War of Extermination: The German Military in World War II

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Hannes Heer, Klaus Naumann
Berghahn Books, 2004 - History - 504 pages
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Among the many myths about the relationship of Nazism to the mass of the German population, few proved more powerful in postwar West Germany than the notion that the Wehrmacht had not been involved in the crimes of the Third Reich. Former generals were particularly effective in spreading, through memoirs and speeches, the legend that millions of German soldiers had fought an honest and "clean" war and that mass murder, especially in the East, was entirely the work of Himmler's SS. This volume contains the most important contributions by distinguished historians who have thoroughly demolished this Wehrmacht myth. The picture that emerges from this collection is a depressing one and raises many questions about why "ordinary men" got involved as perpetrators and bystanders in an unprecedented program of extermination of "racially inferior" men, women, and children in Eastern Europe and the Soviet Union during the Second World War. Those who have seen these terrible photos of mass executions and other atrocities, currently on show in an exhibition in Germany and soon to be in the United States, will find this volume most enlightening.

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About the author (2004)

Klaus Naumann is a historain and journalist; both are Fellows of the Hamburg Institute for Social Studies.

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