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I Flew for the Fuhrer Paperback – 19 Jan 2012

4.7 out of 5 stars 20 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 188 pages
  • Publisher: Frontline Books (19 Jan. 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1848326483
  • ISBN-13: 978-1848326484
  • Product Dimensions: 13.7 x 1.8 x 21.1 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (20 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 638,952 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

About the Author

Richard Overy is Professor in History at the University of Exeter.


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Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars
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I came to this book via Richard Overy’s ‘The Bombing War’ (see separate review) as it was referenced as a record of the defeat of the Luftwaffe Fighter Forces by the USAAF P38s; P47s and P51s from late 1943.
Knoke joined the Luftwaffe just prior to the outbreak of war having spent his formative years during the Nazi era prior to the war. Knoke describes his flight training in detail and it is obvious that, even with the numerous accidents that did occur, the Luftwaffe training regime of the 1938-40 period provided this intake of pilots a much better chance of survival than the late war training was able to – with much reduced hours and hundreds of Allied fighters waiting to pounce. For the most part, the book describes Knoke’s operational flying from early sweeps over the Channel in late 1940 to early 1941 then operation Barbarossa to the defence of the Reich which takes up the majority of the story. Knoke was credited with 33 kills – mostly US bombers.
I did not find Knoke to be a sympathetic character, knowing that in the early post war years his politics remained sympathetic to Nazi policies despite protestations within the book that the Nazi Leaders had ‘betrayed the German people’ - a commonly used excuse for complicity of many German soldiers after the war. Knoke describes the invasion of Poland as a liberation of the German minority from wanton massacres – whilst it is possible that he believed this at the time it should not have been repeated in 1953 when the book was written even if the book was based on Knoke’s diaries. Similarly the invasion of the USSR is represented as a defensive battle to protect Western Civilisation from Bolshevism and visceral hatred of the Russian troops shines through.
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An excellent book.
Despite being on the other side it is impossible not to respect this man.
Not all Germans were Nazis, this one was, but it is still hard not to respect what he did for his country.
A fascinating but ultimately tragic story.
See also Norbert Hanning and Heinz Rudel's stories which make similar points.
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I worked and lived in West Germany for 11 years serving in the British Army. I lived with a German family for the first 2 years and they made me and my wife so welcome we became part of their family. After all Germans and English are but the same we are all Anglo Saxons. Brilliant book I was so impressed I finished it in three days.
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A real persons account , visceral ,dangerous taking the Luftwaffe idea of "fly till you die' against all the odds. Surviving what was it 4-5 bale outs. If you can look past the tripe about Russia about to invade Germany and other Nazi rubbish.
It must have been a fearsome sight to see this pilot fly straight ahead firing head on .
It doesn't sanitise the arial combat of WW II as is so much the case, and as memories and survivors go its healthy to see the story of the other side.
Das Boot was the same.
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A most interesting and unbiased account of Luftwaffe life in the air and on the ground and demonstrating the close similarities with those of the RAF, leaving us to ponder why politicians failed to prevent it happening. But I guess we still have a lot to learn!
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A well documented history of the air war as viewed by a very experienced fighter pilot defending his
homeland from American and British heavy bombing. His staunch support of the Nazi Party never
wavered to the end.
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I had the first edition of this book many years ago and missed it. It is less Luftwaffe political and more combat specific than First and Last and gives a good view of how the Nazi propaganda machine had hoodwinked the German nation. It really shows how the bombing campaign knocked the stuffing out of the Luftwaffe fighter arm. It touches real life at the time.
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Great to see things from the German side. The respect and admiration for the Royal Air Force and the British fighting spirit is interesting I would recommend this and Adolf gallands book plus hans rudel for those who wish to view air fighting from the team perspective.
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