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Were There Non-Nazi German Soldiers in WWII?

By Brendan McGuigan
Updated May 23, 2024
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There were certainly non-Nazi German soldiers in World War II (WWII), although many members of the German armed forces were ideologically supportive of or even affiliated with Nazism and Hitler. From one perspective, however, because members of the German armed forces weren’t allowed to affiliate with a political party, one could say all German soldiers in WWII were non-Nazis. The Nazi political party, however, had its own armed soldiers in the Waffen-SS and these soldiers therefore were Nazi soldiers.

The term Nazi is used to denote members of the National Socialist party, the political party Hitler rode to power and that eventually became the dominant political party in Germany during the war. The term, however, is often generalized to refer to all German combatants in WWII, as a way of differentiating that era of soldier from other German soldiers. By noting the fact that many soldiers in WWII were not Nazis, some people believe it seems to impugn all Germans at the time, some of whom were not directly supporting Hitler or the policies of Nazism.

The armed forces in Germany, consisting largely of non-Nazi German soldiers, was called the Wehrmacht. It was made up of three main branches: the navy (Kriegsmarine), the air force (Luftwaffe), and the army (Heer). Later, a fourth branch, the Waffen-SS, fell under its general jurisdiction, although it was also under the Schutzstaffel, or SS, which was controlled by the Nazi political party. Following World War I, strong limits were set on Germany’s military, the Reichswehr, restricting the amount of members it could have, and the equipment they could use. By the 1920s, Germany had begun to circumvent these restrictions covertly, growing their military strength and acquiring new equipment.

When Hitler took power in 1934, he began to grow the military even more. He reinstituted conscription, and began the work of building Germany’s military might dramatically. One way he did this was to create a new military body, the Wehrmacht, which would eventually become a mighty force. Many view the Wehrmacht as a Nazi group because it was created by Hitler and because members had to take an oath of loyalty to the Führer.

Though many link the Wehrmacht to Nazism, it can also be viewed as being made up exclusively of non-Nazi German soldiers in WWII, as the rules of the Weimar Republic’s constitution disallowed soldiers from holding political affiliations or voting. In fact, many members of the Wehrmacht in later years were staunchly opposed to Hitler and the Nazi policies, especially after Hitler began displaying dangerous tendencies towards throwing away strategic intelligence in favor of an emotionally driven hostility.

If the Wehrmacht can be looked at as consisting largely of non-Nazi German soldiers, then we have to look elsewhere to find the majority of Nazi soldiers. That’s where the Schutzstaffel, or SS, becomes important. The SS was a paramilitary organization that grew to the scope of a full blown army under Hitler’s leadership, and consisted entirely of Nazi party members. It was the SS that was responsible for the majority of the worst atrocities committed, while the non-Nazi German soldiers in WWII were primarily fighting on the different fronts of the war against foreign militaries.

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Discussion Comments
By anon996800 — On Oct 14, 2016

This is an interesting read and many good comments, but I have to say too, that not every German was a Nazi. Those who weren't tried to help, left or killed themselves, while others just opted to survive.

I know many soldiers became hardened and did despicable things. But that was not every soldier. And from what I understand, many in the ranks were drafted as young teens -- who were fed nothing but propaganda since they were young boys (and girls were also subjected to that too). But unless they killed themselves (as my uncle did), they had to fight or be killed or imprisoned.

By anon992226 — On Aug 23, 2015

"It was the SS that was responsible for the majority of the worst atrocities committed, while the non-Nazi German soldiers in WWII were primarily fighting on the different fronts of the war against foreign militaries."

Very suggestive text dismissing barbarian and intentional killings of civilians (children, women, and elderly) by Wehrmacht soldiers or even worse by minimizing them it presents them as kind of warm-ups for German solders to face later the ally armed forces. Let's check the English war archives with records from camps for none-Nazi German POW's and hear loudly clearly how much fun they had, feeling the power by killing left and right the innocent citizens of conquered lands. Just listen to them.

By anon952091 — On May 19, 2014

Every single German soldier had a choice whether to serve or not. They could have chosen to die instead of support a genocidal, insane and just plain evil government. If they chose to support the Nazi government in any way even by handing a Nazi a cup of water, they are a Nazi and should have been summarily executed.

These "soldiers" could have left Germany, surrendered immediately to the allies, allied with the allies and fought Hitler, committed suicide, simply refused to fight, or just about anything except supporting the Nazis.

There is no excuse of any kind that can justify serving the German government in any capacity during World War II. if you so much as replaced street lights in a German town, you were a Nazi and deserved death if your paycheck came from that government. End of discussion.

By anon946461 — On Apr 19, 2014

Only German citizens were recruited into the Wehrmacht. All soldiers forcibly recruited outside of Germany as their various countries were occupied were recruited into SS units. They could hardly be called Nazis.

By anon932357 — On Feb 12, 2014

The labeling of German soldiers as Nazi or non-Nazi is a distinction without a difference. German soldiers, Nazi party members or not, conquered Poland (and the rest of Europe), enabling the SS and Gestapo to commit unspeakable genocide and crimes against humanity. German soldiers' service furthered Hitler's agenda, and they are not absolved of moral culpability because they did not join a political organization. To a man, they had a moral obligation to oppose the Nazis, which very few did.

By anon343606 — On Jul 31, 2013

I have read everything that has been posted on this thread. The one thing that bothered me was the mention of the Allied Army committing war crimes. Yes, I agree that more than likely happened. However, to group them into a category with what the Russian Army did prior to and after the fall of Berlin and the Reich, there is no comparison. From all the history I have studied, and the numerous World War II vets in all branches of the services I have had the delight to have been able to speak with, this is not the case.

I believe the vast majority of the war crimes that took place were after the German Army had already massacred Allied servicemen, with blatant disregard for the Geneva Convention, or the rules of war regarding prisoners of war. That most of the time the Allied forces had to deal with this was either after concentration camps were discovered, or when mass exterminations of unarmed captured soldiers were executed. These were either out of spite by the Germans, or the fact that by the summer months of 1944, even prior to the invasion of Normandy. The Vermacht and the Air Force and quite a few of the leading military establishment, knew the war was not only a lost cause, but likely to come in the first few months of 1945.

When the Russians surrounded Berlin and the two main army groups took the city, almost half, and likely more took part in an orgy of rape, murder and general campaigns of mass mayhem designed to inflict humility upon the citizens as well as the armed forces.

By GingerToth — On Jan 03, 2013

@Post 25: You don't have any clue about world history. You blame Germany for World War I and say that Germany (and Austria and Hungary) were treated right by the victors of World War I.

Actually, the "peace dictate" contract of Versailles stated that Germany was to blame alone for World War I. This is a stupid lie, and the victors knew that. The main author of this "peace dictate" was the French prime minister. The U. S. Congress didn't ratify the contract.

Large settlements of millions of Germans in many areas in Central and East Europe were not allowed to remain with Germany or Austria, but were annexed by Poland and Czechoslovakia, beside Alsace-Lorraine and two German settlements by Belgium and Italy.

World War I was not Germany's fault. That is completely clear, so that contract based on a lie.

World War I started because the Serbian government secretly supported a terrorist group in Austrian-ruled Bosnia to assassinate the Austrian heir to the throne, Archduke Francis Ferdinand. The Austro-Hungarian monarch Francis Joseph had found this out by the secret service and so the Austrio-Hungarian war against Serbia started. Serbia was backed by Russia and her allies, France and Britain, while Austria-Hungary was supported by the German Empire.

The German Emperor William II tried to convince his Austrian colleague not to go to war against Serbia. In any case, the war was not started by Germany. It was started by Austria-Hungary because of its secret support of the Serbian government of the assassination against her heir to the throne. How would the British government react today if they knew that Prince Charles would have been murdered by a terrorist group by a certain government? Wouldn't it attack this state as well? Emperor Francis Joseph of Austria is just to blame that he didn't calculate that war against Serbia meant also war against Russia, France and Britain.

@Post 14: And those who say that Nazi anti-Semitism was just a repetition of the German middle age: There's absolutely no difference in German history regarding the treatment of Jews in the rest of Europe. England was very anti-Semitic in the middle age. Just look it up. Even today, anti-Semitism is at a record high in the U.K., and Poland is famous for her anti-Semitism.

Even after 1945, there was an anti-Jewish pogrom in Poland. Jews were persecuted in Russia and were persecuted by Popes in the Pope's own dominion in Italy (for example, by Pius V). And then all the Jews were expelled from Spain. Concerning Germany, there was a special tie. A very large group of Jews spoke Yiddish until 1945 (more than 10 million), a language based on a German dialect using Hebrew words. Millions of Jews were proud Germans, and many of the Germans in Western and Eastern Europe were Jews. Even now, many Jews have German names, and many of them even spoke German until the age of the world wars.

During World War I, many German-Jewish U. S. citizens didn't support Great Britain and France, but their original home countries Germany and Austria-Hungary. The Austro-Hungarian Monarch Francis Joseph is still appreciated by many Jews who emigrated from Austria-Hungary to America or to Israel, and Francis Joseph was also appreciated by the Jewish citizens under his monarchy.

And about war crimes of the German Army: There were officers who rejected Hitler's orders to eliminate all Jews, like the famous Erwin Rommel, and Hitler didn't punish him. Later when he was discovered to have known about the plot against Hitler, he was forced by Hitler to commit suicide in order to protect his family. In Nazi Germany, family members were punished as well and put into concentration camps. So you risked not only your own life, but the lives of all your family members to be tortured in a concentration camp.

And then, don't forget that all the Allies committed war crimes, not only the Red Army, but also Britain and the U. S. Churchill basically bombed German civil settlements, even at the end of the war, while the U. S. Army was mainly interested in the German industry, which is legitimate. But they never destroyed the railways which connected the concentration camps.

After they occupied Germany, 12 million ethnic Germans were expelled from the old East Germany (which is now settled by Poles) and from Central and Eastern Europe, based on an Allies' agreement. And certain commanders prohibited food distribution by charity organizations, which caused an unknown number of German citizens starve and die, like they did in Eisenhower's Rhine Meadow Camp to German POWs.

It's just not true that only the German Wehrmacht committed war crimes, just for the reason that many German soldiers were not Nazis. Churchill was a racist who tried to eradicate the German people. And it was Churchill who had praised Hitler several times, because he wished to get a man like Hitler for England, if ever England would find herself in a situation like Germany after 1918.

I just wanted also to remember, because I mentioned war crimes like in the Rhine-Meadow Camp, that the German people got a lot of material help by U. S. citizens after the war by donations and "care parcels", which will never be forgotten by the German people. There has always been a great admiration of the United States by the Germans, and they even appreciate England very much.

By anon303622 — On Nov 15, 2012

Look, not all Germans were Nazis back then. My mom grew up during that time. Remember, there was no media like we have today. The people in the small villages did not know what was going on.

When many figured out bad things were happening to their Jewish friends, they tried to help - like my grandmother did. But they were being watched; they were being killed for resisting or helping. You just can't say that all Germans were Nazis; it's not true.

By anon284174 — On Aug 08, 2012

@anon208388: "I­ don't understand why the Germans don't start­ suing newspapers and media sites..." A man named Ernest Zundel tried and failed. Research him, it's an interesting story. Too much to list here.

By anon282667 — On Jul 31, 2012

Just read Omer Bartov "Hitler's Army" and you'll understand that the numerous war crimes committed by the Wehrmacht did not demand any NSDAP party membership.

By anon279716 — On Jul 13, 2012

I have read a lot about this and I believe that of course, it's a fact that the German soldier was drafted and not a party member, so you could not call him a "Nazi". But of course, as a patriotic German, you are part of a group of soldiers and as you saw Germany rise and become influential, you would be proud. As Germany won the first battles and looked like they were going to win the war, I'm sure most soldiers supported Hitler. I would bet most soldiers thought he was a genius and that Germany was just superior. O.K., so they were not Nazis in the sense that they were party members and running around yelling “Heil Hitler” everywhere, but they supported the Fuhrer.

Then, when the war started to go badly -- very badly – they probably questioned Hitler more, but still fought because it was Germany now they had to fight for. The same goes for most of the population. At first, Hitler was a genius, then later, well maybe he's not so good but still we have to fight for our country. Even late in the war, most people still supported Hitler. Of course, the common soldier didn't have access to information about what was really happening to the Jews on a large scale, but it is also true that many soldiers in the Wehrmacht committed atrocities. They did things like rounding up villagers and killing them.

I read an interesting book about the mindset of the soldiers who did some of the killings and it is a fact that some of them did protest. Some of them got sick of what they were doing and said enough. (I'm talking about the einsatzgruppen early in the Russian war.)

By anon277460 — On Jun 30, 2012

First of all, as historic fact, only 32 percent of the German voters voted in 1932 for Hitler. So the clear conclusion is that two-thirds of the Germans were against Hitler and his Nazi party.

In 1935, Hitler introduced compulsory service for every young German man, and before, every boy had to join the Hitler youth and the SA. Already in 1933 the first tens of thousands of opponents were in concentration camps and police and security services were almighty.

Refusing military service usually was punished by capital punishment. About 50,000 German soldiers were executed and some hundreds of thousands had to serve in so called probation BNS, often without arms, with the lowest rank and an extremely high risk to their lives.

During World War II, after the first year, only every 15th soldier was a professional' the rest were drafted civilians who had to leave their jobs and families.

To get somebody into a concentration camp, even a suspicion or denunciation was enough. The secret police did not need real reasons.A bad remark about Hitler and his system could bring people into such a camp or have even a beheading as consequence.

By anon276509 — On Jun 24, 2012

A country's media propaganda has always helped a country instill patriotism in its troops no matter what the cause. The victors write the history.

By anon262744 — On Apr 20, 2012

I see a lot of black and white posts here, so if anyone cares to hear the opinion of someone whose family was in the resistance, here it is:

1) To blame Hitler's rise to power and popularity on the "west's repression of Germany following World War I" is a profoundly disturbing argument that clearly shows the mentality of many people in Germany, back then as well as today: to blame things they do on others.

Of course, the situation of Germany after World War I contributed to Hitler's success, but it can't be blamed on others, just as I cannot go and kill someone and then blame someone else who treats me harshly for it.

2) Of course not all Germans, or even all soldiers, were Nazis. To say so is an injustice, so please be fair. Surely there must have been soldiers who did not share Hitler's ideologies but did not have the courage to get shot for refusing to be a soldier. What would matter is what they did with their power as a soldier and their gun, whether they killed or not and so on.

This does not change the fact that only a minority of the population resisted the Nazis, including my family, who was betrayed by others just for speaking up against Hitler's sick ideas and for hiding their Jewish partners. There was a woman who warned my grandfather that the Gestapo was going to come for him in the morning, but then there were also people who betrayed members of my family by reporting them to the Gestapo and plotting to have them arrested without that a gun was held to their head.

3) I read comments here about someone complaining of racism in the UK and how much better Germany is and I find that shocking.

Having lived around the world, I can safely say that, while there is racism everywhere, I have never experienced and witnessed it as much as in Germany. The racism here is very hidden and indirect, but it's there. I have lived in the UK and many other countries and foreigners are very well integrated into the society there because they are not treated differently for not being "german". That's a fact. And the foreigners there feel British, while most foreigners in Germany do not feel German at all because they have always been treated differently and unfairly at school and at work, and then people in Germany have the nerve to blame them for not trying harder to be part of the society. Those who do it are either in denial, racist or blind, like most of the people back then.

By willyman — On Mar 11, 2012

After Count von Stauffenberg's attempt on Hitler's life failed and it was discovered that thousands of German officers were in on the plot, a blood bath followed that was unparalleled in German history. Please read up on what happened to these brave soldiers. They were hanged, strangled, shot, tortured, and simply eradicated. How can anybody claim that they were Nazis? How can anybody claim that all German soldiers were Nazis? Anybody who makes this kind of claim is either or ignorant of the facts or just plain biased and prejudiced.

By anon253867 — On Mar 11, 2012

Thousands of German officers were brutally murdered by Hitler after they plotted to kill him on July 20, 1944. Knowing this, how can any sane person claim that all German soldiers were "Nazis"? This characterization of the German soldiers is reflective of a total lack of knowledge of German history during World War II and of a clear anti-German bias.

Before shooting off their mouths, they should make an attempt to read some objective literature about this period and try to forget about their prejudices.

By anon251663 — On Mar 02, 2012

@anon73048: That's just not true. Have you ever met a German person born after 1945? I'm pretty sure you haven't. I can honestly say I have experienced less racism and fascist ideology in Germany than in most other European countries today. Of course it still exists, just as it does in pretty much every single country in the world.

I am so happy this article has been written. As a German person living in the UK, I've had to deal with so much crap, trying to explain to ignorant people that my parents, my grandparents and I are and were never Nazis.

By anon243653 — On Jan 28, 2012

My Dad was a pilot in the German Luftwaffe and he was definitely not a Nazi.

When my mom was a teenager, she wanted to join the German "girl scouts," which was used by the Nazis to mold young people into good German Nazis. My grandfather did not allow her to go. He knew what they were doing and did not want her to join this group. My mom wanted to join because all her friends were in that group.

It did not take long until my grandfather got visits from local Nazis, asking him why his daughter did not join the group. He still refused, but they came back and whenever they came back, they threatened my grandfather more and more. After the third visit, my grandfather knew that his life and the life of his family was not safe anymore, so he allowed her to go. My Mom became a surgery nurse and worked in the war zone. She hated the war and the Nazis but was smart enough not to say anything. My Dad was a soldier, not because he wanted to be, but there was a draft!

He had to quit college and serve his country. Just think about the Iraq war. How many soldiers were against this war but it did not matter -- they had to serve!

Many tried to bring Hitler down within the ranks, but everybody was spying on everybody. You could not trust anybody. Nazis are signed members in the NSDAP!

If you were a signed member your life was much easier at that time.

Where the acts of Nazis atrocious? Yes, of course they were unspeakable, unforgivable! But not every German was a Nazi. And if people think that this can only happen in Germany, then they did not learn anything and our world is still not safe.

By anon233736 — On Dec 08, 2011

I worked with man who came of age during World War II in Nazi Germany. It's amazing what you can learn from actually talking to someone who lived it.

By anon208388 — On Aug 22, 2011

1940 Germany population: 72,000,000. Maximum number­ of paid up members of the NSDAP: 38,000. Therefore­, 0.0005 percent of the population were paid up Nazis! I­ don't understand why the Germans don't start­ suing newspapers and media sites for racism when their­ recent family is described as Nazis just because they­ were alive during World War II.

It's like newspapers­ describing the Iraq War as a Blairite Invasion or The­ Labourites' Iraq War, just because the Labour Party was­ in power at the time. The Iraq War was the fault of all­ those paid up members of the Labour Party, and history­ will describe us all as Labourites, evidently.

By anon194208 — On Jul 07, 2011

When it comes to war there will always be soldiers who are against it. If you read the story of World War II, you can see that Hitler gained power in Germany by force. He was a good speaker and managed to persuade german soldiers to join the forces. Although he insisted all men had to join and therefore a lot of german soldiers were forced to join the Reicht army or else there would be consequences.

It is calculated that bout two-thirds of the entire german army didn't want to fight and that they weren't Nazis and didn't hate the Jews, etc.

By anon188518 — On Jun 21, 2011

I believe that not every German soldier was the same, but Nazi ideology was prevalent. At first Hitler was not taken seriously, then the Nazi party took over Germany. They believed they had to free the world from jews and communists. It's very sad.

God knows what they were thinking and maybe not all of them were like that, but they committed all these crimes. Many Russians and other Europeans and Jews lost their family members. Never again.

By anon187020 — On Jun 16, 2011

To anon: Your comments are both comprehensive and most interesting. I would like to differ with you on one point; regarding what you wrote that "the Germans had no option but to revolt" following their treatment in World War I.

If you'll excuse my saying so, they had every choice to behave differently. They knowingly and lovingly embraced Hitler and all he stood for. The Germans were knowing and willing participants in the destruction of the Jews.

And I have news for you: they still love and idealize Hitler... Not everyone, of course. There are always fearless, decent individuals willing to sacrifice their very lives for doing the right thing, for resisting evil.

Finally I would say, read up on German history going back to the Middle Ages. You will see that World War II is just a repetition of German history.

The Holocaust was not the first time Jews were burned alive in Germany. I wonder if it will be the last.

By anon162733 — On Mar 24, 2011

@anon106843: What? Where in the hell did you get your information? 'Nazis-R-Us'? German-Jewish soldiers

in World War I certainly didn't only serve in "non-combatant office positions" as you claim. You can tell that to my grandfather and his two brothers who served in both the army and the navy, both decorated for their front-line service. One of his brothers lost an arm, and still continued to serve in his unit in the trenches, even though he'd received what was called a "million-mark-wound" allowing him to be discharged from the service. His other brother served in the high-seas fleet at the Battle of Jutland, and would later lose hie life protecting his ship in the naval riots in 1918.

So don't give me any of this malarkey about how Jews only served "in the office" in World War I, because it shows to the world that you're speaking out of the wrong end. Hitler's persecution of the Jews and other minority groups such as the Romany were part of his rise to power. They were part of his rise to power, because of their small numbers, and they would have the smallest voice to oppose him. And many other reasons far too numerous for me to mention here. So in the future do some research. I mean, after all, you're already on the internet.

By anon136265 — On Dec 22, 2010

The thrust of this question misses the point. German soldiers were indoctrinated with Nazi ideology by various organizations, the Nazi party itself being only one of them. Volume 9/1 of the German history of the war (Das Deutsche Reich und der Zweite Weltkrieg) addresses this on pages 686 - 690. A random sample of the personnel of an army infantry division revealed the following membership percentages: Nazi party (1.4%), Hitler Youth (18.9%), SA (13.7%), Reichsarbeitdienst (RAD) (20.8%). Thus, while comparatively few soldiers were actual Nazi party members, many of them had been in organizations established by the Nazis and which had a mission of indoctrinating Germany's youth with Nazi ideology. For example, p. 688 of the above mentioned reference states "It (the RAD) functioned as a 'new type of schooling for German youth' in which national socialist thinking would be taught".

By anon135486 — On Dec 19, 2010

It is worth noting that by the time World War II started, many young Germans coming into the Wehrmacht had already been part of the Hitler Youth and / or the Reichsarbeitdienst (RAD). Both of these organizations steeped their members in Nazi party ideology. Thus, regardless of actual party affiliation, young Germans entering the armed forces by 1939 were indoctrinated with Nazi ideas and goals.

By anon135485 — On Dec 19, 2010

"because members of the German armed forces weren’t allowed to affiliate with a political party" -- where did this come from? Of course members of the German armed forces were also members of the Nazi party. Not all of them, but the Luftwaffe in particular was known as a service with a high percentage of party members.

By anon109533 — On Sep 08, 2010

Well, first the resistance of Wehrmacht soldiers, Luftwaffe airmen and Kriegsmarine sailors is well documented. While I will not go into the specifics, I will leave that to you and your librarians, I will say the key to this answer is in how the NSDAP came to power. It did not occur overnight, to say the least. And, it is important to realize that when fascist right-wing oppression occurs, it is driven by fear and once that apparatus has control of the state many mandated acts, such as loyalty oaths, conscription, and forced labor occur. Just think how hard it is in our, USA, system to resist the state.

Now imagine you could be dragged off and killed for resistance. Many Germans suffered from the Nazis and many resisted in uniform. Don't forget the first victims of the Nazis were leftist Germans, union tradesmen, socialists and christians who did not swear to the German Church, a creation to oppose the criticism from the pulpit in both catholic and protestant German churches.

I suggest reading "In Hitler's Germany: Everyday life in the Third Reich" by Bernt Engelmann for those that want to know more. He was Luftwaffe and a major resistance figure.

By anon106843 — On Aug 27, 2010

Of course there were non nazi german soldiers.

Just like there were non republican soldiers in the Bush wars.

As far as taking a loyalty oath, so do American soldiers. Forget not, the president is the Commander in Chief. And you "will follow orders". Otherwise you face punishable consequences.

Let's face it, the Nazis only came to power because of the west's repression of germany following World War I. They had little choice other than revolt. You back someone in a corner and they have two choices: give up or fight back.

One also seems to dismiss the fact that communism was a growing faction during this period which Hitler hated.

The idea of communism was written by Karl Marx,

who happened to be jewish. Another reason Hitler despised jews besides his experience in World War I where they were non combatant but held all the office positions. And post World War I, they attempted to overtake government control via communism in a large majority of Europe. This is not to be anti-semitic. It's just the victors always write the history books and they down play their rolls in creating the mess in the first place.

Repression and punishment is a two-edged sword. --gd

By anon97583 — On Jul 20, 2010

"How could there possibly have been non-nazis in the German defense forces?"

Hitler (NSDAP)didn't even win the election alone and had a coalition to begin with. They then eliminated the other parties, rather quickly.

Saying that every German was a Nazi, is like saying every American took part in the Vietnam war is guilty for My Lai or for committing genocide to the native American.

SS troops or officers were also executed in many instances immediately by the allies, so that's not exactly a mark in the allies' favor either.

Now this is not saying, that Germans did not commit war crimes; they sure did. But not every soldier believed in the Nazi ideology.

By anon87088 — On May 28, 2010

Actually in the eastern war zones, the German Army willingly took part in atrocities on a large scale. Saying that the SS and civilian German police units did it all is a myth.

The Wehrmacht was a willing and active participant in Hitler's genocidal war. Ironically, it is in Germany that this reality has been accepted and written about and it is non-German Westerners who continue to propagate the myth of a non-Nazi Wehrmacht of 'just soldiers doing their job'.

By anon82955 — On May 08, 2010

Of course they were not all nazis. some of them were forced to fight under the threat of the murder of their families. Talk to a german about their past. not all of them agree with their past, and some of them are even ashamed about what happened. There was even one officer who intended to kill Hitler: Von Stufenberg.

By anon73048 — On Mar 25, 2010

How could there possibly have been non-nazis in the German defense forces?

Nazi is just a name given to German culture during the era of the NSDAP.

All Germans shared the same culture and ideology long before the period 1933-1945, which made the atrocities committed during that period possible. they still share this culture and ideology today.

By anon43980 — On Sep 03, 2009

This page should be required in every History teachers class being taught not only in the United States but world wide.

Historical Index, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.

Historical Index, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.