National Socialism, more known as Nazism, is the ideology and practices associated with the Nazi Party – the National Socialist German Workers' Party – in Nazi Germany, of other far-right groups with similar aims. Nazism is a form of fascism and showed that ideology's disdain for liberal democracy and the parliamentary system, but incorporated fervent antisemitism, anti-communism, scientific racism, eugenics into its creed, its extreme nationalism came from Pan-Germanism and the Völkisch movement prominent in the German nationalism of the time, it was influenced by the Freikorps paramilitary groups that emerged after Germany's defeat in World War I, from which came the party's "cult of violence", "at the heart of the movement."Nazism subscribed to theories of racial hierarchy and Social Darwinism, identifying the Germans as a part of what the Nazis regarded as an Aryan or Nordic master race. It aimed to overcome social divisions and create a German homogeneous society based on racial purity which represented a people's community.
The Nazis aimed to unite all Germans living in German territory, as well as gain additional lands for German expansion under the doctrine of Lebensraum and exclude those who they deemed either community aliens or "inferior" races. The term "National Socialism" arose out of attempts to create a nationalist redefinition of "socialism", as an alternative to both Marxist international socialism and free market capitalism. Nazism rejected the Marxist concepts of class conflict and universal equality, opposed cosmopolitan internationalism, sought to convince all parts of the new German society to subordinate their personal interests to the "common good", accepting political interests as the main priority of economic organization; the Nazi Party's precursor, the Pan-German nationalist and antisemitic German Workers' Party, was founded on 5 January 1919. By the early 1920s the party was renamed the National Socialist German Workers' Party – to attract workers away from left-wing parties such as the Social Democrats and the Communists – and Adolf Hitler assumed control of the organization.
The National Socialist Program or "25 Points" was adopted in 1920 and called for a united Greater Germany that would deny citizenship to Jews or those of Jewish descent, while supporting land reform and the nationalization of some industries. In Mein Kampf, Hitler outlined the anti-Semitism and anti-Communism at the heart of his political philosophy, as well as his disdain for representative democracy and his belief in Germany's right to territorial expansion; the Nazi Party won the greatest share of the popular vote in the two Reichstag general elections of 1932, making them the largest party in the legislature by far, but still short of an outright majority. Because none of the parties were willing or able to put together a coalition government, in 1933 Hitler was appointed Chancellor of Germany by President Paul Von Hindenburg, through the support and connivance of traditional conservative nationalists who believed that they could control him and his party. Through the use of emergency presidential decrees by Hindenburg, a change in the Weimar Constitution which allowed the Cabinet to rule by direct decree, bypassing both Hindenburg and the Reichstag, the Nazis had soon established a one-party state.
The Sturmabteilung and the Schutzstaffel functioned as the paramilitary organizations of the Nazi Party. Using the SS for the task, Hitler purged the party's more and economically radical factions in the mid-1934 Night of the Long Knives, including the leadership of the SA. After the death of President Hindenburg, political power was concentrated in Hitler's hands and he became Germany's head of state as well as the head of the government, with the title of Führer, meaning "leader". From that point, Hitler was the dictator of Nazi Germany, known as the "Third Reich", under which Jews, political opponents and other "undesirable" elements were marginalized, imprisoned or murdered. Many millions of people were exterminated in a genocide which became known as the Holocaust during World War II, including around two-thirds of the Jewish population of Europe. Following Germany's defeat in World War II and the discovery of the full extent of the Holocaust, Nazi ideology became universally disgraced.
It is regarded as immoral and evil, with only a few fringe racist groups referred to as neo-Nazis, describing themselves as followers of National Socialism. The full name of the party was Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei for which they used the acronym NSDAP; the term "Nazi" was in use before the rise of the NSDAP as a colloquial and derogatory word for a backwards farmer or peasant, characterizing an awkward and clumsy person. In this sense, the word Nazi was a hypocorism of the German male name Ignatz – Ignatz being a common name at the time in Bavaria, the area from which the NSDAP emerged. In the 1920s, political opponents of the NSDAP in the German labour movement seized on this and – using the earlier abbreviated term "Sozi" for Sozialist as an example – shortened NSDAP's name, Nationalsozialistische, to the dismissive "Nazi", in order to associate them with the derogatory use of the term mentioned above; the first use of the term "Nazi" by the National Socialists occurred in 1926 in a publication by Joseph Goebbels called Der Nazi-Sozi.
In Goebbels' pamphlet, the word "Nazi" only appears when linked with the word "Sozi" as an abbreviation of
The term Clean Wehrmacht, Clean Wehrmacht legend, or Wehrmacht's "clean hands" denotes the myth that the Wehrmacht was an apolitical organization along the lines of its predecessor, the Reichswehr, was innocent of Nazi Germany's war crimes and crimes against humanity, behaving in a similar manner to the armed forces of the Western Allies. This narrative is false, as shown by the Wehrmacht's own documents, such as the records detailing the executions of Red Army commissars by frontline divisions, in violation of the laws of war. While the Wehrmacht treated British and American POWs in accordance with these laws, they enslaved, shot, or otherwise abused and murdered Polish and Yugoslav civilians and prisoners of war. Wehrmacht units participated in the mass murder of Jews and others; the myth began in the late 1940s, with former Wehrmacht officers and veterans' groups looking to evade guilt, a few German veterans' associations and various far-right authors and publishers in Germany and abroad continue to promote such a view.
Modern defenders downplay or deny the Wehrmacht's involvement in the Holocaust ignore the German persecution of Soviet prisoners of war, emphasise the role of the SS and the civil administration in the atrocities committed. The Waffen-SS, in turn, attempted to benefit from the clean Wehrmacht myth by their veterans declaring the organisation to have been a branch of the latter, to have fought as "honourably" as it, its veteran organisation, HIAG, attempted to cultivate a myth of their soldiers having been "Soldiers like any other". In the eyes of the Nazis, the war against the Soviet Union would be a war of annihilation; the racial policy of Nazi Germany viewed the Soviet Union as populated by non-Aryan Untermenschen, ruled by "Jewish Bolshevik conspirators". Accordingly, it was stated Nazi policy to kill, deport, or enslave the majority of Russian and other Slavic populations according to the Generalplan Ost; the plan consisted of the Kleine Planung and the Große Planung, which covered actions to be taken during the war and actions to be implemented after the war was won, respectively.
The plans entailed killing the vast majority of the native population among the nations it would be implemented through starvation and deportations. Before and during the invasion of the Soviet Union, German troops were indoctrinated with anti-Bolshevik, anti-Semitic and anti-Slavic propaganda. Following the invasion, Wehrmacht officers told their soldiers to target people who were described as "Jewish Bolshevik subhumans", the "Mongol hordes", the "Asiatic flood" and the "Red beast". Many German troops regarded their Soviet enemies as sub-human. A speech given by General Erich Hoepner indicates the disposition of Operation Barbarossa and the Nazi racial plan, as he informed the 4th Panzer Group that the war against the Soviet Union was "an essential part of the German people's struggle for existence", stated, "the struggle must aim at the annihilation of today's Russia and must therefore be waged with unparalleled harshness." The Potsdam Conference held by the Soviet Union, United Kingdom and United States from 17 July to 2 August 1945 determined the occupation policies that the defeated country was to face.
These included demilitarisation, denazification and decentralization. The Allies' crude and ineffective implementation caused the local population to dismiss the process as a "noxious mixture of moralism and'victors' justice'". For those in the Western zones of occupation, the arrival of the Cold War undermined the demilitarization process by justifying a major part of Hitler's foreign policies – the "fight against Soviet bolshevism". In 1950, after the outbreak of the Korean War, it became clear to the Americans that a German army would have to be revived to help face off against the Soviet Union. Both American and West German politicians were faced with the prospect of rebuilding the armed forces of the Federal Republic. From 5 to 9 October 1950, a group of former senior officers, at the behest of Chancellor Konrad Adenauer, met in secret at Himmerod Abbey to discuss West Germany's rearmament; the participants were divided into several subcommittees that focused on the political, ethical and logistical aspects of the future armed forces.
The "internal structure" working group was headed by General Hermann Foertsch, who in the 1930s had been a protege of Field Marshal Walter von Reichenau, one of the most ardent National Socialists in the Wehrmacht, would go on to become one of Adenauer's advisers on defense. The resulting memorandum included a summary of the discussions at the conference and bore the name "Memorandum on the Formation of a German Contingent for the Defense of Western Europe within the framework of an International Fighting Force", it was intended as a basis of negotiations with the Western Allies. The participants of the conference were convinced that no future German army would be possible without the historical rehabilitation of the Wehrmacht. Thus, the memorandum included these key demands: All German soldiers convicted as war criminals would be released. Adenauer accepted these propositions and in turn advised the representatives of the three Western po
German mistreatment of Soviet prisoners of war
During World War II, Nazi Germany engaged in a policy of deliberate maltreatment of Soviet prisoners of war, in contrast to their treatment of British and American POWs. This resulted in some 3.3 to 3.5 million deaths. During Operation Barbarossa, the Axis invasion of the Soviet Union, the subsequent German–Soviet War, millions of Red Army prisoners of war were taken. Many were executed, arbitrarily in the field by the German forces or handed over to the SS to be shot, under the Commissar Order. Most, died during the death marches from the front lines or under inhumane conditions in German prisoner-of-war camps and concentration camps, it is estimated. This figure represents a total of 57% of all Soviet POWs and may be contrasted with 8,300 out of 231,000 British and U. S. prisoners, or 3.6%. About 5% of the Soviet prisoners who died were Jews; the most deaths took place between June 1941 and January 1942, when the Germans killed an estimated 2.8 million Soviet POWs through deliberate starvation and summary execution.
A million at most had been released, most of whom were so-called ‘volunteers’ for auxiliary service in the Wehrmacht, 500,000 had fled or were liberated, the remaining 3.3 million had perished as POWs The figure of 3.3 million POW dead is based on German figures and analysis. Data published in Russia presents a different view of their POW dead. Viktor Zemskov estimated Soviet POW deaths at 2.3 million, he published statistics that put Soviet POW losses at 2,471,000 Of the 823,000 POWS released for service in the German military forces 212,400 were killed or missing, 436,600 were returned to the USSR and imprisoned and 180,000 remained in western countries after the war. Russian military historian Grigori F. Krivosheev maintains POW and MIA losses of the combat forces were 1.783 million, according to Krivosheev the higher figure of 3.3 million POW dead includes reservists not on active strength and military personnel reported missing who were recovered during the course of the war. By September 1941, the mortality rate among Soviet POWs was in the order of 1% per day.
According to the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, by the winter of 1941, "starvation and disease resulted in mass death of unimaginable proportions". This deliberate starvation, despite food being available, led many desperate prisoners to resort to acts of cannibalism, was Nazi policy, was all in accordance with the Hunger Plan developed by the Reich Minister of Food Herbert Backe. For the Germans, Soviet POWs were expendable: they consumed calories needed by others and, unlike Western POWs, were considered to be subhuman; the Commissar Order was a written order given by the German High Command on 6 June 1941, prior to the beginning of Operation Barbarossa. It demanded that any Soviet political commissar identified among captured troops be shot immediately; those prisoners who could be identified as "thoroughly bolshevized or as active representatives of the Bolshevist ideology" were to be executed. In the summer and autumn of 1941, vast numbers of Soviet prisoners were captured in about a dozen large encirclements.
Due to their rapid advance into the Soviet Union and an anticipated quick victory, the Germans did not want to ship these prisoners to Germany. Under the administration of the Wehrmacht, the prisoners were processed, forced-marched, or transported in open rail cars to locations in the occupied Soviet Union and occupied Poland. Much like comparable events, such as the Pacific War's Bataan Death March in 1942, the treatment of prisoners was brutal, without much in the way of supporting logistics. Soviet prisoners of war were stripped of their supplies and clothing by poorly-equipped German troops when the cold weather set in. Most of the camps for Soviet POWs were open areas fenced off with barbed wire and watchtowers with no inmate housing; these meager conditions forced the crowded prisoners to live in holes they had dug for themselves, which were exposed to the elements. Beatings and other abuse by the guards were common, prisoners were malnourished consuming only a few hundred calories or less per day.
Medical treatment was non-existent and an International Red Cross offer to help in 1941 was rejected by Hitler. Some of the Soviet POWs were experimented on. In one such case, Dr. Heinrich Berning from Hamburg University starved prisoners to death as "famine experiments". In another instance, a group of prisoners at Zhitomir were shot using dum-dum bullets; the camps established for Soviet POWs were called Russenlager. The Allied regulars kept by Germany were treated in accordance with the 1929 Geneva Convention on Prisoners of War. Although the Soviet Union was not a signatory, Germany was, Article 82 of the Convention required signatories to treat all captured enemy soldiers "as between the belligerents who are parties thereto." Russenlager conditions were even worse than those experienced by prisoners in regular concentration camps. Such camps included: Oflag IV-C: Allied officers from Western countries at Colditz Castle were forbidden to share Red Cross packages with starving Soviet prisoners.
Oflag XIII-D: In July 1941 a new compound was set up in Oflag XIII-A for higher ranking Soviet military officers captured during Operation Barbarossa. It was closed in April 1942 and the surviving officers were transferred to other
Battle of Stalingrad
The Battle of Stalingrad was the largest confrontation of World War II, in which Germany and its allies fought the Soviet Union for control of the city of Stalingrad in Southern Russia. Marked by fierce close quarters combat and direct assaults on civilians in air raids, it was the largest and bloodiest battle in the history of warfare. After their defeat at Stalingrad, the German High Command had to withdraw vast military forces from the Western Front to replace their losses; the German offensive to capture Stalingrad began in August 1942, using the 6th Army and elements of the 4th Panzer Army. The attack was supported by intensive Luftwaffe bombing; the fighting degenerated into house-to-house fighting. By mid-November 1942, the Germans had pushed the Soviet defenders back at great cost into narrow zones along the west bank of the Volga River. On 19 November 1942, the Red Army launched Operation Uranus, a two-pronged attack targeting the weaker Romanian and Hungarian armies protecting the German 6th Army's flanks.
The Axis forces on the flanks were overrun and the 6th Army was cut off and surrounded in the Stalingrad area. Adolf Hitler ordered that the army make no attempt to break out. Heavy fighting continued for another two months. By the beginning of February 1943, the Axis forces in Stalingrad had exhausted their ammunition and food; the remaining units of the 6th Army surrendered. The battle lasted one week and three days. By the spring of 1942, despite the failure of Operation Barbarossa to decisively defeat the Soviet Union in a single campaign, the Wehrmacht had captured vast expanses of territory, including Ukraine and the Baltic republics. Elsewhere, the war had been progressing well: the U-boat offensive in the Atlantic had been successful and Erwin Rommel had just captured Tobruk. In the east, they had stabilized their front in a line running from Leningrad in the north to Rostov in the south. There were a number of salients, but these were not threatening. Hitler was confident that he could master the Red Army after the winter of 1942, because though Army Group Centre had suffered heavy losses west of Moscow the previous winter, 65% of its infantry had not been engaged and had been rested and re-equipped.
Neither Army Group North nor Army Group South had been hard pressed over the winter. Stalin was expecting the main thrust of the German summer attacks to be directed against Moscow again. With the initial operations being successful, the Germans decided that their summer campaign in 1942 would be directed at the southern parts of the Soviet Union; the initial objectives in the region around Stalingrad were the destruction of the industrial capacity of the city and the deployment of forces to block the Volga River. The river was the Caspian Sea to central Russia, its capture would disrupt commercial river traffic. The Germans cut the pipeline from the oilfields; the capture of Stalingrad would make the delivery of Lend Lease supplies via the Persian Corridor much more difficult. On 23 July 1942, Hitler rewrote the operational objectives for the 1942 campaign expanding them to include the occupation of the city of Stalingrad. Both sides began to attach propaganda value to the city, based on it bearing the name of the leader of the Soviet Union.
Hitler proclaimed that after Stalingrad's capture, its male citizens were to be killed and all women and children were to be deported because its population was "thoroughly communistic" and "especially dangerous". It was assumed that the fall of the city would firmly secure the northern and western flanks of the German armies as they advanced on Baku, with the aim of securing these strategic petroleum resources for Germany; the expansion of objectives was a significant factor in Germany's failure at Stalingrad, caused by German overconfidence and an underestimation of Soviet reserves. The Soviets realized, they ordered that anyone strong enough to hold a rifle be sent to fight. If I do not get the oil of Maikop and Grozny I must finish this war. Army Group South was selected for a sprint forward through the southern Russian steppes into the Caucasus to capture the vital Soviet oil fields there; the planned summer offensive, code-named Fall Blau, was to include the German 6th, 17th, 4th Panzer and 1st Panzer Armies.
Army Group South had overrun the Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic in 1941. Poised in Eastern Ukraine, it was to spearhead the offensive. Hitler intervened, ordering the Army Group to split in two. Army Group South, under the command of Wilhelm List, was to continue advancing south towards the Caucasus as planned with the 17th Army and First Panzer Army. Army Group South, including Friedrich Paulus's 6th Army and Hermann Hoth's 4th Panzer Army, was to move east towards the Volga and Stalingrad. Army Group B was commanded by Field Marshal Fedor von Bock and by General Maximilian von Weichs; the start of Case Blue had been planned for late May 1942. However, a number of German and Romanian units that were to take part in Blau were besieging Sevastopol on the Crimean Peninsula. Delays in ending the siege pushed back the start date for Blau several times, the city did not fall until early July. Operation Fridericus I by the Germans against the "Isium bulge", pinched off the Soviet
A memoir is a collection of memories that an individual writes about moments or events, both public or private, that took place in the subject's life. The assertions made in the work are understood to be factual. While memoir has been defined as a subcategory of biography or autobiography since the late 20th century, the genre is differentiated in form, presenting a narrowed focus. A biography or autobiography tells the story "of a life", while a memoir tells a story "from a life", such as touchstone events and turning points from the author's life; the author of a memoir may be referred to a memorialist. Memoirs have been written since the ancient times, as shown by Julius Caesar's Commentarii de Bello Gallico known as Commentaries on the Gallic Wars. In the work, Caesar describes the battles that took place during the nine years that he spent fighting local armies in the Gallic Wars, his second memoir, Commentarii de Bello Civili is an account of the events that took place between 49 and 48 BC in the civil war against Gnaeus Pompeius and the Senate.
The noted Libanius, teacher of rhetoric who lived between an estimated 314 and 394 AD, framed his life memoir as one of his literary orations, which were written to be read aloud in the privacy of his study. This kind of memoir refers to the idea in ancient Greece and Rome, that memoirs were like "memos", or pieces of unfinished and unpublished writing, which a writer might use as a memory aid to make a more finished document on; the Sarashina Nikki is an example of an early Japanese memoir, written in the Heian period. A genre of book writing, Nikki Bungaku, emerged during this time. In the Middle Ages, Geoffrey of Villehardouin, Jean de Joinville, Philippe de Commines wrote memoirs, while the genre was represented toward the end of the Renaissance, through the works of Blaise de Montluc and Margaret of Valois, that she was the first woman to write her Memoirs in modern-style; until the Age of Enlightenment encompassing the 17th and 18th centuries, works of memoir were written by Anthony Ashley-Cooper, 1st Earl of Shaftesbury.
While Saint-Simon was considered a writer possessing a high level of skill for narrative and character development, it wasn't until well after his death that his work as a memoirist was recognized, resulting in literary fame. Over the latter half of the 18th through the mid-20th century, memoirists included those who were noted within their chosen profession; these authors wrote as a way to publish their own account of their public exploits. Authors included politicians or people in court society and were joined by military leaders and businessmen. An exception to these models is Henry David Thoreau's 1854 memoir Walden, which presents his experiences over the course of two years in a cabin he built near Walden Pond. Twentieth-century war memoirs became a genre of their own, from the First World War, Ernst Jünger and Frederic Manning's Her Privates We. Memoirs documenting incarceration by Nazi Germany during the war include Primo Levi's If This Is a Man, which covers his arrest as a member of the Italian Resistance Movement, followed by his life as a prisoner in Auschwitz.
In the early 1990s, memoirs written by ordinary people experienced a sudden upsurge, as an increasing number of people realized that their ancestors’ and their own stories were about to disappear, in part as a result of the opportunities and distractions of technological advances. At the same time and other research began to show that familiarity with genealogy helps people find their place in the world and that life review helps people come to terms with their own past. With the advent of inexpensive digital book production in the first decade of the 21st century, the genre exploded. Memoirs written as a way to pass down a personal legacy, rather than as a literary work of art or historical document, are emerging as a personal and family responsibility; the Association of Personal Historians formed in Amherst, Massachusetts, in the early days of the modern memoir, as an international trade association for professionals who assist individuals and organizations in documenting their life stories, preferably in archival formats.
With the expressed interest of preserving history through the eyes of those who lived it, some organizations work with potential memoirists to bring their work to fruition. The Veterans History Project, for example, compiles the memoirs of those who have served in a branch of the United States Armed Forces – those who have seen active combat. Association of Personal Historians Diary Fake memoirs Histoire de ma vie Last will and testament Time Magazine. Memoir Network
Robert M. Citino
Robert M. Citino is an American military historian and the Samuel Zemurray Stone Senior Historian at the National WWII Museum, he is a leading authority on modern German military history, with an emphasis upon World War II and the German influence upon modern operational doctrine. Citino is an award-winning author on military history, receiving recognition for his works from the American Historical Association, the Society for Military History, the New York Military Affairs Symposium; the Historically Speaking journal described him as "one of the most perceptive military historians writing today". Citino grew up in Cleveland, Ohio, his father was a United States Army veteran of the Pacific War who served in the Guadalcanal Campaign as a combat medic and gave Citino a copy of Guadalcanal Diary by Richard Tregaskis. After graduating with Magna Cum Laude with his Bachelor of Arts in history from Ohio State University in 1978, he earned his Master of Arts and Doctor of Philosophy from Indiana University in 1980 and 1984.
Citino is fluent in German having first learned it as an undergraduate and is a prolific reader of early 20th-century German military literature. Citino has held academic postings at the University of North Texas, Lake Erie College, Eastern Michigan University, United States Military Academy at West Point, the United States Army War College, he is a fellow of the Barsanti Military History Center, a trustee of the Society for Military History, a consultant for the White House staff. He has appeared as a consultant on the History Channel, he chairs the Historical Advisory Subcommittee of the Department of the Army. Throughout his career Citino has advocated changing the current nomenclature of German military tactics. Although he uses the word Blitzkrieg on the cover of his books, he has always espoused the view that it should be called by its proper German military term, Bewegungskrieg, or maneuver warfare. Citino has taught courses on Nazi Germany and American military history, including Korea and the Cold War.
On March 15, 2013, Citino was awarded the 2013 Distinguished Book Award by the Society for Military History for his work The Wehrmacht Retreats: Fighting a Lost War, 1943. The book explores German losses in key campaigns in 1943—losses which would lead to an erosion of the German military's strategic advantage, it is his second Distinguished Book Award. Citino was a visiting professor at the United States Army War College in Carlisle, Pennsylvania for the 2013–14 academic school year. Winner of the 2004 Paul M. Birdsall Prize for Best Book in Strategic Studies, American Historical Association for Blitzkrieg to Desert Storm: The Evolution of Operational Warfare Winner of the 2005 Distinguished Book Award, Society for Military History for Blitzkrieg to Desert Storm: The Evolution of Operational Warfare Winner of the 2012 Arthur Goodzeit Award New York Military Affairs Symposium for The Wehrmacht Retreats: Fighting a Lost War, 1943 Winner of the 2013 Distinguished Book Award, Society for Military History for The Wehrmacht Retreats: Fighting a Lost War, 1943 Citino.
Germany and the Union of South Africa in the Nazi Period. Greenwood Press. Citino. Armored Forces: History and Sourcebook. Greenwood Press. Citino; the Path to Blitzkrieg: Doctrine and Training in the German Army, 1920–1939. Lynne Rienner. Was the Reputation of the Wehrmacht for Military Superiority Deserved?" In History in Dispute 4, World War II, 1939–1945 Detroit: St. James Press. Citino; the Weimar Roots of German Military Planning. In Military Planning and the Origins of the Second World War in Europe. Edited by B. J. C. McKercher and Roch Legault. Westport, Conn.: Praeger. Citino. Quest for Decisive Victory: From Stalemate to Blitzkrieg in Europe, 1899–1940. University Press of Kansas. Citino. Blitzkrieg to Desert Storm: The Evolution of Operational Warfare. University Press of Kansas. ISBN 0-700-61300-5 Citino; the German Way of War: From the Thirty Years' War to the Third Reich. University Press of Kansas. ISBN 0-700-61410-9 OCLC 61362770 Citino; the Death of the Wehrmacht: The German Campaigns of 1942. University Press of Kansas.
ISBN 0-700-61531-8 OCLC 123485685 Citino. Military Histories Past and Present: A Reintroduction. American Historical Review vol.112 no.4 Citino. The Path To Blitzkrieg: Doctrine and Training in the German Army 1920–39. Stackpole Books. Citino; the Wehrmacht Retreats: The Campaigns of 1943. University Press of Kansas. ISBN 0-700-61826-0 OCLC 755904583 Citino; the Wehrmacht's Last Stand: The German Campaigns of 1944-1945. University Press of Kansas. ISBN 0-700-62494-5 Yerxa, Donald A.. "Military History at the Operational Level: An Interview with Robert M. Citino". Speaking. Retrieved May 5, 2016. "Death of the Wehrmacht" – 2009 article by Citino at Historynet.com Fritz on Citino,'Death of the Wehrmacht: The German Campaigns of 1942' – Review by the historian Stephen G. Fritz on H-Net'Death of the Wehrmacht: The German Campaigns of 1942' – Review by Richard L. Dinardo of Marine Corps Command and Staff College Interview with Professor Robert Citino, via WW2History.com, a web site by the historian Laurence Rees Appearances on C-SPAN "Kursk, The Epic Armored Engagement": Video on YouTube, via the official channel of The National WWII Museum.
S. Army Heritage and Education Center "Why Did the German Army Fight to the End?:" https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UI72BLrwqR0&t=23s
Battle of Kursk
The Battle of Kursk was a Second World War engagement between German and Soviet forces on the Eastern Front near Kursk in the Soviet Union, during July and August 1943. The battle began with the launch of the German offensive, Operation Citadel, on 5 July, which had the objective of pinching off the Kursk salient with attacks on the base of the salient from north and south simultaneously. After the German offensive stalled on the northern side of the salient, on 12 July the Soviets commenced their Kursk Strategic Offensive Operation with the launch of Operation Kutuzov against the rear of the German forces in the northern side. On the southern side, the Soviets launched powerful counterattacks the same day, one of which led to a large armoured clash, the Battle of Prokhorovka. On 3 August, the Soviets began the second phase of the Kursk Strategic Offensive Operation with the launch of Operation Polkovodets Rumyantsev against the German forces in the southern side of the Kursk salient; the battle was the final strategic offensive that the Germans were able to launch on the Eastern Front.
Because the Allied invasion of Sicily had begun, Adolf Hitler was forced to have troops training in France diverted to meet the Allied threat in the Mediterranean, rather than use them as a strategic reserve for the Eastern Front. Hitler canceled the offensive at Kursk in part to divert forces to Italy. Germany's extensive losses of men and tanks ensured that the victorious Soviet Red Army enjoyed the strategic initiative for the remainder of the war; the Germans hoped to weaken the Soviet offensive potential for the summer of 1943 by cutting off the forces that they anticipated would be in the Kursk salient. The Kursk salient or bulge was 250 kilometres long from north to south and 160 kilometres from east to west; the plan envisioned an envelopment by a pair of pincers breaking through the northern and southern flanks of the salient. Hitler believed that a victory here would reassert German strength and improve his prestige with his allies, who were considering withdrawing from the war, it was hoped that large numbers of Soviet prisoners would be captured to be used as slave labour in the German armaments industry.
The Soviet government had foreknowledge of the German intentions, provided in part by the British intelligence service and Tunny intercepts. Aware months in advance that the attack would fall on the neck of the Kursk salient, the Soviets built a defence in depth designed to wear down the German armoured spearhead; the Germans delayed the offensive while they tried to build up their forces and waited for new weapons the new Panther tank but larger numbers of the Tiger heavy tank. This gave the Red Army time to construct a series of deep defensive belts; the defensive preparations included minefields, artillery fire zones and anti-tank strong points, which extended 300 km in depth. Soviet mobile formations were moved out of the salient and a large reserve force was formed for strategic counter-offensives; the Battle of Kursk was the first time in the Second World War that a German strategic offensive was halted before it could break through enemy defences and penetrate to its strategic depths.
The maximum depth of the German advance was 8–12 kilometres in the north and 35 kilometres in the south. Though the Red Army had succeeded in winter offensives their counter-offensives following the German attack at Kursk were their first successful strategic summer offensives of the war; as the Battle of Stalingrad ground to its conclusion, the Red Army moved to a general offensive in the south, in Operation Little Saturn. By January 1943, a 160 to 300 km wide gap had opened between Army Group B and Army Group Don, the advancing Soviet armies threatened to cut off all German forces south of the Don River, including Army Group A operating in the Caucasus. Army Group Center came under significant pressure as well. Kursk fell to the Soviets on 8 February 1943, Rostov fell on 14 February; the Soviet Bryansk and newly created Central Fronts prepared for an offensive which envisioned the encirclement of Army Group Center between Bryansk and Smolensk. By February 1943 the southern sector of the German front was in strategic crisis.
Since December 1942 Field Marshal Erich von Manstein had been requesting "unrestricted operational freedom" to allow him to use his forces in a fluid manner. On 6 February 1943, Manstein met with Hitler at the headquarters in Rastenburg to discuss the proposals he had sent, he received an approval from Hitler for a counteroffensive against the Soviet forces advancing in the Donbass region. On 12 February 1943, the remaining German forces were reorganised. To the south, Army Group Don was placed under Manstein's command. Directly to the north, Army Group B was dissolved, with its forces and areas of responsibility divided between Army Group South and Army Group Center. Manstein inherited responsibility for the massive breach in the German lines. On 18 February, Hitler arrived at Army Group South headquarters at Zaporizhia just hours before the Soviets liberated Kharkov, had to be hastily evacuated on the 19th. Once given freedom of action, Manstein intended to utilise his forces to make a series of counterstrokes into the flanks of the Soviet armoured formations, with the goal of destroying them while retaking Kharkov and Kursk.
The II SS Panzer Corps had arrived from France in January 1943, refitted and up to near full strength. Armoured units from the 1st Panzer Army of Army Group A had pulled out of the Caucasus and further strengthen