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Hardcover Frontsoldaten: The German Soldier in World War II Book

ISBN: 0813119200

ISBN13: 9780813119205

Frontsoldaten: The German Soldier in World War II

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Format: Hardcover

Condition: Good*

*Best Available: (ex-library, missing dust jacket)

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Book Overview

"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... This description may be from another edition of this product.

Customer Reviews

5 ratings


For me this book offers a glimpse into the lives of soldiers whos story is seldom told. Placing aside the crimes of the Nazi's this book shows that the German soldier were still human beings. Their story is worthy of being told and despite which side of the battle they were on, their story is worth being heard and remembered. This book pays little attention to the cold over view of world war two that many books focus on, and sheads light on the war through the eyes of the men who had to do the fighting. This is truely a beautiful book that is brutally honest and human. Worth reading.

Interesting insight into the German war machine

Stephen Fritz examines nearly every imaginable aspect of the life of the average German Landser during the Second World War. He does a great job of bringing together numerous personal letters, diaries, and memoirs into a comprehensive, well-organized, and highly readable account. Fritz makes it possible to understand what all soldiers-not only Germans-went through in history's greatest conflict. This is a must have for reenacters, historians, and anyone who wants to learn more warfare.

A masterpiece of historical writing!

Fritz takes the reader into the heart and mind of the German infantryman. He presents them as individuals, not merely mindless cogs in the German war machine. The reader comes to realize the incredible suffering that was life on the Eastern front. These men were little more than children placed in circumstances that made them monsters, indifferent to society's conventions or their own human conscience. Unlike another reviewer, I did not find the book heavily padded. The author exhibits a clear and powerful style of writing, reading more like a good novel than a history book. The overwhelming bulk of the book consists of quotations from the Landsers themselves translated from their letters and diaries. Fritz does give a fascinating comparison of the Landser to their American counterparts in the last chapter, but this is hardly padding. All in all, this is a moving account of life for the German infantyman, who has been often ignored in favor of the members of the SS. It is a must-read for any student of military history and World War II, but it is also valuable for those interested in the human soul and how it is altered by the horrors of war.

A Revealing Insight into War: The German Perspective

Stephen Fritz' Frontsoldaten provides compelling reasons for the unrelenting determination of the WWII German Army soldier, or "Landser". (The SS is not discussed.) The overwhelming sense of creating a new order for Germany out of the ashes of defeat in the Great War provide the larger framework within which the "Landser" viewed his purpose in the war. "Kamaradschaft", or comradeship, provided an immediate means to endure the constant fear and difficult conditions on the front-line, as will as the will to fight. Quotes from font-line letters, post-war memoirs, and veterans' reflections from a distance of 50 or more years are exactly what make this book so compelling. Fritz focuses mainly on the Eastern Front, where the war took on extreme ideological, racial, and anti-Semitic dimensions. While I found his treatment of the Landser's opinion or role in the excesses of the war too light, he did not shy away from relating the general acceptance of National Socialism by the German Army soldier. This acceptance is related in the words of the front soldiers themselves as taken from their own letters. Frontsoldaten left me with a stark impression of the German soldier's front line experience--an experience filled with determination, fear, and fatigue, as well as a belief in a leader and an ideology that destroyed millions. Lastly, the haunting photograph on the cover sums up this book very well. The youthful face, filled with fear, exhaustion, and determination, stare out from under a helmut deeply associated with Nazism and German militarism.

An insight into the unique character of the German soldier

Frontsoldaten spans that gulf of understanding between those who have and those who have not been in a real, front-line shooting war. Simply put, it allows us to glimpse that comradeship that almost transcends love and goes to an emotional mindset that welds men together in the midst of the most extreme of all human experiences: war. Now, too many men who were supply clerks, MPs, etc try to make us believe that they have seen the horror of war. The reality, though, is that they have seen a mere glimpse. It is those men who have been over-run by an enemy, shelled and lived that uncertain day-to-day existence where life is compressed, magnified and reduced to its most elemental parts by the horror of war who have truly seen the brutal face of war. This book is written to those men and about those men. Not the rest of us. Fritz's unique understanding of Kameradschaft...this uniquely German side of the bond between fighting at the center of this book, and he does an incredible job of using the words of the Landseren to tell his story. Magnificent book!!!! And.... by the way, an old Kamerad of the Grossdeutschland Division, a holder of the Ritterkreuz mit Eichenlaub, a personal friend, gave this book a resounding thumbs up. He says that this book, in many ways, stands alone. The other book that he recommends (and Fritz borows heavily from it) is "The Forgotten Soldier" by Guy Sajer.
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