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How Germans view common individuals who served the Third Reich

Posted: 2017-10-15 02:12am
by Zor
This is something that I was thinking about involving the discussion of the CSA Monuments in the states. A lot of them were defended by white folks who said "this honors my great great great grandfather who served in the Confederate Army during the civil war" and similar. My response is that people in Germany don't usually defend the nazis by bringing that dear old Großvati Dietrich was drafted in the wehrmacht and spent two miserable years and lost several of his friends in service to the Third Reich.

But that got me thinking, how do Germans feel about those who served in the Nazi War Machine as individuals? In the end millions of men were drafted into the German War Machine and if you were a fit gentile male born in Germany between 1910 to 1930 avoiding serving in either the Wehrmacht, the SS and so forth would be.

Zor

Re: How Germans view common individuals who served the Third Reich

Posted: 2017-10-17 02:25pm
by K. A. Pital
There's no "general" view here, I fear. The more conservative ones see them as victims, the more radical as perpetrators and criminals.

Re: How Germans view common individuals who served the Third Reich

Posted: 2017-10-22 05:32am
by Thanas
Zor wrote:
2017-10-15 02:12am
My response is that people in Germany don't usually defend the nazis by bringing that dear old Großvati Dietrich was drafted in the wehrmacht and spent two miserable years and lost several of his friends in service to the Third Reich.
Nice butchering of the languge there.
But that got me thinking, how do Germans feel about those who served in the Nazi War Machine as individuals? In the end millions of men were drafted into the German War Machine and if you were a fit gentile male born in Germany between 1910 to 1930 avoiding serving in either the Wehrmacht, the SS and so forth would be.

Zor
Well, family history is usually not displayed to outsiders as much in Germany. That being said from my experience service is often justified as either having been the law, people being influenced by propaganda or people having no choice.

Re: How Germans view common individuals who served the Third Reich

Posted: 2017-10-24 02:49pm
by Zixinus
A question: don't a lot of Germans feel betrayed by the Nazis? Hitler promised the rebuilding of a grand empire by his death and instead ended up creating a bombed-out, divided and subject (in 45 at least) country.

Re: How Germans view common individuals who served the Third Reich

Posted: 2017-10-25 04:07pm
by Elheru Aran
Zixinus wrote:
2017-10-24 02:49pm
A question: don't a lot of Germans feel betrayed by the Nazis? Hitler promised the rebuilding of a grand empire by his death and instead ended up creating a bombed-out, divided and subject (in 45 at least) country.
Maybe the generation who lived through the Nazi rise in the 30s and saw their country start standing back on its own feet again. Otherwise, I suspect from the young people of that generation onward, they are keenly aware that they had only themselves to blame. Without the complicity of the German voters that put the Nazi Party into power, it would have remained a fringe extremist group. De-Nazification plays a big part as well-- the better part of a decade or so was spent painting them into utter obloquy. Now it's a matter of national shame, and any notion of the 'grand empire' belongs in that shame.

But that's just my understanding of it as an outsider.

Re: How Germans view common individuals who served the Third Reich

Posted: 2017-10-27 07:28am
by LaCroix
It's more like a - they were stupid, got duped, it all went slippery slope and they ended up doing terrible things and paid a terrible price for it, now make sure it never happens again - thing. Abpart from the never again thing, it's glossed over. Nobody wants to look at grampa Heinrich and think that he fought for a disgusting regime.

I think even most our extreme subset of rightwingers would never go as far as wanting the empire back. They know well enough that it's not going to happen, and firmly home on the "no immigrants" part of their ideology.