Review published on February 19, 2018.
Guido Knopp holds a German doctorate degree in History and Political Science. He has since made numerous television documentaries pertaining to the Third Reich and the Nazi dictatorship. I have a couple of multi-disc adaptations of these television programmes. This time, however, I have been compelled to resort to a book again. This book again features several characters and their lives during the Second World War. Originally published as Hitler’s Krieger in 1998, this book, Hitler’s Warriors, published in English, in 2005, is a well constructed, warts and all account of these separate men.
Although the CD versions naturally feature contemporary footage and photographs, the book obviously relies on the written word, with an assorted photographic collection. The first character is titled “The Idol – Erwin Rommel’, the second is ‘The Accomplice – Wilhelm Keitel, the third person is ‘The Strategist – Erich von Manstein’, the fourth is ‘The Captive – Freidrich Paulus’, and the fifth character is ‘The Aviator – Ernst Udet’ and lastly, the final known man, ‘The Conspirator – Wilhelm Canaris’.
These men could not be classed as ‘mainstream’ Nazis, some even did not join up to the party at all. They were ultimately soldiers of differing ranks, but were placed in strange situations, only to have to rug pulled from under them by Adolf Hitler himself. However, they carried out their duties, and largely succeeded, and they briefly shone for a while, but these events all led them to become almost legendary before they fell by the wayside.
The failings of the Superior Command to either back them up, or the innate suspicion of connivance by the generals, made them scapegoats in the eyes of the Fuhrer. Guido Knopp has put together yet another first class collection of biographies. It certainly tells the main happenings each character underwent and the repercussions. I believe this book is the best introduction to these men that could ever be available. For further detailed information, one should search deeper, but this book will happily suffice the armchair historian.
Rightly, or wrongly, the Second World War still holds a fascination for many people, books like this one certainly help put flesh on the bones of these people of the past, much like kings and queens of yester-year, and other famous people. I thoroughly enjoyed the read, a shame that many other books on the subject prove to be a mite dusty, and tedious.
Reg Seward 5/1
Hitler’s Warriors by Guido Knopp
Sutton Publishing 9780750926010 hbk Mar 2005
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