Ideological Motivations of German Soldiers, from "Trends in Wehrmacht Morale"
Actual historical documentation from the war years reveals that the idea that the average German soldier was not ideologically steadfast in the last years of the war is simply wrong. I quote here from the US Army report "Trends in Wehrmacht Morale" which was written by two Allied intelligence officers based on interrogations of Wehrmacht prisoners.
"The main findings underlined the conclusion that the ideology of the "average" German soldier remained singularly steadfast. Hitler- personification of evil to the democratic world- held the loyalties of more than 50 percent of his army through the defeats of 1944 and until March 1945, two months before V-E day. Belief in secret weapons was also a source of vital strength... Many a German soldier, although personally despairing in ultimate victory, continued to resist vigorously, in part because of devotion to Hitler. Hitler was a man who had done so much good for Germany. He had so clearly shown his affiliation with the interests of the common man, that he would not have continued the war had he not have believed it to be to the best advantage of Germany, politically at least. This ideological prop remained intact through the ups and downs of the battle situation... The steadfastness with which the German soldier held to his loyalty to Hitler, for example, indicated that a frontal attack on this particular ideological symbol was less likely to succeed than appeals based on non-ideological considerations..."
Back to Living History Articles