German Army: Why No Collapse

  • Опубліковано 9 лис 2020
  • The Wehrmacht during the Second World War sustained two times the deaths of the Imperial German Army in the First World War, yet it did not collapse, quite on the contrary it fought until the bitter end. Why was this the case? Why did the Wehrmacht and particularly the German Army did not collapse in the Second World War.
    Disclaimer: I received a pre-release ebook of Prof. Neitzel’s Book “ Deutsche Krieger. Vom Kaiserreich zur Berliner Republik - eine Militärgeschichte ”.
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    » SOURCES «
    Neitzel, Sönke: Deutsche Krieger. Vom Kaiserreich zur Berliner Republik - eine Militärgeschichte. Propyläen: Berlin, Germany, 2020.
    McBree, Brendan B.: Improving Unit Cohesion: The First Step in Improving Marine Corps Infantry Battalion Capabilities. 23 May 2002.
    OKH: H.Dv. 130/2a: Die Schützenkompanie. Ausbildungsvorschrift für die Infanterie - Heft 2a. Verlag „Offene Worte“, Berlin, Germany, 16. März 1941.
    Overmans, Rüdiger: Deutsche militärische Verluste im Zweiten Weltkrieg. R. Oldenbourg Verlag: München, Germany, 2004.
    Das Deutsche Reich und der Zweite Weltkrieg - Band 9 / 1 - Deutsche Kriegsgesellschaft 1939 bis 1945.
    Das Deutsche Reich und der Zweite Weltkrieg - Band 9 / 2 - Deutsche Kriegsgesellschaft 1939 bis 1945.
    Yelton, David K.: Hitler’s Volkssturm. The Nazi Militia and the Fall of Germany 1944-1945. Kansas University Press: Kansas, US, 2002.
    Biddle, Tami Davis: On the Crest of Fear: V-Weapons, the Battle of the Bulge, and the Last Stages of World War II in Europe. In: The Journal of Military History. Vol. 83, No. 1, January 2019.
    Yelton, David K.: Hitler’s Volkssturm. The Nazi Militia and the Fall of Germany 1944-1945. Kansas University Press: Kansas, US, 2002.
    Mawdsley, Evan: Thunder in the East. The Nazi-Soviet War 1941-1945. Second Edition. Bloomsbury: London, 2016., last accessed: 19th October 2020
    National Defense Research Institute: Sexual Orientation and U.S. Military Personnel Policy. An Update of RAND’s 1993 Study, RAND Corporation: CA, USA, 2010.


  • SergeantAradir
    SergeantAradir 2 роки тому +2079

    There is a book called "The Forgotten Soldier" by Guy Sajer, a german-french draftee at the Eastfront after Stalingrad. And his experiences seem to confirm most of the points here: For large parts of the war he fought with the same guys and while he is often very critical about the treatment of the soldiers by their own army (stuff like three of his comrades dying in basic training (!)), he is mostly describing his officers as fair and competent. He is also quit clear that apparently the execution of soviet prisoners was absolute normality and they expected every german soldier to be in turn instantly executed, therefor explaining much of their will to resist.

    • Jeffrey Sinclair
      Jeffrey Sinclair 2 роки тому +58

      Great book that, agree with what you say

    • simplicius
      simplicius 2 роки тому +23

      " they expected every german soldier to be in turn instantly executed"
      You mean every SS soldier?

    • Jeffrey Sinclair
      Jeffrey Sinclair 2 роки тому +278

      @simplicius Guy Sajer (pen name) wasn't in the SS but he was part of an Elite Formation for a while and he comments that both sides were unbelievably brutal to each other, prisoner or not kinda just depended if you surrendered to a particularly angry unit

    • TL W
      TL W 2 роки тому +215

      @simplicius Not just the SS committed atrocities against prisoners of war, partisans and civilians, especially on the Eastern front.

    • Inquisitor Steele
      Inquisitor Steele 2 роки тому +190

      @simplicius Soviet don't care if they're SS or not they're give all enemies same kind of treatment.

  • P P
    P P 2 роки тому +936

    I never knew that about the cohesion. They were so ahead of the time. Contrastingly, the Americans constantly rotated men in Vietnam in order to prevent the drop in morale, creating a trend where no one cared about anyone as they were all strangers to one another. Fascinating.

    • TheDeepestbluest
      TheDeepestbluest 2 роки тому +71

      Makes perfect sense when you think about Vietnam was a war to sustain for MIC, not to win.

    • Mitridi
      Mitridi 2 роки тому +71

      Sometimes it can work. The french army rotate in Verdun and without that, I don't think they could resist the german offensives.

    • TheDeepestbluest
      TheDeepestbluest 2 роки тому +88

      @Mitridi I think Verdun could very well be the worst possible battlefield to be for the entire history, right next to Stalingrad. Kind of an outlier

    • LeadLegHighKick
      LeadLegHighKick 2 роки тому +54

      The romans made their troops cook and sleep together, this isn’t like, super ahead of the time

    • Dylan Roemmele
      Dylan Roemmele 2 роки тому +9

      Fish poem Same thing with Afghanistan basicallt

  • GrieferJesus
    GrieferJesus 2 роки тому +377

    My two grandfathers fought in the Wehrmacht. One was the driver of a panzer 4 and later Panther. He always said he and his comrades didn't want to fight any longer, however they only surrenderd when their commander gave them the permission in late 1944. He said they were lucky to surrender to the Americans. Fighting on the western and not eastern front probably saved his live.

    • Brand Bienedell
      Brand Bienedell 2 роки тому +43

      A lady who was a friend of a Dutch Panzer driver for the SS
      Saw Russian women castrating captured German soldiers

    • Aleks Vos
      Aleks Vos 2 роки тому +12

      @Brand Bienedell oof.. and another war crime. I could think about it like a continuation of the Russian morale fed by fury: « We will exist despite your attempt at the extermination and inflict immeasurable pain onto you»

    • Max
      Max 2 роки тому +14

      @Aleks Vos Can't tell if you're being ironic or Russian.

    • Jared
      Jared Рік тому +9

      Family was from East Prussia. All of my grandfather’s brothers never came back and they evacuated in 46.

      THE WESTSIDE Рік тому +13

      Be proud as you fought like tigers right to the end, im British but have the upmost respect for Germany & your grandfathers 👍

  • Space Druid
    Space Druid 2 роки тому +399

    Another thing sometimes overlooked is that, for all intents and purposes, many of the soldiers of the Wehrmacht believed themselves to be fighting in a literal end-of-the world scenario for survival, so of course they would fight harder.

    • James Kennedy
      James Kennedy 2 роки тому +3

      You mean throw down their arms and run harder .

    • tomasbar
      tomasbar 2 роки тому +71

      You mistook them for French soldiers

    • Vir
      Vir 2 роки тому +1

      Any sources on that or are you just LARPing ? lol

    • Martim Nunes Martinho
      Martim Nunes Martinho 2 роки тому +56

      @Vir antony beevor mentions this in his book about D-Day the german propaganda machine was extremely powerful on making their soldiers believe the german nation and its people would be utterly destroyed if defeated

    • Ahte S
      Ahte S 2 роки тому +89

      @Martim Nunes Martinho they were and still are.

  • Knut Ritter
    Knut Ritter 2 роки тому +136

    I think you forgot one MAJOR reason for maintaining cohesion. You should have added that during the last months of the war German soldiers were defending their own home land, the places where they grew up, their own families. Especially at the eastern front where German soldiers feared for their own families due to the fate many eastern families suffered during German occupation. German soldiers knew about what had happened - scorched earth was almost harmless in comparison.
    This stabilized or even increased the morale to keep fighting, defending in particular. Much in contrast to WW-I where German soldiers kept occupying/defending foreign soil in FraBeNeLux.

    • kln1
      kln1 2 роки тому +26

      I thought about this for a bit and i asked myself: if this was only about fighting for you country, why didn't the french fight harder? Or the polish army. Of course they fought bravely in many battles. But if you look at the statistics for example in Poland you see that of 1.000.000 Men in the Army, 66.000 died, ~700.000 were captured, 133.000 were wounded and around 100.000 seemingly were able to get away. Not really an example of fighting to the last men for your home country.
      I'm sure they didn't lack courage. So what was it that made them incapable of fighting on after their chain of command and supply line was brought down? I think it was indeed the unit organization. German squads were trained to fight and think independently even if they lost contact to the rest of their battalion. If you're not trained to fight without orders, what will you do? If you then bring in good unit cohesion, like described in this video, it explains why those squads, separated from their leaders wouldn't just give up. They'd try to withdraw and gather somewhere else. They'd also try to damage the enemy if they see an easy target. Or - if they cannot get away - they'd just fight on to the last man. It would turn the battlefield into a enormous guerilla operation with hundreds of thousands of little squads trying to kill you wherever you go and turn it into living hell for the enemy.

    • Witold Schwenke
      Witold Schwenke 2 роки тому +13

      @kln1 well for one, the germans defeated the french very quickly and didn't treat them or the population badly so the french had no good reason to fight to the last. The germans however knew how the Sovjets would just massacre and rape their families and how they'd get killed in captivity and they knew how russians treated each other plus they knew of the insanity of communism. Quite a lot of reasons to fight. Germans weren't nearly as motivated to defeat the Americans and British since they mutually treated each other well and respected military code. Germans frequently surrendered with only few or even no losses to the allies, something they'd never do to sovjets. The solution would have been to have the germans not surrender but withdraw all troops to the eastern front while allowing the usa and uk to take over Germany. The war could have ended a lot sooner like that. Another theory would be if the allies had not supported Russia and left Germany alone doing its thing, Germany could have defeated the russians and then subsequently the germans would have lost further reasons to fight and would have gradually yielded control back to the population of occupied territories with pressure from the allies. They' would have deposed of Hitler anyway, just a question of time really, particularly troops returning home would have been keen to just waltz in and kick him out. Plans were actually made for that, thousands had already planned on fighting the SS and storming the capitol. I think a really big problem was how the allies killed so many german civilians. They couldn't be trusted as also proven by the actions of the us government in the years after the war, they irresponsibly pushed civilization very close to a all out nuclear war, tested bombs on their own populations and own soldiers and until this day have pulled Sheanigans meddling in other countries causing wars and mischief. In other words had the allies been such angels like they were portrayed to be in Hollywood movies, the germans might have never bothered fighting them so intensely. In all honesty who really trusts the us government, even their own people don't, what do us citizens fear the most? their government.

    • Anaxagoras
      Anaxagoras Рік тому +1

      @kln1 I’d say the Germans held a significant advantage in maneuverability, allowing them to capture and encircle entire enemy armies. Essentially cutting huge portions of enemy combatants out of the fight. The Soviet Union generally could not out-maneuver the Germans-especially on their home territory. It simply became an unstoppable force hitting an immovable object. Not only that, but the German army had more squad autonomy-whereas once the officers fell in the French or Polish, the Unit would begin to fall apart while the German army had sufficient NCOs. At least in my view.

  • Skorza Lonsdale
    Skorza Lonsdale 2 роки тому +255

    The concept of keeping soldiers from similar areas together to create cohesion sounds a lot like the British “Pals battalions” of WW1. Seems a great idea until someone calls for a less than ideal offensive and a town loses all of its young men in one go.

    • john not telling you
      john not telling you 2 роки тому +41

      Better get those baby makers ready

    • Firefighter GTX
      Firefighter GTX Рік тому +41

      Dude right. I remember a german soldier who survived speaking about hearing his best friend cry for him, wounded on the battlefield. They sent in medics and three tanks to save him but the tanks and the medics also didnt return. He could hear his best friend screaming in pain and all the time repeating his own name. He says he cant sleep in till this day wirhout hearing his then best friend cry for him.
      I would not like to go to war losing my best friends there. Lets never go to war again my fellas.

    • The Holy Inquisition
      The Holy Inquisition Рік тому +30

      The German Wehrkreise encompassed a much larger area than the recruitment areas that the pals battalions came from, which meant that something like that wouldn't happen as easily. Still, due to the gigantic overall losses many of the small towns and villages lost a large proportion of their young men that much is true.

    • Luzur
      Luzur Рік тому +6

      Bro that idea is old as fuck, Swedish army used it already in the 1600's

    • Ultimate Eintracht
      Ultimate Eintracht Рік тому

      It was probaly a far greater area Probaly even as big as half as a state

  • Chameleon Scheimong
    Chameleon Scheimong 2 роки тому +2866

    "Four brave men who do not know each other will hesitate to attack a lion; four less brave men, but knowing and trusting each other, will do resolutely."
    Damn I haven't heard a concept explained so succinctly in a long long while.

    • John Smith
      John Smith 2 роки тому +31

      Do you realize that says more about your reading habits than the statement?

    • Iain Little
      Iain Little 2 роки тому +214

      @John Smith no need for that mate. I also thought this was deftly done.

    • JackTalyorD
      JackTalyorD 2 роки тому +211

      To understand a complex idea is smart.
      To summarise and explain the same is true genius

    • Anthony Wilson
      Anthony Wilson 2 роки тому +15

      @JackTalyorD Fully agree.

    • Matt
      Matt 2 роки тому +102

      @John Smith Mind sharing a reading list so that we can all reach your intellectual heights? From your comment, it sounds like you’ve transcended the limits of human understanding.

  • Brad Johnson
    Brad Johnson 2 роки тому +37

    I was happiest in the Navy when my shipmates were competent, my officers were personable and cared about us, the Navy was giving us great food (I'd been through an Army base on the way there and the food was awful), and the civilians focused on the Army and Vietnam. When my leaders got worse and Vietnam soured everyone I got out to a military hating public. Just my experiences

    • J.W. Matney
      J.W. Matney 2 роки тому

      Agree 100%. USN 1974-1978

  • Captain Blacktooth
    Captain Blacktooth 2 роки тому +15

    My father was a senior officer on the Allied side, rising to Major by the end .... He talked very little about WW2 although he did D-Day, Caen, Market garden and so forth.
    One of the few things he would say however was that he was happy to lead his men into a battle from the front and did. Because he explained .... "My boys liked me and I wouldn't get a bullet in the back, indeed they looked after me as well as they could .... unlike most of the officers who were appalling idiots and often got mysteriously shot"

  • Michael Peak
    Michael Peak 2 роки тому +36

    I think you overlooked the primary reason the Germans fought to the end: The Potsdam Conference produced the unconditional surrender ultimatum. Motivating the German nation to fight on was a simple task for the propoganda machine. Also, fear of Soviet brutality left them little choice. Observing the events of both fronts, it is obvious that units were far more willing to surrender to the West and often fought to the last against Soviets. Many German veteran memoirs lament the resources used in the Battle of the Bulge not being used against the Soviets.
    Overall, I would have to say that fear, combined with your points here, allowed Germany to fight to the bitter end.

  • pikiwiki
    pikiwiki 2 роки тому +156

    Had an insight as a child growing up that if you want people to die for your country, have a population that trusts each other implicitly. Flavor that trust with respect and intimacy. That way, you create a sentiment, a feeling worth fighting for until the bitter end. External pressure, applied from a chain of command or coercion applied from without will rarely, if ever, achieve the same result.

    • a
      a 2 роки тому +3

      The soviets still managed to defeat the germans

    • ZeroNumerous
      ZeroNumerous 2 роки тому +18

      ​Pig Mask No soviet trusted any other soviet. Especially not after Stalin's purges. The fear of death still drove them forward and routed the Germans.
      If you want a loyal army, you need ideals. Country, trust, belief, hope; Whatever ideal you use isn't important what matters is that the troops believe the ideal. The German ideal was other soldiers, the Soviet ideal was the homeland as a whole.

    • Taxeros
      Taxeros 2 роки тому +21

      @a -- with unlimited funding from the West and a demoralized drone population. We'll never know the magnitude of Soviet war crimes, but knowing only a fraction of it can make any man greatly enjoy the bundle of sticks

    • Robert Wright
      Robert Wright 2 роки тому +3

      Do you have a very high IQ? This is a complicated concept beautifully explained!

    • Jaushua Graham The Florida man
      Jaushua Graham The Florida man 2 роки тому +1

      Sorta like post-911 America but permanently

  • degtyarev
    degtyarev 2 роки тому +572

    Could you do a video on the German medical system? Including the transport of a wounded man from the frontline to hospital and how individual medics were deployed with fighting units

    • Military History Visualized
      Military History Visualized  2 роки тому +208

      got some sources etc. on it and did some reading in summer, it will happen eventually.

    • Peder Sackheim
      Peder Sackheim 2 роки тому +10

      There is a german book called „die unsichtbare flagge“ ( the invisible flag)
      by peter bamm on this subject. It is a first hand account of bamm, a field medic on the eastern front through most of the war.

    • MikeMandalorian
      MikeMandalorian Рік тому +3

      Oke Ihenacho youre wrong. Mengele and combat medics dont have snything in common. One was killing people and the other one was saving his friends and fellow soldiers, sometimes they helped civilians

  • ShortVideosRUs
    ShortVideosRUs 2 роки тому +707

    This just goes to show that a successful military is built from the bottom up.

    • A R
      A R 2 роки тому +59

      like most succesfull things

    • Vladimir Potatov
      Vladimir Potatov 2 роки тому +12


    • Vlad
      Vlad 2 роки тому +60

      Only that the wermacht was not succesfull. They failed in all their strategic goals and lost the war, which costed their nation an immense price in men and material and led to them being divided and occupied.

    • ShortVideosRUs
      ShortVideosRUs 2 роки тому +194

      @Vlad I mean successful as in they were a very professional, effective fighting force that achieved great success despite oftentimes overwhelming odds. The war only lasted to 1945 because of how effective the Wehrmacht was. If the Wehrmacht was more like the Italian army, I suspect the war would’ve ended by 1943 at the absolute latest.

    • Ragnarok Stravius
      Ragnarok Stravius 2 роки тому +89

      @ShortVideosRUs 1943?
      I wouldn't think of Italy being able to conquer Poland, let alone France.

  • Paul O'Neil
    Paul O'Neil 2 роки тому +9

    This is exactly what I was told by a panzer commander. Born in Austria he was drafted and because of his college education he was put in charge of an assault gun. He said they knew the war was lost but they kept fighting in order to not let their comrades down. He fought on the Eastern front but in April of 45 he and his crew were able to get to American lines due to a Black "Red Ball express" driver who piled them in back and got them across the Elbe. He was an MD and the chief toxicologist for Pennsylvania when I met him.

  • Adam J
    Adam J 2 роки тому +4

    I served in a US Marine Corps Reserve unit for 6 years. When you serve together that long, you really become brothers. Many were promoted from within and based on performance. Despite how long we knew each other there was accountability. In the upper ranks, if they made one significant mistake, your run was over. I still keep in touch with my Marine brothers 20 years later...

    • Sir Ridesalot
      Sir Ridesalot Рік тому

      "Once a Marine, ALWAYS a Marine". Semper Fi!

  • Carter Hanson
    Carter Hanson 2 роки тому +11

    Tbh that organizational theory is so useful. I did marching band in college, and the interaction between the students/leadership/staff/university definitely resembles that described in this video. We always performed a lot better when we felt that we had a good group, and that the staff and university weren't making silly university politics power moves.

  • Simon Barabash
    Simon Barabash 2 роки тому +9

    Hey @Military History Visualized. Something I've always wanted information on was to what degree was the great variety of German armoured fighting vehicles "mixed" together in tactical situations? In lots of ww2 media including games, movies, miniseries we see a large variety of German armoured vehicles present in tactical engagements that vary between company or battalion level. Is this just game devs wanting to let us play with all the german toys, and filmmakers using whatever good mockups and running vehicles they can get their hands on? Or is there truth to this with German Panzer units being broken up and mixed up with tank destroyers, heavy tanks etc when committed to battle? Does a tiger company or even heavy tank battalion operate all together or are they doled out to support other tank units and infantry? Does a regiment of Panthers and a Regiment of Panzer 4s in the same division generally operate in their own areas?

  • John Duffy
    John Duffy 2 роки тому +6

    The quality of these videos just keeps getting better! Interesting that the U.S. Army kept soldiers regionally affiliated at the regimental and brigade level during the Civil War, under the thinking that volunteer citizen-soldiers would fight better among their peers. Companies were often mustered in the same towns or counties, with men electing important local citizens as their officers. For the most part they were correct in the assumption that this would lead to better horizontal and somewhat vertical cohesion. The problem came when a regiment got into a particularly bad fight, and found itself losing whole companies. A severe example would be the 26th North Carolina, a regiment drawn from several rural counties in the Piedmont region of the state, which lost over 600 of its 800 men in three days at Gettysburg. When a town loses all of its young men in a single afternoon, the damage to civilian morale can be devastating. This was particularly true in the southern states, which lost 20% of its adult (white) male population in the war. In WWI we saw the British pals battalions follow the same model and suffer similarly corrosive losses. And U.S. Army Reserve regiments and division often had a much broader regional origin during WWII and up until today.

  • Get Real
    Get Real 2 роки тому +238

    I would presume that medals to still living soldiers has a better motivating factor then posthumous ones.
    But what I found quite ignored in the video even it was mentioned shortly at the beginning was the societal cohesion. I am sure that all Wehrmacht soldiers were quite aware of the big difference of the war in the East to the one at the Western front. The war in the East was a war of extermination and was incredible brutal.
    I think that as the Soviets pushed them more and more back towards Berlin that the soldiers felt also the fear of bloody revenge not just for themselves but for the country they fought for (to some degree) and that knowledge of brutal revenge against themselves as a fighting force but also civilians (which could include relatives and friends) let them fight with a bigger motivation as well as when you would fight just for yourself and your close buddies around you.

    • jake b
      jake b 2 роки тому +29

      agreed, both sides of the eastern front were likely motivated by the horrific nature of the fighting and that probably in part explains the continued resistance in the face of immense casualties both the russians and germans faced.

    • Lord Muhehe
      Lord Muhehe 2 роки тому +12

      das datics When you sow wind, you're gonna reap the whirlwind.

    • J Mass
      J Mass 2 роки тому +2

      Tbf on the western front you’d think this would manifest as a desire to just surrender the gentleman’s contest before the barbarians batter down the hatches in the east. But they still fought hard.

    • E. S.
      E. S. 2 роки тому +1

      @J Mass except the Allies often seemed to be talked about as a house of cards right? Both the German and Japanese military strategy was geared towards a fast and brutul conflict assumed to expose the western allies as soft and febil in battle. Further, there was an assumption that the civilian populations would withdraw there support for armed conflict once casualties began mounting. Logic on the Western Front may have been something like: smash the allies with the support of new superweapons (again, rhetoric around the Ardenne offensive was a fast and brutual conflict) and once they have withdrawn, return to the East which is now one front.

    • Bryden Holley
      Bryden Holley 2 роки тому +15

      This is a good point. I saw on UA-cam an interview with former German soldiers of WW2, talking about their experiences. They were in the interview old men. One of them said they tried hard to stop the Russians, particularly to protect the civilians and especially the women. "But we could not", he said. By the end of the battle of Berlin, there was no more ammunition left. The economy was destroyed. There was no means left with which to continue fighting, against overwhelming odds. Many men held the last bullet in reserve, to use it on themselves rather than be captured. Some units were still fighting, when they discovered that the city had surrendered. Some men committed suicide on the spot. Others were taken POW.

  • Tony Little
    Tony Little 2 роки тому +2

    All of my mentors from WW2 said that the German soldiers were top notch. Much respect was given. Never did I hear a negative comment about them as soldiers.

  • jack freeman
    jack freeman 2 роки тому +77

    This is confirming my own theory and experiences as an R.A.F. member in the early 60's. I was never in a war but was in a bad situation - isolated in the Libyan desert for 2 years. The officers left us entirely alone. We and the N.C.O.'s controlled everything - and even they would be reasonable if argued with or defied over some genuine and intelligent reason - all the silly discipline was ignored. But we did our actual jobs better than when we were posted to a less pressured yet more formally disciplined environment. We also behaved in a very eccentric manner.

    • Dylan Roemmele
      Dylan Roemmele 2 роки тому

      Your story reminds me of the one Twilight Zone episode

    • jack freeman
      jack freeman 2 роки тому

      @N8WOLF Well I googled your acronym's translation - we knew it as the Baader Meinhof gang so you can try the same regarding my acronym but I'm surprised at your ignorance. Also as I mentioned never being involved in any war that should have told you that I did not mean the organization which you suggested. Also I said the early 60's the terrorist organization you mention wasn't founded until the 70's.

    • Václav Jebavý
      Václav Jebavý 2 роки тому

      @N8WOLF Do you not know what the RAF is?

    • Václav Jebavý
      Václav Jebavý 2 роки тому +3

      @N8WOLF It's the bloody Royal Air Force you muffin

  • Scott Perry
    Scott Perry Рік тому +5

    Also, I think the reason the Germans fought so hard, especially in the Eastern Front, was that they knew what the Russians would do to them if they surrendered and knew what the Russians would do to Germany if they reached it. The war between Germany and Russia was savage, there were many atrocities by both sides, and many POWs did not survive the war, or in the case of German POWs in Russian hands, survive internment for another decade or more after the war. A Parallel theme to this is that in WW I, even though the fighting could be brutal, there was a sense of, we are fighting for our nation but if we win our nation gets a piece of territory from the loser, or we give a piece of territory to the winner. But in WW II the stakes were so much higher, if we lose we might lose our nation. I think the Treaty of Versailles at the end of WW I, and the harsh treatment of Germany by the Allies caused a lot of resentment in Germany and made clear the stakes for Germany if they lost another World War. I think I heard somewhere that the Treaty of Versailles guaranteed another war, not prevented it, and I think there is a good amount of truth to that.

  • RickC1999
    RickC1999 Рік тому +2

    From the discussion, German Wehrmacht had traits and cohesion very similar to the Roman Legions of ancient Rome. That was great information presented. Providing insight how the German military could remained together as a formidable fighting machine, despite the overwhelming loses and forces they endured in later part of the war. Thank you and Cheers!

  • gardening nice person
    gardening nice person Рік тому +1

    There's a book written by a Wehrmacht soldier (Willy Peter Reese) which expresses a very similar picture of the cohesion and morale inside the Wehrmacht on a personal level. It's called a "stranger to myself".

  • Ma Mag
    Ma Mag 2 роки тому +591

    Ich wollte dir immer schon mal schreiben, dass ich deine Videos klasse finde. Ich höre mir deine Videos ganz gerne beim Kochen oder bei langen Autofahrten an. Es ist schon bemerkenswert, wie viel Recherchearbeit du in deine Videos reinsteckst. Auch das Angeben von Quellen ist einfach der Hammer. So eine Qualität sieht man selten auf UA-cam.
    Ich freue mich schon auf dein nächstes Video.

    • Roronoa79
      Roronoa79 2 роки тому +154

      For those viewers who do not speak German:
      "Ive always wanted to tell you, that i think your videos are great. I like to listen to your videos while cooking or on long drives. It's remarkable how much work goes into the research for your videos. The naming of sources is easily the best aspect. Such quality is seldom seen on youtube"
      Sorry if my translation isn't perfect, I'm not a native speaker

    • Tommy
      Tommy 2 роки тому +22

      @Roronoa79 Thank you.

    • luggi lu
      luggi lu 2 роки тому +27

      Ich finde es sehr traurig, dass ein UA-cam der das als hobby macht, mehr arbeit und recherche da rein steckt als die ganzen N24 dokus, und sich dabei dann auch noch kürzer hält und mehr informationen verständlicher rüber bringt

    • PríncipeDeLaMuerte
      PríncipeDeLaMuerte 2 роки тому +8

      Sein Englisch ist nur sehr gewöhnungsbedürftig. Möchte das lieber bei ihm auf deutsch hören.

    • FotY
      FotY 2 роки тому +3

      @PríncipeDeLaMuerte Jop. Ich schau mir die Videos immer nur ohne Ton an, kann ich mir leider nicht anhören auch wenn die Videos toll sind. Ein deutscher Channel wäre nett.

  • Pierre Groussac
    Pierre Groussac 2 роки тому +5

    I like your focus on stats as well as anecdotal evidence to make your points. I was a little surprised that you didn't mention music as a prop in soldier morale. As I understand it, the Germans had songs for each branch of the service and individual components, like Panzer and Luftwaffe. I had a software instructor who was a submariner in the German Navy. He told me that, indeed, his branch of the service had their song, but he was unwilling to talk about it. I ended up failing the class, by the way. Cobol. Coming back from class one night, I met a two cars drag racing on a bridge. I planted the brakes. We just missed, but the decks of cards (that's the way programs were recorded in those days) scattered over the floor of the car. All the cards mixed together. No time to fix it because I was transferring to a new duty station within two weeks. Anyway, say what you want to about Germans or Germany--they know music. And they're good at it.

  • Philip Sturtivant
    Philip Sturtivant 2 роки тому +4

    Also, I'd be interested to know if Prof Nietzel's book looks closely at the 'mechanics' of das Heer's way of training recruits, and integrating them into their front-line units.
    As I understood it (in general, and obviously changing over time, as Germany's fortunes declined), recruitment was regional, and so was training (civilian Regions tied to military Divisions?), but that was further reinforced in wartime: Recruit training schools were tied to the Regional Division, and some/many/most/all [?] recruit trainers in those schools had recent combat experience (ISTR many were convalescing, pending return to combat duties?)
    More important (but again, as I recall): upon completion of training, cohorts of trained soldiers were - as a matter of Standard Operating Procedure - formed into tactically coherent/self-defence-capable March Battalions (Marschbataillone) to make their way to the Front, and some of their instructors would invariably make the journey with them, to rejoin the fight.
    It struck me that (even if they couldn't influence it) those instructors were at least participating in the integration of 'their' recruit into the Gruppen/Züge/Kompanieen of their fellow NCOs. The knowledge that 'this is how we do things around here' would - in itself - sharpen the motivation of instructors: they would know that at least some of 'their' recruits would land in the Gruppe/Zug of a friend/friends in the front line, and that they themselves would eventually do likewise - powerful incentives. Nobody wants to be wind up back in a front-line unit to find they are known as the guy who has been sending second-rate soldiers to the Front, to make life there more difficult for eveybody else . . . . .
    I am certain doing business in that way - taken together with all other observations in this short video - was a significant factor in maintaining the motivation of the instructors, and stregthening the coherence of whole Divisions, in all dimensions.

  • JMS
    JMS 2 роки тому +24

    This channel is so good! I really appreciate the thorough, clear, well- supported explanations and the lack of mythologizing or demonizing that sometimes goes along with these topics.

  • SNP1999🏴󠁧󠁢󠁥󠁮󠁧󠁿
    SNP1999🏴󠁧󠁢󠁥󠁮󠁧󠁿 2 роки тому +3

    I can highly recommend the book by English historian Ian Kershaw titled "The End" which deals explicitely upon the questions and reasons why the German nation fought to the bitter end, while all the time knowing that defeat was inevitable.

  • bber45
    bber45 2 роки тому +1

    The Seeds were planted way before the war even broke out. During basic training/boot camp the NCO's and Officers would eat and train with their soldiers on a regular bases. This helped establish a strong bond and trust.
    Generals like Paul Hausser and Albert Kesselring were well liked by their Troops and it showed on the battlefield. The Generals would march with their troops, visit them often on the frontlines and speak to them face to face. Even with the war hopelessly lost they still looked out for their men.

  • to do
    to do 2 роки тому +2578

    Germany 1944-45: "Yeah, that's me, you're probably wondering how I got myself into this mess."

    • HushPuppy
      HushPuppy 2 роки тому +36

      Deborah Meltrozo mess*

    • Ragnarok Stravius
      Ragnarok Stravius 2 роки тому +270

      "It all started with an Art School that didn't like Architectural Paintings..."

    • The Looinrims
      The Looinrims 2 роки тому +209

      @Ragnarok Stravius “it all started with a guy named Charlemagne...”
      “Wait what? What’s that gotta do with the Wehrmacht?”

    • Mikhailia Gacesa
      Mikhailia Gacesa 2 роки тому +13

      cue teenage waste land.

    • Kissamies
      Kissamies 2 роки тому +53

      Small hat tribe banksters, that's how.

  • William Tell
    William Tell 2 роки тому +1

    Military sociology is faschinating. I'm glad you included Professor Neitzel's discussion, which was quite thoughtful (well-reasoned). It reminded me of my old college advisor, Professor Charles Moskos, who has been deceased for a while now but was one of the truly founding members of the field of military socieology.

  • C&L Construction
    C&L Construction Рік тому +3

    The stats on the rate of German Officer's deaths reminds me of the United States Civil War, where Officers on both sides, for the most part, were always in the thick of the battles and suffered commensurate casualties.

  • Jairion
    Jairion 2 роки тому +4

    Curiously Finland did the same in the Winter War; units made out of men that are practically neighbors. This was discontinued in the Continuation War, I believe, because it would leave some areas especially devastated when their region would take all the casualties of a particularly deadly battle.

  • Olz Dee
    Olz Dee 2 роки тому +11

    That was one of the most informative features i have seen on here. It actually answered some of the questions i had as an avid war historian. It also debunks tge annoying myths about fanatics and blind loyalty. The German army of ww2 was just basically very good. To fight on 2 fronts against 3 superpowers for as long as it did deserves examination. Thanks to the channel.

  • PJ Noonan
    PJ Noonan 2 роки тому +7

    I knew you were worried about your videos seeming too click baity, but I think this particular video did a good job combining both the at a glance interest, and the well researched information. Good work; you make this website better.

  • N Jake
    N Jake 2 роки тому +3

    Another thing to look at with the German officer corps might also have to do with a great number of them were prior enlisted, either during the time of the Reichswehr or even during the war. As a current soldier, this does help to influence of trusting my superiors, knowing that they have gone through the same hardships or treatment as myself at one point in their careers.

  • David Russell
    David Russell 2 роки тому +5

    Excellent analysis and very interesting. I’ve worked with teams of Germans ( nothing military ) and must admit they seem to work as a team . Technical prowess is esteemed by co-workers regardless of your “ rank “ ie Technician or engineer . Obviously combat conditions are extreme , my experience is only civilian. On the downside; their sense of humor .😂

  • Bishop
    Bishop 2 роки тому +451

    I seem to remember reading somewhere (maybe Beevor) that the Wehrmacht soldiers were also scared shitless of being captured by the Red army. And i mean, given the choice of fighting to the death and spending the rest of their lives in a gulag...

    • Boz
      Boz 2 роки тому +160

      @VIVAAN 765 they also saw what the Russians did to the Russians . If they could do that to their own people imagine what they’d do to the enemy .

    • Jeffrey B
      Jeffrey B 2 роки тому +94

      The Russian POWs were left to starve to death by the Germans, so the Germans could only expect the same.

    • dan theman
      dan theman 2 роки тому +7

      It is unlikely that they would have got to a Gulag. Those that weren’t killed on capture were starved

    • Андрей Страхов
      Андрей Страхов 2 роки тому +36

      POW of Soviets never spent the rest of their lives in camps. Yes, some died, but what can you expect from a country that was half-destroyed, with thousands of cities and villages burnt to ground with people living there?

  • joe popes
    joe popes 2 роки тому +229

    More troops died in captivity, rather than on the battlefield. More after 1945 when the war was already over. Many knew what is coming and preferred to fight to the bitter end.

    • DVincentW
      DVincentW 2 роки тому +7

      Check out the channel Crocodile Tear. Excavation of mass burial of German fatalities in Austria.

    • Bussolini
      Bussolini 2 роки тому +29

      Not true, around 430k-500k german soldiers died in captivity, whereas, 5.3M German soldiers died during WW2

    • Olivier Mosimann
      Olivier Mosimann 2 роки тому +6

      @Bussolini source ?

    • Stirling Ramsay
      Stirling Ramsay 2 роки тому +1


  • th. kempe
    th. kempe Рік тому +5

    When there is no way left to escape, you fight til the very end. What else should you do?
    When the Allies decided, to demand unconditional surrender simultaneously to all of them, this was the decision to make the Wehrmacht fight to the end.
    In addition, Germany experienced the surrender of 1918, when it was not allowed to participate in the peace negotiations after its disarmament. Instead, they were given the choice of either accepting all the terms or, now unarmed, being attacked again.
    Back then, there had been a sarcastic saying in Berlin, "Guys, enjoy the war, the peace will be terrible".

  • Michael Horning
    Michael Horning 6 місяців тому +1

    When I was in the US Army in Korea, we had a soldier join our platoon who had been a driver at brigade headquarters. I had to school him on how line units work: a platoon is a family. The platoon sergeant and LT are out mom and dad. We live, eat sleep, and work together. We know each other's strengths and weaknesses. We may not always like each other, but we stick together and look out for each other.
    Later I became a unit armorer, and found out that even in a line company, the headquarters platoon was a bunch of backbiting Blue Falcons with no sense of camaraderie.

  • RouGeZH
    RouGeZH 2 роки тому +203

    A VERY interesting and crucial subject. Tons of books are written about military hardware, operations and strategy, a lot less about the human factors like psychological mindsets, training and organization.

    • Rembrandt Shadows
      Rembrandt Shadows 2 роки тому +2

      This is why China had better start a war with India NOW because the Indians, although behind the curve logistically and technologically, have the advantage in terms of cohesion. In 20 years, the number of combatants will greatly favor the Indians and they will have caught up technologically as well.

    • Wassenhoven420
      Wassenhoven420 2 роки тому +5

      @Rembrandt Shadows Why does China need to attack india? India will not be a world aggressor.

    • transamination
      transamination 2 роки тому +8

      I wonder if genetics plays a role. The stereotype of Germans is that of efficiency, conscientiousness, diligence etc. Stereotypes don't appear from nowhere. If you visit Germany it is a very clean, well-maintained place. There are strong taboos concerning things as minor as dropping litter. I wonder if their refusal to surrender reflects a natural tendency to work extremely hard, follow instruction etc.

    • Jan Eymers
      Jan Eymers 2 роки тому +3

      @transamination Its more intrinsic then you think. An example: i dont throw litter around because i dont want to wade in litter, i dont care if anyone watches. This place is also mine or someone elses in a way, even in a city. Therefor i respect it, as if it were mine. I have been educated since i was a little kid to respect everyone and behave honorable and give my best, especially in my work, regardless of profession. Not for someone else, but for my own pride and honor. I consider this mindset typical german. The resulting taboo is more of a pity towards contrary behaviour. To stay with the litter example: you would not get frowned upon (at least not the same way as if you showed your dick around) but earn more of a cold reservation by the observers.

    • SPL-316
      SPL-316 2 роки тому

      It's because NOBODY wants to talk about it. My grandad didn't talk about his experiences in the war until I came around.

  • Thermalburn
    Thermalburn 2 роки тому +1

    Your videos are amazing, I cant believe I just found you. Subbed!
    Edit: to corroborate with the "pragmatism" mentioned in 10:40, I experienced that as well in the Marines when I was in afghanistan. The higher ups rarely cared about how your boots were bloused or if you had a clean shave (as long as it wasnt ridiculous), or if your skivvy shirt wasnt tucked in. Transitioning from deployment back to garrison was rather jarring, especially when you had NCOs yelling at you about having your hands in your pocket or something insignificant

  • Daniel Băț
    Daniel Băț 2 роки тому

    Although I don't formally study history and don't really have time to read something besides my main studies, I will definitely check out Neitzel's book! I've heard only goos things about it and I like that it deals with military history not just as the history of battles and operations and so on, but as a part of society.

  • Kentro
    Kentro 2 роки тому +74

    Good video, still some aspects are missing, for example 1. Defending in Germany against the Bolsheviks and everything that came with them 2. Knowing that a defeat would be ultimate and not just another lost war. 3. Not wanting to surrender "too early" like in WW1 one.

    • Monferrato94
      Monferrato94 2 роки тому +7

      All those points originate in Nazi propaganda.

    • dan theman
      dan theman 2 роки тому

      And an insane leader who cared nothing for his soldiers survival

    • Witold Schwenke
      Witold Schwenke 2 роки тому +3

      @Monferrato94 sure but it was partially true. just look how terrible the eastern block fared. all the eastern former udssr countries were horribly poor and still are. Had the germans known what would happen afterwards they certainly would have fought even harder against the sovjets, i know i would have, the existence of the communists almost destroyed the world as we know it

  • Jakob C.
    Jakob C. 2 роки тому +1

    I had the luck of talking to a german tanker in privat. He was the driver of a long barreld version of the Panzer 4 in the Soviet union. From what he told me (he didnt remember a lot of the details) I concluded that he was part of the 4th Panzerarmy which was meant to (and failed to) break the encirclement at stalingrad.
    He only surrenderd when the U.S. army was so close that he and his unit deserted by driving threw the entirety of germany from the eastern front to the rhein river.
    As to why he did not surrender untill so late he told me two reasons:
    1. He did not want to surrender to the soviets (because nazi germany started a war of anihilation and if germany kills their prisioners of war then they dont give the soviets any reason why they should not do the same.)
    2. He and his unit were constantly promissed that they would soom get the new Tiger 2 (which ofcourse never happend). It seems as if all of them were constantly held back from surrendering via the promiss of getting to use the newest Wunderwaffe any time soon and that it would cure all their problems.
    Also he told me that the T-34 was supirior to his tank because it was faster. Classic case of "the gras grows greener on the other side".
    And P.S. you should not normaly trust such comments like mine as I could have easly made this story up for likes or something like that and I can fully understand (I would even encourage it) if you would not trust me, but what I am writing is 100% true.

  • Joe Blow
    Joe Blow 2 роки тому +1

    For some civilian comparison, I commuted to my local university which had a lot of students who lived on or near campus and most of those students came from other cities in my region and I felt totally out of place and in no meaningful way a true part of the student body. It was very alienating for me as a lot of students didn't understand the realities of commuting and most on campus clubs did not make any attempts to be more accessible to local, commuter students such as myself.
    It was the worse time of my adult life and I will always deeply regret it. I'm so bitter. I feel if I had been in university with more commuter students or at least more students from my own city then I would've felt like I belonged and was a part of my university's community.

  • Dingo
    Dingo 2 роки тому +144

    Ive never thought of someone who died in battle as "tactically failed" but it is a valid viewpoint

    • Florida Deere
      Florida Deere 2 роки тому +8

      what did Patton say, you don't win wars by dying for your country, you win wars by making the other poor bastard die for his

    • Wassenhoven420
      Wassenhoven420 2 роки тому +5

      Except war tactics often expect a percentage of casualties for many situations. One does not charge a village with suspected multiple hidden machine gun nests without expecting casualties.

    • The only Madmac
      The only Madmac 2 роки тому +4

      @Wassenhoven420 one flattens it with artillery, giving the casualties to the other site

    • The Irish Empire
      The Irish Empire 2 роки тому +2

      @The only Madmac when one does not have artillery tho

  • Lt Gen H S Panag
    Lt Gen H S Panag 2 роки тому

    During my 44 years service in the Indian Army, I studied in detail the reasons for the German military not collapsing despite all odd. My conclusions were same as made by this presentation. Indian army follows a similar system as the Germany army in WW2. Lt Gen H S Panag (R)

  • MIKEx2112
    MIKEx2112 2 роки тому +1

    I have family who served in WW2.
    I also have pictures from a great uncle who was allowed to take actual color photos (Rare 10x12 color photos as the events happened) of the Battleship he was on as it was defending herself against German ships AND Japanese planes..Most amazing thing I've ever seen...Kamakazi's pics as well..full color.
    But one thing I was told from numerous family members as a child.......There was a special division of highly trained German soldiers that were absolutely feared by the Americans.
    And for the life of me I cant remember what German branch it was..But I was told they were maniacs..This info came from my great uncle.
    I was also told they were not only merciless to those they confronted,but would not stop for shit in the face of death.
    dont know about anyone else,but I give huge respect to these soldiers.Japanese..German.. And American soldiers,when faced with certain death will fight TO the death for the man next to him.

  • Aller Bester
    Aller Bester 2 роки тому +74

    My grandpa fought in stalingrad and died in march 43 as pow. He was an officer and I think due to that he was allways informed about the strategic situation. Nevertheless, the letters from the Kessel to my grandmother were written in a style that never gave an idea of ​​the tragedy that happened in Stalingrad. Nobody would write that like that today. what I mean by that is that this generation was totally different from ours today. That's why it's so difficult for us to understand why they fought to the end. To write it in current language: They were just tougher than us.

    • peter mannheim
      peter mannheim 2 роки тому +8

      @Archet 65 Yeah and because the Nazis wanted too burn/gasing the People they saw as non human, like Women and Children this people without honor.

    • Jojo Delima
      Jojo Delima 2 роки тому +3

      A different breed of men

    • Goatface6
      Goatface6 2 роки тому

      Tougher or naive ?

    • Aller Bester
      Aller Bester 2 роки тому +3

      @Goatface6 naive in Stalingrad?

    • zawazawa
      zawazawa 2 роки тому +4

      @peter mannheim false meme

  • Dulu
    Dulu 2 роки тому +317

    Chainsword! There is also a scene in "Downfall", which Hitler and his loyalists were doomed in the final days, but he still comes out of his bunker for a few minutes to award a young German boy-soldier with a Knights Cross, I think for destroying a tank.

    • Teufer2
      Teufer2 2 роки тому +43

      SEVERAL tanks!

    • Harrison Lincoln
      Harrison Lincoln 2 роки тому +65

      What's truly amazing, that even at the end, Hitler could visit the frontline without fear of being shot by his own men. Now compare that to the so called 'leaders' of today.

    • Taxeros
      Taxeros 2 роки тому +9

      @Harrison Lincoln Probably because of that darn propaganda, and not the fact that they were fighting the most gruesome terror regime humanity has ever experienced. Oh, and of course - its enablers -- us.

    • Andrés Valverde
      Andrés Valverde 2 роки тому +34

      @Harrison Lincoln No no, therer were a large amount of his army who tried to kill him. He, i think, survived around 40 assasination attempts.

  • Bruno Ponce
    Bruno Ponce 2 роки тому +1

    Watching this video made me think of the War Hammer 40K war stories. One in particular is the Gaunt's Ghosts series (author is Dan Abnett) and I bring it up because his troops all come from the same regional area and also have a very good commanding officer who's not afraid to fight along with his men. He's not the only one writing great stories in the Warhammer universe but he's one of my favorites.

  • locomotivefaox
    locomotivefaox 2 роки тому +4364

    “Tis’ but a scratch”
    “Your bloody 6th army’s off!”
    “No it isn’t”

  • CharleS
    CharleS Рік тому +2

    There’s a few reasons why they fought till the end.
    1 they did not want to get captured by the Russians and fear of capture kept them going in the final weeks of the war.
    2 they wanted to save their loved ones, as all soldiers do.
    3 they were partially fanatic and loyal to the state.

  • John Smith
    John Smith 2 роки тому +207

    I seem to remember that John Keegan wrote that the Wehrmacht in WWII was the only army in the world where the officers and men ate the same food. I can't remember which one of his works I read that though.

    • The Looinrims
      The Looinrims 2 роки тому +34

      That would actual have a bigger impact than most may think at first glance
      It’s the easiest way for the common soldier to see the difference, it was common for officers of merchant fleets centuries ago to eat good while the basic sailors ate watery flour essentially and that was never appreciated

    • 9th Blood and Fire
      9th Blood and Fire 2 роки тому +69

      @The Looinrims Want to give both of you an example about this, and what was said in the video. First background: I was a platoon sergeant of a tank platoon in the Bundeswehr, and maybe you might know, a lot of habits in leadership are basically the same like in the Wehrmacht.
      We once had an exchange program with the Canadien army. Can't actually remember, but all Canadien army personnel has to go to the arctic for a winter warfare training. Our company was invited as guests to join this. It was 2 weeks training and preparing at the Canadien homebase, and then 2 weeks on an island in the arctic ocean (january, 700km north of polar circle, no daylight. up to -50°C at lowest, but that's another story). In exchange, after this 4 weeks the Canadiens came to Germany to our homebase and trained them on the Leo 2, including gunnery, etc.
      First and above all: the Canadiens were extremely hospitable! After more than 20 years I am still most impressed if I think back. And, apart from what I write following this, they were good men and soldiers!
      Second: First difference, the Sergeants and WO's of the C. had quite a high reputation, experience, were old (average I would say 35) and were highly respected, BUT had comparebly (for their service time) low responsibility. They mostly served as platoon sergeants or were involved in assisting the company commander/lead. Platoon leaders only were officers, while only one of them was ... I would say half ways experienced. Company lead was a Major, I would assume arround 40 years.
      On contrary we, "ze Germans": Me for example, I was 26, Oberfeldwebel with little over six years in service, platoon sergeant (trained as platoon leader which back in my time all "Feldwebel" were) and had the same position like one of the Canadien, old sergeants. 2 of our 3 platoon leaders were NCO's as well, and they were both younger than 35, say 12 to 14 years in service, while the only officer leading a platoon was an "older" first luey, with like 8 or 9 years of service. Our captain turned 30 years back in this year.
      First example of leadership:
      One of the corporals was ordered to take care of the fuel status of the platoon snowmobiles. I was very close to the sergeant and his young luey when this happened: The sergeant suggested and advised his lieutenant to not forget the fuel of the snowmobiles. The luey acknowlegded, then ordered his sergeant to order somebody (!), to check and refuel if neccessary. The sergeant again ordered one of the corporals to take the platoon, and check/refill fuel. The corporal now, took every soldier in the platoon (18 men, with us 4 Germans on their pltn), went outside and ordered everybody to check the fuel status/refill. Outcome: more than half of everybody was just standing arround, doing nothing. Senseless action in our view, which we Germans couldn't really understand. Most likely, if it would have been a German platoon, the leader would have just tasked 3 or 4 men to make sure tomorrow morning every snowmobile is full with fuel, and report execution afterwards.
      Best example:
      One day we headed out for a trip to wherever on the island. The whole company on snowmobiles. As we started, the Canadien Major stood outside, cup of coffee in his hands, and waved with his other hand ... he never attended any trip on the outside, like life fire, ice fishing, seal hunting, nor did he share any day in a tent when we were in the bivouac.
      This is absolutely unthinkable for a German company commander, even if he would be the greatest asshole! The Major even asked our officers to stay and join him on the base camp, which they politely refused. A German CO would have been at the front of the column, would have given the "forward march" sign, and would have been the leading vehicle.
      Especially this Captain we had this time was one of the most aggressive ones I had in tank warfare. He really led from the front, means he was in every attacking drill the first tank, ruthless - but for sure not headless - attacking. Imagine the Canadien major ... would he be the first as well? Trustfully leading and carry his company? I don't know (actually irdk, maybe it could be) ...

    • Artificial Intelligence
      Artificial Intelligence 2 роки тому +4

      A pretty big claim. Would prefer it if there was more than 1 source.

    • Bulb A. Gaba
      Bulb A. Gaba 2 роки тому +21

      @9th Blood and Fire your first hand experience is very insightful. Thanks for sharing, I’ve such high respect for the Bundeswehr.

    • undertakernumberone1
      undertakernumberone1 2 роки тому +7

      @The Looinrims an extreme exampl here: WWI, Battles of Isonzio. The italian officers were having lavish meals, while the troops were starving in the trenches.

  • Ninaa Kari
    Ninaa Kari 2 роки тому

    I find it shocking that Operation Bagration is not so well knowned as Operation Overlord. That was the decisive operation that sealed the German defeat and prevented Germany sending divisions to help in the Normandy region.

  • 10z20
    10z20 2 роки тому +1

    Great video, although I wish there was a little more time spent on the ideological elements which served to encourage fighting until the bitter end (and which framed surrender as non-optional); although I understand that may be beyond the scope of this channel (which focuses on the military more narrowly).

  • Christian Gallien
    Christian Gallien 2 роки тому +1

    This video caught me entirely off guard and made me cry... Germans just tend to hold everything they possibly can together, to conduct themselves with the same discipline regardless of the obliteration or conquering of their country.. It's honestly beautiful somehow, i don't quite know what it is...

  • Michael Boersma
    Michael Boersma 2 роки тому +74

    A good comparison would be how the US Army treated replacement soldiers and how it reconstituted units in WWII. The US Army did not keep units together and it issued individual replacements to units rather than reconstituting the unit as a team as Germany did.

    • fluffy1931
      fluffy1931 2 роки тому +2

      tell that to the grandpa German 716th Static Infantry Division = the majoority of this team were elderly Germans and conscripts from other German occupied countries, especially Ukrainians. Then there was the 709th Static Infantry Division another winning team organized by the wehrmacht consisted of conscripts or veteran personal either previously wounded, 'older' men, lacking combat experience, conscripts suffering from medical conditions, like ulcers etc. what a team.

    • Chris Schultz
      Chris Schultz 2 роки тому +7

      I think it's generally recognized now that the replacement depots (ReppleDepples in GI parlance) were a bad idea. What is interesting is that the U.S. National Guard divisions, which were generally recruited from the same states or regions, fought as well as regular troops, probably because of that regional identity shared by the troops.

    • RedAUG
      RedAUG 2 роки тому +6

      @Chris Schultz It may have been bad for unit morale, but I don't think the war department had much of a choice. Once a unit landed in Europe, that was it, they were in for the long haul. With high attrition rates, no one could afford to rotate whole divisions or even regiments off the line for any substantial period of rest and refitting. The only hope for men in the rifle companies was if their division commander was perceptive enough to establish in-house programs to acclimate replacements, which did happen more often than people give the US Army credit for.

    • ObiWAANKenobi 44
      ObiWAANKenobi 44 2 роки тому

      alfred lauridsen LMAO? The US entered Europe in 1941, when their enemy was NOT weak by any stretch of the word.

    • ObiWAANKenobi 44
      ObiWAANKenobi 44 2 роки тому +2

      @J01 You realize Italy's in Europe, right?

  • Spinozin 6.01
    Spinozin 6.01 2 роки тому +5

    Could you make a video on why the Germans are so good at taking penalties in football please? A three hour video would be amazing. We could learn so much x

  • arch aic
    arch aic 2 роки тому

    great analysis which shows how much 'leading is first of all serving,' as great commanders always make you feel, and as every spiritual dwarf reaching through treachery any Head Of Authoritiess endlessly fails to impose itself and ends up running with threat and harsh repression only, as well as using its position to favor its friends and chicks. Present day western 'leaders' are far from being aware of how effective it is to apply to this simple rule. This not to rehabilitate adolf, just a point for the clever German military. (I am in France, a country utterly abandoned by its generals and high political staff at the time, a bit like nowadays for the political cast at least, who could only resort to collaborate, ever seduced were they with fascism, 'that strong anti-communist strength.' Everything but efficiency was running into their minds).
    Another point, to atone the first: soldiers were drugged up to the end with violent amphetamine-like-but-with-even-more-frenziness-and-madness-pills that could induce, coupled with combat stress, psychotic states much terrain for endoctrinment and 'dedication.'

  • Alexander
    Alexander 2 роки тому +469

    when your army fights to the end thats a true loyal army

    • vake1234
      vake1234 2 роки тому +52

      Or truly fanatic
      Or truly desperate

    • Konrad lll Staufer
      Konrad lll Staufer 2 роки тому +129

      They defend there family's and th want to protect Germany.

    • Piano Music
      Piano Music 2 роки тому +26

      @Konrad lll Staufer Nah, if Germany would have surrendered early on or the soldiers would have rebelled, Dresden and other places might have survived. Nobody was protected by the ongoing war, they brought shame to the country by not rebelling against a leadership that had lost their minds.

    • zoolkhan
      zoolkhan 2 роки тому +68

      @Piano Music i am sure you would have rebelled.

    • W. Allen Caddell
      W. Allen Caddell 2 роки тому +22

      Really? Loyalty to the Nazi cause? Ah, that's absolutely wrong! They were under a brutal Dictatorship and were forced to fight. There was nothing loyal about it. Now SOPHIE SCHOLL should be a SAINT! Her and the White Rose group are heros. They made the ultimate sacrifice.

  • NoTimeAllTime
    NoTimeAllTime 2 роки тому +1

    Late in the conflict, the war transformed from a offensive war to a defensive war for the Germans. In the face of total war against their home, fighting with the same group of men they have for a long time, and the very real knowledge of what the red army would do to them and their home it isn't that much of a surprise.

  • Vinnie the Finger
    Vinnie the Finger 2 роки тому +1

    I also heard on some documentary that the Allies insistence on unconditional surrender during the Yalta conference had something to do with the Germans holding out as long as they did. At least a contributing factor.

  • Darth Patricius
    Darth Patricius 2 роки тому +429

    Wow, Sönke Neitzel is like THE guy you always see on german TV in documentaries on ww2 and the wehrmacht, really awesome for him to be on the channel!

    • James Smith
      James Smith 2 роки тому +37

      Bernhard is really good at this, and is gradually working his way toward being a member of the top tier of history broadcasters. His hard work will pay off.

    • Bullet_Tooth
      Bullet_Tooth 2 роки тому +2

      He wrote some really interesting books that I can highly recommend.

    • Morgoth117
      Morgoth117 2 роки тому +6

      He sounds exactly like every Nilfgaard Character in the Witcher 3 video game

    • John Smith
      John Smith 2 роки тому +10

      Seeing an expert on TV is very often a sign of relative incompetence.

    • UnrealTinec
      UnrealTinec 2 роки тому +3

      Sönke said that the German Empire was the main reason for WW1...

  • DH
    DH 6 місяців тому

    Excellent and informative video! ( A very minor nitpick is be careful not to mispronounce or confuse 'moral' vs 'morale'.)

  • Giovanni World In Scale
    Giovanni World In Scale 2 роки тому +1

    Thanks for your work. Very professional, detailed and informative

  • Quo Vadis
    Quo Vadis 2 роки тому +1

    Very insightful. But I do think that a major aspect in the determination to continue the fight, was a knowledge of all the war crimes committed by the allied forces. Both on the battlefield but also on the civilian population. So one can argue in all manners of fashion, but if you know that you are the only thing that stands between civilian casualties and the aggressor, then you will continue to fight.

  • Xmg12
    Xmg12 2 роки тому +1

    If you believe youre fighting for your loved ones, only a few miles away, you'll fight with greater fanaticism. Much depends on training/experience/leadership etc. Revenge for loved ones lost is a strong motivator (especially for partisan/terrorist/ leaderless units.. An invader from a land far away has only hid immediate colleagues and professionalism to motivate him. So much depends on the position of participants in war, be they defending/attacking/abroad/on home soil, and the information/propaganda they have been fed in their respective countries

  • Robert H
    Robert H 2 роки тому +30

    My father once said to me , You don't shoot to kill , But to wound . It takes men out of the battle to assist the wounded .

    • IudiciumInfernalum
      IudiciumInfernalum 2 роки тому +6

      Interestingly enough this seems both humane and coldly calculated. I guess it can be both.

    • Private
      Private 2 роки тому +14

      @IudiciumInfernalum or inhumane if you remember that being injured instead of killed outright doesn't guarantee survival. It only guarantees you'll live long enough to die in panic while your friends die trying to drag you to safety.

    • Robert H
      Robert H Рік тому

      @THE WESTSIDE Your belief goes against military tactics and training. You shoot to eliminate the threat. Wounding them is a bonus.

      THE WESTSIDE Рік тому

      @Robert H really, so seeing as most wars are won in the air i think you'll find that wounding would be a bit hard as the objective is to kill, & a wounded soldier would just be a magnet for the enemy to shoot allies trying to retrieve him

  • MrCaptainPatters
    MrCaptainPatters 2 роки тому +5536

    Because they knew that Steiner was preparing his counterattack

    • P.
      P. 2 роки тому +86


    • Олег Козлов
      Олег Козлов 2 роки тому +316

      Yes, but I heard Steiner konnte nicht genügend Kräfte für einen Angriff massieren and der Angriff Steiners ist nicht erfolgt

    • Ted Archer
      Ted Archer 2 роки тому +138

      @Олег Козлов yes, but the Volksschturm battalions still hold the bridgea

    • rusty sickle
      rusty sickle 2 роки тому +5


    • Neil Wilson
      Neil Wilson 2 роки тому +54

      Is this Downfall or Cross of Iron? Both great movies.

  • Philip Sturtivant
    Philip Sturtivant 2 роки тому +2

    Nearly 40 years ago, I wrote my (Brit) Army Staff College Commandant's Paper on the cohesion of soldiers, sub-units and units in combat. The research and thinking that I did in the course of that project utterly changed my understanding - and ever since then, it has been quite clear to me that most/nearly everything that is said about the British Regimental System being fundamental to British fighting power is mostly hot air spouted passionately in defence of a thoroughly outdated (but very cosy) system which has much more to do with preservation of privilege than it has to do with combat power.
    Even at 6 minutes into this I'm hearing loud echoes of what I learned waay back then.

    • doveton sturdee
      doveton sturdee 2 роки тому

      Correlli Barnett made the same argument in 'The Desert Generals' in around 1960, I believe.

  • Lash LaRue
    Lash LaRue 2 роки тому

    This was a mind-blowingly good analysis of organizational leadership. They should have taught these precepts in my MBA program!

  • Dave Pritchard
    Dave Pritchard 2 роки тому

    The British Army did much the same especially in later years. For instance my Regiment, 3rd Royal Tank Regiment were recruited mainly from the West Country and South Wales. 1RTR was mainly from Liverpool, South Yorkshire, surrounding areas and N.Wales. 2RTR London and surrounding areas/counties and 4RTR from North Yorkshire and above especially Scotland. There were exceptions of course! We had several non-west country soldiers with us! Mainly after 5RTR was disbanded and amalgamated into the other Regiments. It's also worth noting that the RTR Regiments considered ourselves 'Better' than the Cavalry units and Household Cavalry because we were 'Real' Tankies and spent all our time on the tanks not on ceremonial duties. All the RTR wore the same cap badge so we all considered each other 'brothers' no matter which RTR we were from. The others were kind of 'little brothers' to us but brothers all the same. Other arms/support units were subject to some harsh military banter but, we appreciated that we couldn't operate without them. Artillery (drop shorts), Catering Corp (slop jockeys), Infantry (grunts) and so it goes on. The Germans basically invented the 'Battle Group' as we know it now. Obviously things have progressed since then but, they were the 1st to really utilise it properly in the 'Blitzkreig'. The 1st example was WW1 when the British finally massed tanks with infantry support and rolling artillery barrages. Unfortunately, these tactics were scorned by the majority of 'old school' allied officers who still thought that tanks were merely infantry support vehicles. The Germans used them as fast attack, shock vehicles with the infantry keeping up and taking advantage of the breaks.

  • Pavel K.
    Pavel K. 2 роки тому +1

    It would be extremely interesting to compare other country's armies to figure out, what different things held (or didn't) armies together. Why French collapse, and why it was happening on divisional level even before the defeat became apparent? Why Soviets could collapse at one moment (first weeks of Blau), and fight bitterly a month later? How British-led forces managed to maintain their fighting spirit after seemingly endless string of severe defeats all over the world up until summer 1942?

    • Loup Libre
      Loup Libre 2 роки тому

      French army collapsed because everything was a mess.
      But French soldiers tried their best until the last day.
      More than a thousand could die every single day even when the Wehrmacht was taking territories fast during the last days of the invasion.
      ( _Les pertes de la campagne de France , 10 Mai - 22 Juin 1940_ )

  • Kaczynski
    Kaczynski Рік тому

    You can see the strength of cohesion in MOBA games. If the team members just don't afraid to die and try to perform their duties no mater what, the rest of the team remaining after the team fight can take care of the objectives. Still you should not int (instand death/suicide attack).

  • Tater Ater
    Tater Ater 2 роки тому +368

    My Russian grandfather’s village was drafted in 41 and of 300 something men under 100 returned. My dad’s grade had 2 classes and next grade had only 1 class because no one to have children from those years.

    • sjonnie playfull
      sjonnie playfull 2 роки тому +26

      I heard of a Russian saying: Mjasma boedjin. Terrible spelling probably. It means something like: plenty of meat. We all know of the numbers Russia used, but bringing it to this personal level hurts.

    • Irina Margalova
      Irina Margalova 2 роки тому +17

      @sjonnie playfull I have never heard of it and I can literally not read what you mean.

    • Олег Козлов
      Олег Козлов 2 роки тому +20

      @Irina Margalova "мяса поедим"? Я тоже без понятия, что он несёт

    • Irina Margalova
      Irina Margalova 2 роки тому +14

      @Олег Козлов Пургу просто несет, вот и все. Эксперт хренов

  • Dylan Milne
    Dylan Milne 2 роки тому +4

    I would be interested in how the threat of discipline and "military justice" worked within the Wehrmacht. I also wonder how penal units factor in here. I had previously viewed them as quite bleak and dismal echelons but a focus on redemption and military professionalism might have produced quite a different culture.

    • Robert Sacchi
      Robert Sacchi 2 роки тому

      There is a video out that claims they were useful on the Russian Front but on the Western Front they tended to give up at the first opportunity.

    • Toby Stewart
      Toby Stewart Рік тому

      You would be that guy in the penal battalion who gets up every morning with a big smile, saying to the other guys "How about this free food, huh? I'll bet today is even more fun than yesterday."

    • Dylan Milne
      Dylan Milne Рік тому +1

      @Toby Stewart lmao

    • Ultra-Papa Smurf
      Ultra-Papa Smurf 6 місяців тому

      they committed crimes on a insane scale in the east, thats why they didnt give up there, they knew the soviets will massacre them just like they massacred, raped and pillaged. In the west they believed they were more safe from prosecution and so didnt try to fight as often we see with example the Dirlewinger Brigade, luckily some polish soldiers caught up to him in prision.

  • MouseDenton
    MouseDenton 2 роки тому

    I wonder how effective these methods would be for an army to maintain its "sharpened edge" (in terms of discipline, cohesion, and capability) when faced with one of its other greatest threats to existence: peacetime.

  • Peter Ward
    Peter Ward Рік тому

    All very interesting…… but you have to also remember that these guys were being killed at a rate that created an environment of non stop replacements showing up and whole units being annihilated and recreated.
    Nearly Every eastern front ww2 book from German perspectives that I have read brings this issue up very often.

  • Enes Aykut
    Enes Aykut 2 роки тому +3

    I love your work because of this, it is not just some clickbait but has some academical value in it.

  • secuter
    secuter 2 роки тому

    It was a delight to view a video that actually cites its sources. Very few videos go that far - and most only use a single source. Thank you for the interesting video!

  • John Hunting
    John Hunting 2 роки тому +335

    The US MoH posthumous award percentage comparison is flawed in my opinion. While the numbers you give are correct, that it for the entire time it has been awarded, from the US Civil War, up until today.
    But if you just look at WWII, the time period that the Knights Cross was awarded, out of 471 MoH awards, 273 were posthumous, or 58%.
    The reason for this is because for a long time it was really the only award that could be given, the US military didn’t have dozens of metals and awards. So sometimes it was even awarded for non combat actions for example Thomas Ryan Jr got one for saving a woman from a burning hotel. It was also over awarded for political reasons in the early days as well. In an effort to boost public opinion of the occupation of Veracruz in 1914, 54 MoHs were awarded for an action where only 21 Americans were killed.
    You could argue that the reverse happened during the Iraq war when people who should have gotten it didn’t because that would have made it a ‘real war.’

    • john alan
      john alan 2 роки тому +9

      Yup, though the Department of the Army has gone back to some of the older awards and revoked them as MoH.

    • Breno Krug
      Breno Krug 2 роки тому +1

      Thank you, but a source would be appreciated!

    • Imperium Americanum
      Imperium Americanum 2 роки тому +1

      Mind giving some of those iraq war examples? I already feel like I should be angry about something but I don't know exactly what.

    • John Hunting
      John Hunting 2 роки тому +2

      @Breno Krug Wikipedia TBH. I knew enough about this history of the medal to tell that that comparison was suspect and I knew about Veracruz and that a huge percentage was posthumous in WWII. So I just went to Wikipedia to verify the specific numbers for WWII and Veracruz. So yea, kinda shady but enough for a youtube peanut gallery comment.
      It’s worthwhile to point out that this is all public record so if you really wanted to, you could verify those numbers with primary sources. Although some of the super early records, like from the Civil War are potently incomplete because it was so long ago and because it wasn’t as big a deal back then as it is today.

  • Cybop4527
    Cybop4527 2 роки тому +7

    The soldier in the thumbnail of this video is so iconic to me. He was on the cover of one of my dads old ww2 vhs documentaries which introduced me to ww2 as a kid.

    • Bill Wilson
      Bill Wilson 2 роки тому +1

      That photo is in one of my Squadron/Signal books about the Waffen SS. The photo caption says it was taken during the Ardennes Offensive where the German soldiers helped themselves to abandoned US clothing and weapons. That soldier is wearing a US raincoat and wool gloves while holding a 1911 Colt 45 in his right hand. Soldiers standing nearby are wearing US wool gloves and holding M1 carbines with their ammo clips on their belts. There were a few more photos of the Germans wearing US rubber over boots with buckles that were commonly called galoshes here in the States.

  • robynn
    robynn 2 роки тому

    Great video. If I may add a theory about why the Wehrmacht didn't break. Contrary to WW1, the German CIVILIAN population suffered terribly. Primarily from the increasinly intense bombardment of the cities. The British Air Marshal Arthur "Bomber" Harris thought that bombardment would break the German population - and overturn the Nazi regime. But this did not happen. At least part of the reason is simply that German civilian didn't consider defeat as an "option". Thus the Wermacht and the rest of the German armed forces was backed by the civilians. Surrender and defeat meant bringing the families of the soldiers in great danger. The need to defend the Fatherland and the individual soldiers family, must have helped to strengthen the combat morale. So in a way the Allied use of total war; terror bombing of the civilians, may actually have backfired - in a way.

  • michael shoen
    michael shoen 2 роки тому +1

    My father-in-law, describing fall/winter 1943 when the remnants of his unit were impressed into Kampfgruppe Das Reich in the Ukraine: "In Russia, you must be correct. If you complained, they put you up against the wall and killed you...There were dead bodies in the snow, not just a few. They [the officers] blew a whistle and if you didn't do what they told you, they shot you." No War.

  • Rhys Nichols
    Rhys Nichols 2 роки тому

    Because they largely believed in what they were fighting for and were tough as nails. And because of the atrocities committed by the unrestricted bombing and the red army it gave strong motivation to keep fighting

  • rochrich
    rochrich 2 роки тому

    I wonder if the rapid post- Versailles build up didn't force attention to the necessity of training quality junior officers commissioned and non-commissioned. They did have the successful example of training General Staff officers. From what little I've heard, the military school system had many many modern features.

  • Cir Bam
    Cir Bam 2 роки тому +2849

    Simple, they chose to keep Prussia's ideas of 150% discipline

    • FaboVonDestory
      FaboVonDestory 2 роки тому +76


    • Kamil Van Kravv
      Kamil Van Kravv 2 роки тому +58

      eu4 references are cringe at this point

    • Cir Bam
      Cir Bam 2 роки тому +244

      @Kamil Van Kravv Indeed they are at- Oh! Did you see that comet?! THE END TIMES ARE NEAR!

    • Christopher Thrawn
      Christopher Thrawn 2 роки тому +32

      And honor plus the Russians were coming.

    • Valta
      Valta 2 роки тому +14

      Yeah the German idea set is not good.

  • robynn
    robynn 2 роки тому

    Fascinating. Thank you for another superb and informative video based on solid research and sources.

  • BasicMovieTime
    BasicMovieTime Рік тому

    He’s a man that believed in his country and would defend it to the end. No matter what. That’s why he fought

  • Jose Gutierrez
    Jose Gutierrez 2 роки тому

    Somos German soldiers help patriotic to do their part respected enough throughout all military branches this was a really interesting point of view I'm glad you really posted it

  • Andy C
    Andy C 2 роки тому

    The British Army also had local raised Regiments, from the Victorian age and continues to today. Divisions had local names such as the London Division. During the First World there were Pal Battalions were they were raised by there work or occupations such as the Post Office Battalion.

  • G H
    G H Рік тому +2

    They were "Bands of Brothers" from the same regions, town and schools who fought to the end for the survival each other.

  • Ben S.
    Ben S. 2 роки тому +106

    I'm reading 'Das Boot' at the moment and while in part fiction, it has similar themes of the basic crew trusting their officers without knowing what actually was going on outside the boat and just bonding among each other over the 'conquests' they made on leave. Actually, it paints the one guy who ate up the Nazi propaganda as an outsider, who had difficulty integrating into the crew. They were fighting for each other. Once the boat gets hit 'der Alte' basically just walks around keeping up the morale while the crew does its job.

    • Purzlina
      Purzlina 2 роки тому +8

      The people in the submarines believed that they were an indomitable elite and were treated as such by the nazi propaganda. If they had won the war, they would have received great medals and an estate in the enslaved eastern territories. That is why they fought, all this comradeship nonsense was just there to make the suffering and mass death more bearable.

    • Zorro9129
      Zorro9129 2 роки тому +22

      @Purzlina Well life in a submarine was abysmal and a huge proportion perished underneath the waves.

    • keksimus ultimus
      keksimus ultimus 2 роки тому +16

      @Zorro9129 75% of those who chose to go to subs died..... that's a huge death count.

    • Google Shill
      Google Shill 2 роки тому +16

      @Purzlina I take it you never felt true camaraderie before? Because that doesn't even resemble what normal people think. It almost sounds like...propaganda.

  • Basil McDonnell
    Basil McDonnell 2 роки тому

    Given the base you have established with this analysis of cohesion, I'd be wondering if there wouldn't be room for a video on the topic of the role of the firing squad in maintaining that cohesion?

  • Daniel
    Daniel 2 роки тому +7

    I would argue the German army did collapse on the western front, at the end they offered little resistance and surrendered in mass. Sun Tzu once said, "put your soldiers in a position of no escape, and they will prefer death to flight". That would sum up the eastern front, even when cohesion broke down, morale remained "high", they knew they had no hope of survival and death fighting would be preferable to the horrors of being a soviet prisoner - if even lucky enough to be taken alive and the desire to try to protect the civilian population further reinforced that idea.

  • Alan G
    Alan G 2 роки тому +35

    In relation to cohesion, Antony Beevor writes that officers would ensure that some level of Christmas celebrations took place in the Stalingrad Kettle even giving up their own rations so that their men could have a little bit more food.

    • James Kennedy
      James Kennedy 2 роки тому +3

      Myths die hard .

    • Jeffrey B
      Jeffrey B 2 роки тому

      They slaughtered their horses, but had no heat to cook the meat.