Fahnenfluchten: Deserteure der Wehrmacht im Zweiten Weltkrieg: Lebenswege und Entscheidungen

TitleFahnenfluchten: Deserteure der Wehrmacht im Zweiten Weltkrieg: Lebenswege und Entscheidungen
Publication TypeBook
Year of Publication2008
AuthorsKoch, Magnus
Number of Pages426

German soldiers who left their units during the Second World War were regarded traitors to the Nazi nation. More than 15,000 of them were executed by the Wehrmacht justice system from 1939 to 1945. A few hundred deserters managed to escape to Switzerland. In six case studies, the author traces the lives and decisions of these deserters for the first time. Unique source findings allow new questions to be asked about the history of refusal in the war of annihilation - for example, about the connection between masculinity and readiness to fight. In the mirror of interrogation protocols, self-testimonies and novel manuscripts, ideas of deserters as (regime-critical) opponents of war prove to be a cliché. By reading contemporary and current texts against each other, the study can also show for the first time changes in biographical self-perceptions; these point to the changed conditions of memory in post-war Germany. By looking at the outsiders, the book shows what held the Wehrmacht together - and how deserters coped with the stigma of desertion before and after 1945.

Translated TitleDesertions: Deserters from the Wehrmacht in World War II: Lives and Decisions
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