Read Frontsoldaten: The German Soldier in World War II by Stephen G. Fritz Online


Alois Dwenger, writing from the front in May of 1942, complained that people forgot "the actions of simple soldiers....I believe that true heroism lies in bearing this dreadful everyday life." In exploring the reality of the Landser, the average German soldier in World War II, through letters, diaries, memoirs, and oral histories, Stephen G. Fritz provides the definitive aAlois Dwenger, writing from the front in May of 1942, complained that people forgot "the actions of simple soldiers....I believe that true heroism lies in bearing this dreadful everyday life." In exploring the reality of the Landser, the average German soldier in World War II, through letters, diaries, memoirs, and oral histories, Stephen G. Fritz provides the definitive account of the everyday war of the German front soldier.The personal documents of these soldiers, most from the Russian front, where the majority of German infantrymen saw service, paint a richly textured portrait of the Landser that illustrates the complexity and paradox of his daily life. Although clinging to a self-image as a decent fellow, the German soldier nonetheless committed terrible crimes in the name of National Socialism. When the war was finally over, and his country lay in ruins, the Landser faced a bitter truth: all his exertions and sacrifices had been in the name of a deplorable regime that had committed unprecedented crimes.With chapters on training, images of combat, living conditions, combat stress, the personal sensations of war, the bonds of comradeship, and ideology and motivation, Fritz offers a sense of immediacy and intimacy, revealing war through the eyes of these self-styled "little men." A fascinating look at the day-to-day life of German soldiers, this is a book not about war but about men. It will be vitally important for anyone interested in World War II, German history, or the experiences of common soldiers throughout the world....

Title : Frontsoldaten: The German Soldier in World War II
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 9780813109435
Format Type : Paperback
Number of Pages : 312 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

Frontsoldaten: The German Soldier in World War II Reviews

  • Michael Dorosh
    2020-01-23 02:08

    A grim joke and not worth the paper it's printed on.The author breaks the most elementary rules of scholarly writing in this volume by quoting the same references several times in a row - something even an undergraduate would know to avoid. It wouldn't be so bad, if he wasn't quoting the contentious and quite probably fictional FORGOTTEN SOLDIER. Fritz adds nothing new to the discussion of German soldiers in the Second World War, and readers are advised to turn to other material, such as SOLDAT by Siegfried Knappe or THE GOOD SOLDIER by Alfred Novotny.FRONTSOLDATEN is simply a collection of quotes from dubious sources - and all secondary ones at that. Fritz does not appear to have conducted a single interview on his own. How then can he claim to have any kind of grasp on what it was like to be a German soldier, if he's never actually talked to one?This book is not "scholarly" as some claim, as scholarship generally insists on multiple documentary sources, and a modicum of primary research. Fritz didn't research this book - he cribbed it from other sources, and terrible sources at that.Readers serious about the German military in the Second World War will have to wait for a definitive book on the Landser to appear in English. This book is terrible without the benefit at least of being interesting while being terrible.

  • Chuck Sylvester
    2020-01-23 19:50

    Really interesting look into the mindset of the German soldier during World War II... as the title implies. Uses letters, quotes, and narratives written by soldiers to get a "uncut" view into how they thought. Fascinating to see the similarities and differences between how you'd expect "normal" soldiers would react and how these soldiers, in the midst of large-scale ethnic cleansing programs and riding high on propaganda of hate and intolerance, dealt with the war.Falters a bit in its presentation, though. The book was separated not in terms of time period (in fact, the time periods were mixed all together, which I think took away a neat aspect in seeing how their headspaces would have changed as the war went on) but subject matter, I suppose. How the German soldier saw death, how they saw the people they were around, how they saw the horrors discovered (and reexamined) at the end of the war... But these differences weren't clearly defined and it often felt like the subjects the chapters were supposed to be about blended together in a repetitive way. Would have definitely preferred a more timeline based approach, but I see why this approach wasn't taken - to put less of an emphasis on the events and politics of the war but more on the person at the very bottom of the chain.

  • Al Williams
    2020-02-11 18:04

    Mostly a select compilation of excerpts from other biographies. Might sound like a great idea if the subject is new to you, but reading a lot of accounts that are mostly devoid of context wasn't for me.

  • carltheaker
    2020-02-01 21:58

    The strength of "Frontsoldaten" is in the excerpts from various collections of the letters of Germansoldiers. The spirit of the individual Landser keptthe Wehrmacht together in the face of overwhelmingevents and it is the spirit of these letters that keepthis book together, which otherwise might be subtitled- "The Forgotten Soldier: Reader's Digest version" Over the first few chapters I counted over 30 references to Guy Sajer's "The Forgotten Soldier"and a dozen to Siegfried Knappe's "Soldat".Incredibly the references to Sajer's book continue atthe same pace and easily number over 100 in the 278pages. (In case you didn't get the idea, one of thechapters is titled after a Sajer quote). There is no mention of the controversy that has been raised over the authenticity of Sajer's book.Controversy or not, it is incredible that one sourceis employed so often. As if to make the Sajer text feel at home , several novels are also used to support themes. All werewritten by German soldiers, so obviously have aninsight, in fact one of my favorites, "The Cross ofIron" by Willi Heinrich is referenced half a dozentimes in a short stretch. However it makes one wonderwhy so much fiction is needed? The reality is surelyamazing enough. The geographical and chronological transitions are often muddled. While 95 per cent of the actiontakes place in Russia, Author Fritz will have youwaist deep in snow and toss in thoughts from France orNorth Afrika, you want to reread the paragraphwondering did I get that right? When trying to make a point, say the moral of the soldier in August 1944, Fritz will give severalexamples from that period, and then throw in a quotefrom 1941, you can't help but wonder what in the Reichdoes that have to do with anything? It appears that the author had a pile of research available, and wanting to do something with it, hewrapped it up and tossed it over the wall to takeadvantage of the recent surge in the history of WW2publishing. Fortunately in "Frontsoldaten" there are plenty of stories "from the Letters of ...", which whileperusing, sitting on your sofa, will have youshivering on sentry duty, scratching your lice,folding the letter from home, wondering about the nextmeal, and feeling the loss of a comrade.

  • Lee
    2020-02-16 20:53

    I read this book several years ago. It deals with the front line German soldier in WWII. There are a lot of personal letters, diaries, quotes, etc. It was informative and enlightening. I am not certain I can say I enjoyed the book. It did make me believe that some of my thinking for a long time has been inaccurate. The average German soldier was much more prejudiced, hateful and knowing of many of the wrongs that were happening than I had previously believed. Prior to reading this book I had always had the attitude that most of the average German soldiers were just following orders and serving their country, like every other country's soldiers. This book really made me think otherwise. I would be interested to know if anyone else had the same impression.

  • Aaron Meyer
    2020-02-18 20:48

    This book is intense. There are points in the book I think back to my own experiences and see how much we have in common between common soldiers of different eras. This was an army that was absolutely dedicated to the fight and to be honest the type of military that every nation dreams of creating. I could of done without his rambling and thoughts at the end, for his ideas to me just didn't hold much water some of the times. Just give me the raw data, the everyday words of the everyday soldier. They speak to me much more than any historian of the war possibly could.

  • Amanda
    2020-01-22 21:11

    Frontsoldaten, German for "foot soldier", is a haunting collection of letters from German soldiers during WWII. An excellent read for military and civilian alike, Fritz examines the different aspects of the war, none of which were more or less trying. The intensity of emotions expressed by these men is heart wrenching.

  • AskHistorians
    2020-01-26 01:58

    In Frontsoldaten Stephen G. Fritz explores the regular German infantry soldier and compare him with American, English and Russian soldiers. Through letters, diary entries and personal testimony emerges a rich and nuanced picture of the German soldiers' everyday lives during World War II. A great book that offers the true picture of the everyday German soldier during WWII.

  • Stephanie
    2020-01-23 00:48

    Very informative and I learned some things I didn't know already. The excerpts from soldiers' diaries and letters were fascinating and really helps the reader get a sense of the very real feelings occurring within the soldiers while these things were being written.

  • Megan
    2020-02-20 21:05

    The strength of this book lies not in its often tenuous analysis, but the excerpts from soldiers' letters and diaries. The obvious weakness is the missed opportunity to include testimony of soldiers who witnessed the Holocaust.

  • Rob Shurmer
    2020-02-06 21:14

    Too many quotations strung along on tenuous lines of analysis. Those lines, written by German combatants, are valuable in themselves and make this book worthwhile, but I had hoped for a bit more historical contextualization and look for a bit more substantive contribution from the historian.

  • John
    2020-01-28 22:53

    Terrible book. Not worth reading.

  • John
    2020-02-16 21:53

    Well worth reading, shows the good & the bad from a personal perspective. The author culls diaries, letters and autobiographies for input.

  • Ken
    2020-01-27 22:56

    Awesome book

  • Jecamp1
    2020-01-21 20:02

    If you want to know what made the common German soldier or "Landser" such an outstanding combat trooper and yet such a frightful human being, this is the book to read!

  • Kevin Slawta
    2020-02-08 17:55

    One of the most chilling accounts of everyday life for troops in an army during its collapse.