I’m on a bit of a war kick lately as my past few trips to the library have brought me past numerous WWII books.
Happened to pick up Erhard Raus’ Panzer Operations, which is basically the wartime diary of Raus, a German general on the Eastern front. It’s mostly tactics and strategy: straightforward history of the war.
The most astonishing thing about it, to me, is the almost complete lack of any emotion, regret, or sorrow for all the death and devastation of war. I’ve never come across this in any Canadian, American, or British war journal.
Raus’ book encompasses the deaths of perhaps 2 million German servicemen, and probably 5-6 million Soviet fighters. But we don’t ever hear him expressing any regret for this waste and pain and misery.
That’s probably due to the fact that he wrote the journal at the instigation of the US Army while in detention as a P.O.W. after the war – the US wanted to know and understand German armoured tactics. But it also reflects on his ethos, his values.
Death, it seems, is just part of duty, and not to be much remarked at. Cold – but if you need to plan a war against numerically superior opposition, this is probably a good place to start.
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