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Soldat: Reflections of a German Soldier, 1936-1949 (Dell War)
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Soldat: Reflections of a German Soldier, 1936-1949 (Dell War)

4.07  ·  Rating details ·  1,357 Ratings  ·  61 Reviews
A German soldier during World War II offers an inside look at the Nazi war machine, using his wartime diaries to describe how a ruthless psychopath motivated an entire generation of ordinary Germans to carry out his monstrous schemes.
Mass Market Paperback, 430 pages
Published September 1993 by Dell Publishing Co. (first published January 1st 1992)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
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Victor
Mar 14, 2016 rated it really liked it
The book is a memoir of Siegfried Knappe, who ended the war as a Major and was taken captive by the Russians. In many respects his war experience is a typical journey of a career Wehrmacht officer who went through the ranks under the Nazis. The memoir is going back and forth in time, which I found distracting. Knappe wrote diaries and took photographs, so his recall is very good, and I think he'd be better served to keep the memoir in chronological order.

For me the most interesting part of the b
...more
Jason Koivu
Feb 22, 2012 rated it really liked it
A memoir of a German during WWII. Siegfried Knappe started as an exuberant youth, having done well in school and with all the promise of the world opening before him. Then the war came. He excelled as a soldier, though placed in an outdated, pre-mechanized unit, and soon rose through the ranks, seeing action on nearly all fronts. His story rises and falls along with his country. He was there at pivotal moments. He was in the thick of it. He was the fly on the wall. He was the every man in a Germ ...more
carl  theaker
Jun 01, 2010 rated it really liked it
Shelves: ww2


A good read, this fellow really got around. I particularly
found interesting the machinations of the different HQ groups
at the end of the war to get posted to units in the west,
thus getting to surrender to the Americans or British.

That didn't work out for Knappe as he served his prison time
in Russia after the war, which I also found fascinating, what
do you do for 7 years and how the Soviets would sweat you
when your time for release came near.
Grumpus
Jul 11, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: history, audiobook
What an interesting story of a German soldier's experience. I love these personal accounts and to learn of his good fortune to survive the war over so many battles is inspiring. Truly, God was watching over this man.
Jeff Dawson
Oct 22, 2011 rated it really liked it
Most of the book I have read from individual soldiers were of the lower or the actual Generals themselves. Patton, Monty, Eisenhower, Guederian, Rommel etc. This work is completely different. Siegfried Knappe give us a look into the actual duties and rigors of being on the command staff. We all take for granted the actual work that goes into drawing up and implementing the orders from the high commands no matter which army it is.

The book starts with the end only weeks away as the German Army do
...more
Ryan
Feb 13, 2014 rated it really liked it
I've previously read accounts written by German soldiers who fought in WWII, but this was one of the more interesting and personal ones. As reconstructed from his diary and interviews, we learn that Siegfried Knappe was an unusually capable and dedicated soldier who managed to rise through the ranks, starting as a humble private in the pre-war years, and ending up as a general staff officer who was present at Hitler's bunker before the end. Along the way, he experienced different aspects of Germ ...more
S.
Jul 19, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: hookah
I think this is book is considered fairly legendary in some circles, being 'the WW2 infantry' memoir. Knappe, who retained all his photographs and diaries even through multiple battles and prison camps, entered the German forces as a private or 'soldat', but to some degree the title is disingenuous as he was already a gymnasium graduate and tracked into special under-officer (sergeant) training, and he was well-off enough to be an expert skier, which later, through the pure chance of war/promoti ...more
Mark
Nov 29, 2016 rated it liked it
In my youth I read hundreds of books about WWII, and although I have seen other accounts by enemy combatants, this is one of the most comprehensive that I have read.
Siegfried Knappe chronicles his years in the Wehrmacht from his joining as a naive teenager, through his time as a prisoner of the Soviet Union.
As a junior artillery officer, Mr. Knappe witnessed firsthand some of the momentous events of the war; the annexation of Czechoslovakia, the invasion of France, the push through Russia towa
...more
Steven
May 19, 2009 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Even if you're not a fan of military history
This was a great read for a man who never before read a book on military history. The former German Army Captain who served Hitler briefly in a bunker in Berlin writes an excellent tale of his early years, Hitler's rise to power, and the author's growing discomfort with the ways and leadership of the Nazi party and the German people.

One of the most interesting things comes at the very end: Knappe's fear of being caught by the Russians. When everyone knew they were about to be captured, they all
...more
Tim Yearneau
Jul 29, 2015 rated it it was amazing
I bought this book online spontaneously because it looked kind of interesting and I needed something to read. Well, after reading it I can only say it is fantastic. I love the fact he is a German Soldier giving his own personal insights as a member of the German military. But what made it so fantastic is that he stuck to his own authentic viewpoint and insights and didn't try to give the company line. His personal feelings and emotions are what made it for me. He didn't hold back. If I didn't kn ...more
Paula Dembeck
May 10, 2013 rated it it was amazing
This German soldier fought, was wounded and survived battles in nearly every major Wehrmacht campaign. His career began with Hitler’s rise to power and ended with a five year term in a Russian prison camp.

This is a good personal combat history of WW2 based on the wartime diaries and photos he smuggled out to the West at the end of the war.
It allows the reader to gain insight into how a psychopath like Hitler motivated a generation of ordinary Germans to carry out his ugly plans. It is also a les
...more
Linda
Dec 20, 2014 rated it liked it
I listened to this as an audio book, narrated by John Wray. The reader killed this one for me. While the narrative was interesting, well organized, and reasonably well written, Wray's pronunciation was neither American, British, nor German. A book told through the eyes of a young German soldier might logically be read by someone with a German accent, as was The Book Thief. But this guy butchered German words to the point of making standards unrecognizable. I was a third of the way through the bo ...more
Peter

The day to day life of a German Military officer during W.W II. Well worth a read, if only to redress the balance a little and break the standard black and white, good v evil interpretation mythology.
The guy seems to covers the whole of Europe, mostly on foot, from the original invasion of France, through Barbarossa to the Fall of Berlin followed by captivity in a Soviet Gulag.
An intelligent voice, a family man, a humane and thinking career soldier.
Chris
Nov 11, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book being reflections of a young German World War II officer, it gives a fantastic inside look at the way the German artillery was handled in WWII, the thoughts of an "ordinary" officer, and the struggle that these men faced under Russian captivity after the war. I wouldn't normally expect to call a man who was wounded multiple times and served five years in Russian captivity lucky. In this case, while considering the fate of many of those around him, Knappe certainly was quite lucky.
Sam Motes
Jan 23, 2014 rated it it was amazing
The utter patriotism of the soldier fighting for his country and his brothers in arms without the knowledge of the atrocities his government was committing makes for a very important read. The propaganda that kept the soldiers fighting to the bloody end shows the power of the media. This is a powerful read that goes along way to explain why millions of people followed Hitler.
Timothy Boyd
Jan 15, 2016 rated it really liked it
Very good bio and history book. Lots of insight into the daily personal life of a German soldier during then war. Very recommended
Jarrod
Aug 27, 2013 rated it really liked it
An excellent book about the happenings of WWII from a German Soldier's perspective.
Sean
Jul 24, 2007 rated it really liked it
How did anyone live through this?
David
Jul 09, 2014 rated it really liked it
A fascinating view of WWII, through the eyes of a common Wehrmacht officer.
Cerisaye
Not as enjoyable as Hans von Luck's quite similar Panzer Commander, which I recommend heartily if you haven't read it, because Siegfried Knappe simply isn't such good company and lacks von Luck's verve and brio. Another account of the Nazi years and Second World War from the perspective of a professional army officer (horse drawn artillery) whose gradual disillusionment with Hitler and his regime mirrors declining military success.

Knappe served in Poland, France and on the Russian front, and wa
...more
LindaJ^
In this memoir, a former major in the German army during WWII remembers his life in the pre-war days through his release post-war from a Russian prisoner-of-war camp.

Knappe appears to be from an upper middle class German family. Knappe does not tell his story chronologically, but rather deals with the end and then looks back at the pre-war and war years while he is transported to Russia. From a chronological view, his memoir starts with a recollection of a skiing trip with 3 good friends after g
...more
Paul
Aug 07, 2017 rated it really liked it
I've read a lot on WW2 over the years, but little from the German perspective. The author was a Major in the artillery. He fought in the France, Italy and on the Russian front. Short story: he saw a lot of action.

The book is well written and reader friendly. A background in WW2 history is not required but of course, it helps.

Highly recommended.
Paul
Jun 06, 2017 rated it really liked it
Should be titled: recollections of a German soldier. A very good and illuminating book but at no point are we privy to any reflections by the main character.
Sebastian
Jan 03, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Excellent account from the losing side of WWII. It gives great insight of what being on the German front was like. It helps humanize what is often viewed as an enemy not worthy of empathy.
Craig
Feb 25, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: war-military
Soldat, written by German artilleryman Siegfried Knappe, recounts his years as a German soldier (1936-1945) during WWII and as a Russian prisoner of war (1945-1949). In many ways it is a WWII version of Erich Remarque's "All Quiet on the Western Front", a classic which depicted WWI trench warfare from a German soldier's point of view. I found Soldat much better written and more expansive than "All Quiet". A narrow view of warfare is that all soldiers fighting for the enemy are evil. If Knappe wa ...more
Lori
Feb 03, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Feel bad giving a 5* review to this book because he was in fact a German Soldier. Siegfried Knappe was not a Nazi. There actually was a Big Difference between the German Military and the Politicized Nazi & SS. They all worked for the same monster; the regular military were not allowed to vote, politics were not supposed to be their motivation. According to Knappe they fought for Germany not the ideology of National Socialism . Knappes had Jewish friend growing up who he and his other friends ...more
An Le
Dec 15, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: history
Siegfried Knappe was a German soldier and this book is the memoir that chronicles his pre-war civilian life, combat and post-war POW experiences. I found this book to be powerful in its description of one man's experience of war. Knappe can be seen as a dispassionate soldier who tried his best to do his duty in every circumstance. He provides no justifications for the Nazi party and is not passionate in his criticism of Hitler and the Third Reich. Simply stated, this book is a emotional account ...more
Joe Hewitt
Jan 29, 2014 rated it really liked it
This book puts a human face on the German soldier who fought for Hitler's Nazi Germany in World War II. The reader can see from the inside what the Germans believed and acted upon. Knappe was an exceptional soldier, rising to the rank of Major in the General Staff before he was 30. He spoke five languages, and was exceptionally intelligent, yet he was taken in by Nazi propaganda and felt justified in invading France and Czechoslovakia in order to right what Germany considered the wrongs of the t ...more
Dhiraj Sharma
Feb 12, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Winners write history. This was never more true than in case of W-II wherein all the literature you can find in bookshops and libraries is generally written by English or American authors.
This book is an exception since it is written by a German Artillery officer who fought in France, Italy and Russia and finally made it back to his wife and kids after spending 5 years in the Russian Prison camps.
The battle situations are honestly described and give you a clear cut idea how wars are fought and h
...more
Michael Hołda (Holda)
Great, amazing, interesting wonderful and rich life story of German who lived through War. Book starts on the ending of Second World War when he is Major in Wehrmacht (not a Nazi, but a soldier) and then goes to times before war, when he was just youngster who decided to study on military academy after Service work.

His alive story trough Poland, France, Russia…kept me in the past. Then after the War he went to Russian Prison camp as many other Germans. When in War Camp he has read many books &a
...more
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