bawceofsawce2802 karma2017-01-28 14:25:22 UTC
Was the news of Hitler's alleged suicide a feeling of relief or despair?
You say that you believed in the war effort, but at the same time you had to see the momentum shifting in the waning months of the war toward the Allied powers. I'm curious if German soldiers were starting to lose their morale and wanted the war to just be over, knowing that Hitler's death or a Wunderwaffe was the only way to achieve this.
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bawceofsawce733 karma2017-01-28 15:14:49 UTC
It's very interesting that even though German soldiers knew that the death of Hitler would mean a more peaceful situation, they still held on to what they believed was right for Germany, which in this instance for them was the war.
Thank you so much for taking the time to answer my question. I'd like to add an anecdote.
My grandfather was a military policeman during the war. He was tasked with guarding German prisoners. Like many, he knew that what he believed in was what against what the Nazi party believed in. It was during his time guarding a specific German prison (he never liked to talk about the war, so I'm not entirely sure what happened, but I know this story), that he befriended this soldier and started to learn about him and his culture. Before the war, the German soldier was a watch maker in Germany. This fascinated my grandfather, not only because this made Nazis seem more human but also because it exposed him to the culture of what was perceived to be the enemy.
Ever since then and up until his death, my grandfather loved watches and clocks. After the death of my grandmother in 2002, my grandfather started making clocks to give out to people in his small woodshop. This continued until his Alzheimer's got so bad he could no longer live by himself. I'm not sure if him constructing clocks was a way of paying homage to that German soldier that he befriended during the war or not, because he would never tell me what happened to the soldier. I hope that story has a happy ending, but I'll never know as my grandfather passed in 2010.
I'm telling this story because often times Nazi party members were vilified by Americans, and in some cases rightly so. It is important to remember however that they were simply people doing what they believed in.
Once again, thank you for answering my question and doing this AmA. I hope my grandfather's story gets back to you to show you that Americans still appreciated German culture in that time period.
bawceofsawce93 karma2017-01-28 15:29:22 UTC
I agree with this, but it is important to note the difference between supporting the war effort and being completely evil. Not all Nazi party members were evil and participated in genocide, just like not all American servicemen mow down Afghani and Iraqi children in the street. You have outliers in every instance of war.
bawceofsawce6 karma2017-01-28 15:37:24 UTC
I just want to add this about a "Wunderwaffe"
For Nazis, a "Wunderwaffe" is a weapon that would have ended conflict in World War 2. While it is very likely that had the Nazis had an atomic weapon that they would have used it, I don't see the parallels to the current U.S. situation. We are in no direct conflict with a major power in which we are losing and need a wonder weapon. Our nuclear arsenal is already established and has been for decades. Nazis in this time period were looking for a new wonder weapon that they could use to turn the tides of war, not an established armament they could use.
Not trying to bring your comment down, just clarifying the differences.
bawceofsawce2 karma2017-01-28 15:39:03 UTC
Thank you. I had always wondered where my grandfather's love of watches and clocks came from, and then he told me about his German friend during the war.
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