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Hitler's Wehrmacht, 1935-1945$
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Rolf-Dieter Müller

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780813167381

Published to Kentucky Scholarship Online: January 2017

DOI: 10.5810/kentucky/9780813167381.001.0001

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Training and Front Experience

Training and Front Experience

(p.91) 3 Training and Front Experience
Hitler's Wehrmacht, 1935-1945

Rolf-Dieter Müller

, Janice W. Ancker
University Press of Kentucky

Here the author delineates the training path for soldiers and officers, beginning with compulsory participation in Hitler Youth and the Reich Labor Service and rigorous skills training, followed by military academy and troop experience for officers. Frequent home leave was designed to maintain important ties with the home front. According to Müller, this training system produced skilled soldiers and officers who were still individuals capable of reasoning, and it was among the greatest strengths of the German army. Training deteriorated, however, with the growing need for fresh recruits; personal initiative declined with the Wehrmacht’s demand for strict obedience. A soldier’s front experience varied greatly, depending on the enemy, the theater of war, the climate, and the soldier’s role in the fight. It grew more difficult with growing shortages, losses, and defeats. Even with excellent training and supplies, many were unprepared for the horror and psychological stress of the front experience.

Keywords:   Wehrmacht, Hitler Youth, military training

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