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Reluctant Accomplice: A Wehrmacht Soldier's Letters from the Eastern Front

by

Reluctant Accomplice: A Wehrmacht Soldier's Letters from the Eastern Front Cover

 

Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

"There were German soldiers in World War II who went to war with open eyes. Many condoned what they saw or did not care. Others were shaken, and even they hesitated to write it all down. Their flickers of conscience, the way they struggled to articulate their doubts, their sense of futility in the face of degrading circumstances, and their knowledge of the incommensurability of good deeds in a barbarous war--all this makes the letters of Konrad Jarausch an important and challenging document."--Michael Geyer, University of Chicago

"This is a fascinating and moving collection of letters from the German side of World War II. The esteemed historian Konrad H. Jarausch has edited the letters of his father, a reserve officer on the eastern front, who died of typhoid fever in 1942. With unblinking honesty, Jarausch presents the father he never knew--a deeply religious, well-educated, conservative nationalist, a man sympathetic to the Nazis. Yet amid the brutalities perpetrated by the Third Reich, Jarausch Senior found his common humanity with Nazism's victims. Jarausch Junior's sensitive and intelligent introduction, which masterfully captures the complicated meaning of German history in the twentieth century, only adds to the value of the book."--Eric D. Weitz, author of Weimar Germany: Promise and Tragedy

"This is a moving collection of letters by Jarausch's father, who served as a soldier in World War II and died in Russia in 1942. Here is the evolution of a patriotic supporter of Hitler's regime into a man so horrified by the reality of German war making, war crimes, and genocide that he gradually loses faith in everything he believed in."--Omer Bartov, author of Hitler's Army: Soldiers, Nazis, and War in the Third Reich

"A very intriguing book. These letters provide a valuable portrait of a middle-class German at war. His letters are worth reading for his seriousness of purpose, his wonderful eye for detail, and his persistent humaneness in the face of the awful conditions around him. There is poignancy knowing Jarausch looked for and found his own father, whom he never knew, through these letters."--Norman M. Naimark, author of Fires of Hatred: Ethnic Cleansing in Twentieth-Century Europe

Synopsis:

"There were German soldiers in World War II who went to war with open eyes. Many condoned what they saw or did not care. Others were shaken, and even they hesitated to write it all down. Their flickers of conscience, the way they struggled to articulate their doubts, their sense of futility in the face of degrading circumstances, and their knowledge of the incommensurability of good deeds in a barbarous war--all this makes the letters of Konrad Jarausch an important and challenging document."--Michael Geyer, University of Chicago

"This is a fascinating and moving collection of letters from the German side of World War II. The esteemed historian Konrad H. Jarausch has edited the letters of his father, a reserve officer on the eastern front, who died of typhoid fever in 1942. With unblinking honesty, Jarausch presents the father he never knew--a deeply religious, well-educated, conservative nationalist, a man sympathetic to the Nazis. Yet amid the brutalities perpetrated by the Third Reich, Jarausch Senior found his common humanity with Nazism's victims. Jarausch Junior's sensitive and intelligent introduction, which masterfully captures the complicated meaning of German history in the twentieth century, only adds to the value of the book."--Eric D. Weitz, author of Weimar Germany: Promise and Tragedy

"This is a moving collection of letters by Jarausch's father, who served as a soldier in World War II and died in Russia in 1942. Here is the evolution of a patriotic supporter of Hitler's regime into a man so horrified by the reality of German war making, war crimes, and genocide that he gradually loses faith in everything he believed in."--Omer Bartov, author of Hitler's Army: Soldiers, Nazis, and War in the Third Reich

"A very intriguing book. These letters provide a valuable portrait of a middle-class German at war. His letters are worth reading for his seriousness of purpose, his wonderful eye for detail, and his persistent humaneness in the face of the awful conditions around him. There is poignancy knowing Jarausch looked for and found his own father, whom he never knew, through these letters."--Norman M. Naimark, author of Fires of Hatred: Ethnic Cleansing in Twentieth-Century Europe

Synopsis:

Reluctant Accomplice is a volume of the wartime letters of Dr. Konrad Jarausch, a German high-school teacher of religion and history who served in a reserve battalion of Hitler's army in Poland and Russia, where he died of typhoid in 1942. He wrote most of these letters to his wife, Elisabeth. His son, acclaimed German historian Konrad H. Jarausch, brings them together here to tell the gripping story of a patriotic soldier of the Third Reich who, through witnessing its atrocities in the East, begins to doubt the war's moral legitimacy. These letters grow increasingly critical, and their vivid descriptions of the mass deaths of Russian POWs are chilling. They reveal the inner conflicts of ordinary Germans who became reluctant accomplices in Hitler's merciless war of annihilation, yet sometimes managed to discover a shared humanity with its suffering victims, a bond that could transcend race, nationalism, and the enmity of war.

Reluctant Accomplice is also the powerful story of the son, who for decades refused to come to grips with these letters because he abhorred his father's nationalist politics. Only now, late in his life, is he able to cope with their contents--and he is by no means alone. This book provides rare insight into the so-called children of the war, an entire generation of postwar Germans who grew up resenting their past, but who today must finally face the painful legacy of their parents' complicity in National Socialism.

About the Author

Konrad H. Jarausch is the Lurcy Professor of European Civilization at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. His many books include "After Hitler: Recivilizing Germans, 1945-1995" and "Shattered Past: Reconstructing German Histories" (Princeton).

Table of Contents

Preface vii

Foreword by Richard Kohn xiii

In Search of a Father: Deaing with the Legacy of Nazi Complicity 1

Part I: The Polish Campaign 45

Letters from Poland, September 1939 to January 1940 53

Part II: Training Recruits 139

Letters from Poland and Germany, January 1940

to August 1941 146

Part III: War of Annihilation in Russia 237

Letters from Russia, August 1941 to January 1942 246

Acknowledgments 367

Notes to "In Search of a Father" 369

Selected Suggestions for Further Reading 381

Index 383

Product Details

ISBN:
9780691140421
Author:
Jarausch, Konrad H. (edt)
Publisher:
Princeton University Press
Foreword by:
Kohn, Richard
Foreword:
Kohn, Richard
Editor:
Jarausch, Konrad H.
Author:
Jarausch, Konrad H.
Author:
Kohn, Richard
Subject:
Europe - Germany
Subject:
Military - World War II
Subject:
Political Freedom & Security - Human Rights
Subject:
World war, 1939-1945
Subject:
Germany
Subject:
European History
Subject:
World History-Germany
Subject:
Biography-Military
Copyright:
Publication Date:
20110131
Binding:
HARDCOVER
Language:
English
Illustrations:
30 halftones.
Pages:
408
Dimensions:
8.5 x 5.5 in 25 oz

Related Subjects

Biography » Military
History and Social Science » Military » World War II » General
History and Social Science » Military » World War II » Germany
History and Social Science » Politics » Human Rights
History and Social Science » World History » General
History and Social Science » World History » Germany » General
Science and Mathematics » Materials Science » General

Reluctant Accomplice: A Wehrmacht Soldier's Letters from the Eastern Front New Hardcover
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$50.25 In Stock
Product details 408 pages Princeton University Press - English 9780691140421 Reviews:
"Synopsis" by , "There were German soldiers in World War II who went to war with open eyes. Many condoned what they saw or did not care. Others were shaken, and even they hesitated to write it all down. Their flickers of conscience, the way they struggled to articulate their doubts, their sense of futility in the face of degrading circumstances, and their knowledge of the incommensurability of good deeds in a barbarous war--all this makes the letters of Konrad Jarausch an important and challenging document."--Michael Geyer, University of Chicago

"This is a fascinating and moving collection of letters from the German side of World War II. The esteemed historian Konrad H. Jarausch has edited the letters of his father, a reserve officer on the eastern front, who died of typhoid fever in 1942. With unblinking honesty, Jarausch presents the father he never knew--a deeply religious, well-educated, conservative nationalist, a man sympathetic to the Nazis. Yet amid the brutalities perpetrated by the Third Reich, Jarausch Senior found his common humanity with Nazism's victims. Jarausch Junior's sensitive and intelligent introduction, which masterfully captures the complicated meaning of German history in the twentieth century, only adds to the value of the book."--Eric D. Weitz, author of Weimar Germany: Promise and Tragedy

"This is a moving collection of letters by Jarausch's father, who served as a soldier in World War II and died in Russia in 1942. Here is the evolution of a patriotic supporter of Hitler's regime into a man so horrified by the reality of German war making, war crimes, and genocide that he gradually loses faith in everything he believed in."--Omer Bartov, author of Hitler's Army: Soldiers, Nazis, and War in the Third Reich

"A very intriguing book. These letters provide a valuable portrait of a middle-class German at war. His letters are worth reading for his seriousness of purpose, his wonderful eye for detail, and his persistent humaneness in the face of the awful conditions around him. There is poignancy knowing Jarausch looked for and found his own father, whom he never knew, through these letters."--Norman M. Naimark, author of Fires of Hatred: Ethnic Cleansing in Twentieth-Century Europe

"Synopsis" by , Reluctant Accomplice is a volume of the wartime letters of Dr. Konrad Jarausch, a German high-school teacher of religion and history who served in a reserve battalion of Hitler's army in Poland and Russia, where he died of typhoid in 1942. He wrote most of these letters to his wife, Elisabeth. His son, acclaimed German historian Konrad H. Jarausch, brings them together here to tell the gripping story of a patriotic soldier of the Third Reich who, through witnessing its atrocities in the East, begins to doubt the war's moral legitimacy. These letters grow increasingly critical, and their vivid descriptions of the mass deaths of Russian POWs are chilling. They reveal the inner conflicts of ordinary Germans who became reluctant accomplices in Hitler's merciless war of annihilation, yet sometimes managed to discover a shared humanity with its suffering victims, a bond that could transcend race, nationalism, and the enmity of war.

Reluctant Accomplice is also the powerful story of the son, who for decades refused to come to grips with these letters because he abhorred his father's nationalist politics. Only now, late in his life, is he able to cope with their contents--and he is by no means alone. This book provides rare insight into the so-called children of the war, an entire generation of postwar Germans who grew up resenting their past, but who today must finally face the painful legacy of their parents' complicity in National Socialism.

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