Memories of World War Two
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In its place, military planners want to build a professional, all-volunteer force. But the juxtaposition is more nuanced. Among many other conclusions, Clausewitz posited that war was politics pursued by other means. That held true in as Hitler sent his armies to the east on a doomed quest for Lebensraum — expanded territory for his Aryan master race in what became a war of annihilation.
View all New York Times newsletters. In the postwar era, by contrast, the army itself represented politics by other means: With a conscripted, citizen army, rooted among the people, West Germany, and later the reunified Germany, wanted to ensure that the military would never again be untethered from democratic control. It is that lesson, perhaps, that was there in the past week to be drawn from the commemoration of Operation Barbarossa, which triggered the bloodstained years of what Russians call the Great Patriotic War.
Reneging on a nonaggression pact with Stalin, struck in as Germany prepared to invade Poland , Hitler envisaged Barbarossa as a blitzkrieg to overrun the Red Army. Instead, the conflict endured from June 22, , until the fall of Berlin in May It still ranks as the bloodiest conflict in human history, setting unsurpassed standards for brutality. Russian estimates put Soviet deaths at It is, of course, debatable whether teenage Americans would find relevance today in the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor in or whether young Britons would draw inspiration from the Dunkirk evacuations of But memory is always easier for the victors, colored by triumph, not shame or humiliation.
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As many men were away serving, women took over many of the working tasks which the men traditionally did. Women could be seen working on the land, in the factories and driving buses - which was very unusual at the time, but nothing unusual these days.
Accounts that bear witness to the unutterable horrors German children endured during World War II
In the summer time the clocks were put forward 2 hours instead of the 1 hour we do now to allow people to work longer to get in the harvest from the fields. Of course this made the summer days seem very long as it did not get dark in midsummer till around 11 pm.
Because of the shortages of raw materials to make military hardware, metal railings and metal fencing from the fronts of houses and land were cut down to be re-used to make war materials. This could be clearly seen throughout Cambridge - and the rest of the country I presume. We would often see a lot of military personnel in the area during the war - especially Americans, who held a special fascination for us with their smart uniforms and badges. One time some American soldiers camped in an orchard down our road and when we went to investigate they gave us some Flapjack which, of course, we had never had before.
We also collected their badges and stripes and any other memorabilia as a hobby. During the war it was not unusual to see the streets were full of convoys of army trucks carrying troops about, or to see prisoners of war POWs walking about. The POWs were used to help people work in the fields. The prisoners used to live in camps and made wooden toys to sell.
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I remember having one of the toys - 4 wooden chickens on a board which pecked in rotation when a weight attached to the board with strings was swung round. They had a pyrograph decoration and splayed out wooden tails. Things were very scarce in those days and I remember only one person in the street owned a football.
It had a leather case which we used to fill with an inflated cycle inner tube all screwed up inside and when that burst we filled it up with straw. Of course, there was no television in the homes in those times and we had to rely on the newspapers and radio, which all the family listened to together in the evenings. One of my favourite programmes was a comedy programme called Itma starring Tommy Handley. The skies were often filled with formations of planes which flew very low and made a tremendous droning noise. We used to know every type of plane and we would see them go off to raids over Germany and later return.
The sky at night would often be filled with Allied searchlights scouring the skies for signs of enemy aircraft. When the war finished I remember we celebrated with a massive street party. The road was closed, tables were set up in the middle of it, where we ate drank and played games in celebration. In the evening there was a firework display - which nearly ended in tragedy when the fireworks, in the pocket of the neighbour who was organising the event, ignited causing him to catch fire. Fortunately he recovered but it was a frightening experience for everyone. After the war was over we often went to London by train to visit the evacuees that had lived with us and their families.
From the train window you could clearly see the scale of how devastated London had been by the constant. It seemed to look like this for a long time before it was rebuilt and even now when I visit London you get the feeling that every demolished building is a bomb site. In the post war period s my two brothers and I were conscripted into National Service.
BBC - WW2 People's War - A Child’s Memories of World War 2: In Harrow
In the town I was stationed in Germany , we had to go into town to visit the cinema. Write a customer review. Read reviews that mention german boy russian soldiers wolfgang samuel war of our childhood nazi germany required reading german children world war well written book should be required reading this book book is very well book to a german interviews child interested learn memories survival air.
Showing of 32 reviews. Top Reviews Most recent Top Reviews. There was a problem filtering reviews right now. Please try again later. Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase. If you are interested in WWII you will like this book.
Amazing to learn thru the eyes of children who lived thru it. They seem to have come out unscathed and many were very, very successful in later life. I gave the book to a German friend of mine who was there during part of the war. Will be interested in seeing what she has to say. Very well written! Touching interviews of the people who have suffered so much as children.
Sadly, nothing is exaggerated, as many of my own family members also lived through this! A must read for anyone who is interested in history! A real eye opener. A very well written book of about 25 memoirs. This collection of short reminiscences by adult Germans who were children in Nazi Germany at the end of World War II is not quite as captivating as the author's own memoir "German Boy" but it is a fascinating nonetheless.
If anything, given its format, this book would be even more accessible for a pre-teen reader than "German Boy. Many of the children in this book mention this experience. Anyone who has seen the PBS documentary "A Fighter Pilot's Story" will find these descriptions of the air war over Europe from the point of view of children walking home from Kindergarten particularly chilling.
My wife could only read a chapter at a time, then became so emotionally overcome that she had to put the book down. It evoked some very strong memories of what it was like being a child growing up during and immediately after the Second World War. It was her story as well. An excellent book. I found it difficult to read because these children were the same age as I was during the war.
I couldn't help think of how I led a carefree life, with sufficient food, clothing, and an intact family and was completely oblivious to what was going on in Germany. I could only read one chapter a day. I think this book should be required reading for teens studying European History. Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase. This was not a story book but a recollecting of individual stories and memories - this book should be required reading for the current generations - what this children saw, experienced and lived through was horrendous - yet they not only thrived they excelled, prospered and became amazing members of society - they did not cower or blame they took what life gave them and learned from it.
I really wish there were more interviews with the children of this time. The book helped me know what happened to my East German family after the war.