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REVIEW
Osprey's "Walter Model"
bill_c
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Posted: Tuesday, July 05, 2011 - 10:05 AM UTC
Randy Harvey reviews Osprey Publishing''s "Walther Model" by Robert Forczyk with illustrations by Adam Hook.



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Jupiterblitz
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Posted: Thursday, July 14, 2011 - 09:14 AM UTC
Hello Randy,

First I have to say that I am little bit sick and tire of being told by foreign authors/publishers how great some German Generals/Marshals were.

Sometimes it seems to me that the Propaganda of the Third Reich (and the Soviet Union) is not erased completely.

I do not want to read another heroic legend about GFM XY.

In particular about Model due to the sound knowledge about him.

He was an anti-semite, anti-democratic and a true coward because he prefered to commit suicid instead of to share the fate of his men by following them as POW.

What has your review got to do with it?

I cannot say it.

That is the point.

Because the review does not provide if and how the author puts Model into a context with the Third Reich.

That would tell much about a historical book's level of quality.

I do not expect any kind of bashing.

I would like to know something about the author's attitude and his position because that shows how he's dealing with the whole object.

Therefore the review is actually not helpful to me.


An example: Once I was thinking about to purchase a book named "Kampfkraft" ("Fighting Power") which compares the Wehrmacht and the U.S. Army.

Oh no, another Hurra-Wehrmacht stuff.

But then I was checking the author and his bio, the reason why he had wrote the book and everything was fine.

Headhunter506
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Posted: Thursday, July 14, 2011 - 09:25 AM UTC
I haven't built a Walter Model yet. This "Model"ing guide might come in handy.

Sorry, Bill. I couldn't resist.

I tend to agree with Marco about the fawning over German and Soviet military personalities. I have no respect for someone who takes the coward's path and offs himself.
DutchBird
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Posted: Thursday, July 14, 2011 - 10:20 AM UTC
Let me first state that the suggestion by Marco, that it would be more helpful to know what subjects the author discusses, and how he approaches his subject is indeed a good one.

It might also serve to make a review more attractive to readers.

Then some points concerning the attitude towards Model.


The simple fact that Model's decision to 'off himself' is seen as the coward's way out shows what little understanding there is/was about the attitude of the Prussian officer corps and how they thought how they should conduct themselves, what they deemed honourable and how their attitudes were towards others - within the army, people of different social classes - and how to respond to events around him, including the commission of war-crimes and genocide.


Indeed, as far as the issue of being anti-democratic and him being anti-semitic (better would be racist, since his racist attitudes were not limited to Jews alone(!)), in those respects Model was no different than the vast majority of the officers in the Wehrmacht, and in many respects not even the worst. In many ways it might be Model's 'problem' that he was probably more open about about his attitudes than most senior officers, and could not engage in apologetic polemics after the war was over since he committed suicide. Also, his personality was a rather difficult one, and did cause a lot of friction (and probably also resentment) amongst other Werhmacht officers (and could thus have made an attractive scapegoat).


As far as senior commanders organising and commanding defensive operations, Model was probably one of the best, if not the best commander the Germans had, and arguably the best of all the generals of all combattants in WW II in that respect. As such he deserves to be recognised and studied.


Of course any decent modern study should, if applicable (which would be the case in a biography) pay sufficient attention to his attitude towards the Nazi-regime.


In general, racism was wide-spread throughout most western militaries, indeed (western) society as whole - one only has to gloss at the attitude towards blacks within the American military or the attitude towards colonial soldiers serving in the various militaries as a well known example. Anti-democratic attitudes were also much wider spread throughout the world, also in the West!



Also, Marco,

I find it highly ironic that while highly critical of Model - and the 'veneration of German generals' in general - and to a considerable extent rightfully so, you have an image of von Manstein as your avatar. Von Manstein was little better, if any at all, than Model as far as his complicity in war-crimes, involvement in the Holocaust and crimes against humanity goes - indeed, most senior Wehrmacht (or German commanders in general - were. About the only difference is that von Manstein did not commit suicide.




Jupiterblitz
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Posted: Thursday, July 14, 2011 - 11:08 AM UTC
Harm,

I wrote about what I demand from a book's review in general.

Walter Model's story and bio is also interesting to me thus I feel like to read something more. But when I do this I always know what kind of guy he was.


"I find it highly ironic that while highly critical of Model - and the 'veneration of German generals' in general - and to a considerable extent rightfully so, you have an image of von Manstein as your avatar. Von Manstein was little better, if any at all, than Model as far as his complicity in war-crimes, involvement in the Holocaust and crimes against humanity goes - indeed, most senior Wehrmacht (or German commanders in general - were. About the only difference is that von Manstein did not commit suicide."

That is right.

I am very familiar with von Manstein. I have read and seen enough stuff about him. And he should be viewed very critically - in particular how dealed with the Reichenau order.

But using him as an avatar does not mean sympathy or acceptance for his character, attitude or activities.
Headhunter506
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Posted: Thursday, July 14, 2011 - 11:51 AM UTC
I'm fully aware of the Prussian officer's perception of commiting suicide. That still doesn't instill a heroic or noble quality to the action. That an officer would rather commit suicide to spare himself and evading the inevitable fate which soldiers who were under his command will face is the coward's way. By killing himself, he allowed those lower in the chain to be scapegoats in post-war trials. Take responsibility for your actions; and, face the consequences for those actions. I have more respect for Kaltenbrunner, Jodl and Keitel for not taking the easy way out and facing the consequences.

Referring to racist attitudes of the Americans and British is irrelevant and has a tinge of moral equivocation; the discussion is about Model, not societal issues and policies of Allied militaries and their respective countries. If, by bringing up these points, you are proposing that the Allies, on the whole, were no better than Model and the regime he supported, is disingenuous.

.
bill_c
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Posted: Thursday, July 14, 2011 - 11:55 AM UTC
Gents, this is a very good discussion with some very valid points. Let's just be careful here about getting personal....

That having been said, modelers of German subjects walk a tightrope. On the one hand, we admire the tenacious fighting and great combat skill of the German fighting man. But many of them (not just the SS) were quick to commit all kinds of atrocities and other war crimes often without provocation. Look at the damage done to Florence in Italy by the retreating Wehrmacht, including dynamiting the bridges? It was senseless destruction with no justification whatsoever. While the Wehrmacht was not the only perpetrator of atrocities, the sheer number of them stands out.

Regarding the German general staff, I think it's fair to say they were for the most part cowards. Many of them chose suicide rather than surrender, and the majority blindly followed Hitler even when his "strategy" was shown to be insane, destructive and costing Germany the war. By the time of Stalingrad's fall, it was clear that Germany could not hope to win, yet the July 20th Plot was a weak, pathetic attempt to correct the situation. Even though Hitler was not killed, any number of senior officers could have acted; most did nothing.

There were, IMO, very few really outstanding German commanders. Rommel, Kesselring and Guderian come to mind, but Model and Manstein, along with the various Waffen-SS commanders strike me as nothing exceptional. Blindly following orders isn't a tactical mode, it's just stupidity.
HARV
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Posted: Saturday, July 23, 2011 - 05:58 AM UTC
Thank you everyone for your replies. As I always try to state, I do appreciate any and all feedback as it always helps me to write better reviews.

I can't always please everyone with them. All I try to do is discuss the subject of the book and the basic details of it.

Thank you again,
Randy