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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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Current State of Research

Current State of Research

(p.1) Introduction Current State of Research
Hitler's Wehrmacht, 1935-1945

Rolf-Dieter Müller

, Janice W. Ancker
University Press of Kentucky

Müller’s introduction offers an overview of scholarly research on Hitler’s Wehrmacht since the end of the Second World War. As Müller points out, the scholarly study of the Wehrmacht has undergone a reevaluation. Historians of the 1950s and 1960s treated the Wehrmacht as the embodiment of the continuity of the German national state and as a valid institution that had been “ensnared” in National Socialism. Thus, the Wehrmacht was not viewed as an unlawful institution and was admired and respected for its successes. In the German Democratic Republic, the Bundeswehr of the Federal Republic was propagandized as an extension of the Wehrmacht and an instrument of expansionism. Later decades brought more objective, critical research efforts that exposed the Wehrmacht’s role in the unlawful waging of war and the great complex of Nazi crimes. Historians now approach the issue as a break in continuity. Newer research methods increasingly draw on oral histories, wartime letters, biographies, journals, and military records and other primary sources that are publicly available through such institutions as the Bundesarchiv or the German Service Office. Müller’s introduction also points to such underresearched areas as the eastern front, front experiences, and training. He offers a useful guide to the wealth of reliable resources and references on the subject of the Second World War and the role of Hitler’s Wehrmacht.

Keywords:   Wehrmacht, Second World War, German military history, continuity

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