Friday, 15 March 2013

Stalingrad: Memories and Reassessments - Joachim Weider

The tragedy of the Somme battle was that the best soldiers, the stoutest-hearted men were lost; their numbers were replaceable, their spiritual worth never could be. 
                      German Soldier 1916.

Title: Stalingrad: Memories and Reassessments
Author: Joachim Weider (Translated by Helmut Bolger)
Publisher: Arms and Armour
Pages: 315

Content: This is a challenging book. The Battle of Stalingrad and the toll it took in terms of dead, wounded and captured for both the Russians and the Germans has become the stuff of legend. What has been focussed on primarily in previous books dealt with the tactics and strategy of the battle itself, both locally and in the larger context of the War on the Eastern Front. Weider’s book was the first to place the actual battle in a secondary position and to address the issue of the political and moral responsibilities of the military leadership involved. An actual veteran of the battle, he focuses on the fact that the German Army Command failed to act on its own responsibility, even in the final phases of the battle, thus proving the degree to which the soldierly ethic had been eroded. Every military leader has a responsibility to both their superiors and to their soldiers; the generals involved in Stalingrad betrayed their obligation of loyalty to the men entrusted to them. 

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