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The Myth of the Eastern Front: The Nazi-Soviet War in American Popular…

de Ronald Smelser, Edward J. Davies

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From the 1950s onward, Americans were quite receptive to a view of World War II similar to the view held by many Germans and military personnel on how the war was fought on the Eastern Front in Russia. Through a network of formerly high-ranking Wehrmacht and Bundeswehr officers who had served on the Eastern Front, Germans were able to shape American opinions into an interpretation of World War II that left the Wehrmacht with a 'clean' reputation in World War II history. A positive view of German military conduct, opposed against a newly dismissive view of the Russian military in light of Cold War prejudices, was absorbed by many Americans during the 1950s, and continues to this day in a broad subculture of general readers, German military enthusiasts, war game aficionados, military paraphernalia collectors, and re-enactors who tend to romanticize the German army and its history.… (mais)
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Sometimes you simply wait too long to read a book and for me this is one of those times. Had I read it seven or eight years ago I would have been more impressed with how the authors examined the processes by which the criminality of the German military on the Eastern Front was masked by the expediency of the Cold War but I think that we've reached the point where peak "all hail the Wehrmacht" thinking (as a buddy of mine put it) has passed. A bit of my reaction may simply come from having lived this reality but I also wonder what this cultural trend now looks like in a world where the sort of reactionary personality that was willing to embrace this myth is now willing to embrace Putin's Russia for its ostensible anti-globalism and social conservatism. Still, for a younger person who might not be aware that this was a social trend this is probably a useful monograph. I also get amusement from image on the book cover depicting a heroic German tank commander (taken from the box art of a board game) which I'm quite sure was produced by Tim of Finland, who was essentially the Vargas of gay pornography. The authors do not attempt to deal with the psycho-sexuality of the cult! ( )
  Shrike58 | Mar 2, 2019 |
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From the 1950s onward, Americans were quite receptive to a view of World War II similar to the view held by many Germans and military personnel on how the war was fought on the Eastern Front in Russia. Through a network of formerly high-ranking Wehrmacht and Bundeswehr officers who had served on the Eastern Front, Germans were able to shape American opinions into an interpretation of World War II that left the Wehrmacht with a 'clean' reputation in World War II history. A positive view of German military conduct, opposed against a newly dismissive view of the Russian military in light of Cold War prejudices, was absorbed by many Americans during the 1950s, and continues to this day in a broad subculture of general readers, German military enthusiasts, war game aficionados, military paraphernalia collectors, and re-enactors who tend to romanticize the German army and its history.

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