This engaging, introspective memoir, coauthored with Bruslaw ( The Business Writer's Handbook ) offers insight into the thinking and attitudes of a Wehrmacht officer. Knappe served in the artillery during the invasions of Czechoslovakia, France and the Soviet Union and as a staff officer during the Italian campaign and the defense of Berlin. Though he had moral reservations about the Czech campaign and was troubled by his government's betrayal of its non-aggression pact with Russia, Knappe believed that his participation in combat was honorable and that the overriding purpose of the war was to correct the injustice perpetrated against Germany by the 1919 Treaty of Versailles. Only after he was captured by Soviet troops in 1945 did he begin to understand that he had been an "unthinking cog," accepting without question Hitler's might-makes-right philosophy. The memoir closes with an account of his release from a Soviet prison camp in 1949 and his reunion with his family in Leipzig. Knappe came to America in 1955 and is now a retired corporate executive in Ohio. Photos.
finally a book laying aside the emotions and politics and providing a first hand soldiers account of fighting in the German army in World War II. Procides incredible details on the daily activities of the army including mobilization, working with horses, uniforms, eating, etc. Knappe who servied as an officer gives accounts not possible for the average soldier to know. Recommended reading. Just wish they would lose the swaztika on the cover - it is not a book about Nazi politics.
Really gives a history from the losing side. We always get it from the winner. Very interesting for the student of WWII.
After recently reading "Panzer Commander," I was apprehensive about reading another German soldier's "We really hated Hitler and didn't know anything about the concentration camps" memoir.
However, I was pleasantly surprised with "Soldat." This is a well written memoir from a German officer that covers his days from graduation from the gymnasium to his release from a Russian POW camp 13 years later.
Starting out as a recruit in an artillery training camp until the days when he "commanded" a decimated division in the defense of Berlin, Siegfried Knappe tells of his experiences growing up in Nazi Germany: his hopes, loves, training, combat experiences, the men he served and fought with, and his gradual disillusionment with the war.
I finished the book in three days, as the 413 pages seem to fly by as I learned what it really meant to be German soldier in the initial, heady years of victory and the ghastly, hopeless years of defeat.