WWII German soldiers speak about their experiences.
'The myth that the Nazi-era German armed forces, the Wehrmacht, was not involved in war crimes persisted for decades after the war. Now two German researchers have destroyed it once and for all. Newly published conversations between German prisoners of war, secretly recorded by the Allies, reveal horrifying details of violence against civilians, rape and genocide.''What already seems hardly feasible for current military operations like the war in Afghanistan is nearly impossible when it comes to an event that happened so long ago as World War II. Nevertheless, two German historians have managed to produce precisely such a documentary of perceptions of the war using live historical recordings.'
"The material that historian Sönke Neitzel uncovered in British and American archives is nothing short of sensational. While researching the submarine war in the Atlantic in 2001, he discovered the transcripts of covertly recorded conversations between German officers in which they talked about their wartime experiences with an unprecedented degree of openness. The deeper Neitzel dug into the archives, the more material he found. In the end, he and social psychologist Harald Welzer analyzed a total of 150,000 pages of source material. The result is a newly published book with the simple title of "Soldaten" ("Soldiers"), published by S. Fischer Verlag. The volume has the potential to change our view of the war.
The recordings, which were made using special equipment that the Allies used to secretly listen in on conversations between German prisoners of war in their cells starting in 1939, offer an inside view of World War II. In doing so, they destroy once and for the myth of a "clean" Wehrmacht.
In "Soldiers," which is subtitled "Transcripts of Fighting, Killing and Dying," the soldiers talk about their views of the enemy and their own leaders, discuss the details of combat missions and trade astonishingly detailed accounts of the atrocities they both witnessed and committed.
There are always reasons given for killing. Sometimes the reason can be as simple as someone not walking to the other side of the street quickly enough or not handing over an item right away."
For German soldiers "there is also another view of war, one in which it is not only an endless nightmare, but also a great adventure that some soldiers later remember as the best time of their life."
"We once flew a low-altitude attack near Eastbourne . When we got there we saw a big castle where there was apparently a ball or something like that being held. In any case, there were lots of women in nice clothes and a band. We flew past the first time, but then we attacked and really stuck it to them. Now that, my dear friend, was a lot of fun.
"There are always reasons given for killing. Sometimes the reason can be as simple as someone not walking to the other side of the street quickly enough or not handing over an item right away.
Zotlöterer: "I shot a Frenchman from behind. He was riding a bicycle."
Weber: "At close range?"
Heuser: "Did he want to take you prisoner?"
Zotlöterer: "Nonsense. I wanted the bicycle."
Part 2: Allies Hoped to Discover Military Secrets
Part 3: Boasting about Their Exploits
Part 4: 'We Threw Her Outside and Shot at Her'
Part 5: Wehrmacht Soldiers Knew about the Holocaust
Part 6: A Terrifying Social Experiment