the groups depended on the military rule and largely relied on how the army perceived its moral and legal basis. Even when the enemies seemed to be more superior than the German army, the groups never disintegrated completely.
This aspect seemed to have been contributed by discipline and the common view which soldiers had about the war. Other than the required discipline as outlined in the martial law, Bartov indicates that much of the discipline and obedience in the army command was not merely due to an ideologically motivated unity. It was also due to fear of brutal punishment.
Any force of opposition from the opponent’s army and civilians was met with maximum brutality. Discipline was in line with changes in the martial law. This was considered as the extension of the ideologies of the Nazi regime.
Distortion of reality
The aspect of distortion of the reality resulted from the ideological perceptions of the regime that were instilled in the minds of the soldiers during both training and at while at war. One of the Nazi ideologies was the use of propaganda in order to make the soldiers believe that the war was meant to protect humanity from demonic attacks.
Finally, the Nazi regime and its ideologies changed how the German army operated especially during World War II. These ideologies were instrumental in maintaining the military forces together that were needed to fight their enemies despite immense challenges (Bartov, 1999)
Bartov, O. (1999). Hitler’s Army: Soldiers, Nazi and War in the Third Reich. New York: Oxford University Press.
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