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42 of 45 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The Wehrmacht, 30 Dec. 2009
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This review is from: The Wehrmacht [DVD] (DVD)
I purchased this DVD series expecting a history of the development and battlefield preformance of the various branches of the WWII German Army, infantry, airborne, armour etc....., . That was most emphatically not what I got; but what I did get was in many ways more interesting and thought provoking.

From the middle of 1943, all German Generals/senior Staff officers captured in the West, were imprisoned in the luxurious surroundings of Trent Park country house, near London. This 'guilded cage' held a dark secret however; the entire building was electronically bugged, with every spoken word being constantly recorded by British Intelligence Officers, with a view to procuring evidence for the looming war trials.

Almost seventy years later, this historical 'treasure trove' of obviously unguarded conversions between Germany's senior military leaders on the politics, personalities, strategy and tactics of WWII, have been used by Guido Knopp and his team to produce the most fasinating insight into the mental/psychological effects of sustained battlefield combat(ending in defeat), that I have ever seen.

This three DVD 270min programme is made in five parts, listed below:-

1.Attack on Europe.
2.The Turning Point.
3.The Crimes.
4.Resistance.
5.To the Bitter End.

The only problem I have with this documentary is the very obviously slanted editing. The basic premise of all the programmes are that the German Officer Corps should have firstly resisted Hitler's assumption of power and pre-war programme of military expansion, and following the outbreak of war; should have acted in such a fashion that 'the war would have ended sooner'. IE... withdrawn their men from combat wherever possible, encouraged them to surrender in order to prevent needless loss of life, and even shown the 'personal courage' to assassinate Hitler; with the re-inacted conversations being overwhelmingly used to illustrate this viewpoint.

Even with hindsight, I feel that this attitude is unrealistic. Similar programmes on British, American or Soviet military leadership would not even suggest Churchill/Stalin's assassination by their own officers as an acceptable end to the war! and I feel that some editing input from an American Vietnam veteran would have added balance to the series. It would also have made clear that Hitler's WWII German Army was/is not the only Western fighting force with the deep conviction that "surrender is not in our creed!".

That said, all those with a serious interest in 20'th Century history will benefit from the highly informed revelations made in this series.The Wehrmacht [DVD]
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