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Wehrmacht, not Nazi


old man emu
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I'm sick and tired of hearing the military forces of Germany in WWII being called "Nazi". 

 

While the governing political party of Germany during that war was the Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei , abbreviated to NSDAP, the three branches of the military formed the Wehrmacht (“defence power”). The three primary branches of the Wehrmacht were the Heer (army), Luftwaffe (air force), and Kriegsmarine (navy). We often hear of the Luftwaffe and Kreigsmarine, but Heer is rarely used in English documentary narration. 

 

Nazi, the informal and originally derogatory term for a party member, abbreviates the party's name (Nationalsozialist). The term was in use before the rise of the party as a colloquial and derogatory word for a backward peasant, an awkward and clumsy person. It derived from Ignaz, a shortened version of Ignatius, which was a common name in the Nazis' home region of Bavaria. Opponents seized on this to attach a dismissive nickname to the National Socialists.

 

 When the party assumed power in the German government, the usage of "Nazi" diminished in Germany, although Austrian anti-Nazis continued to use the term, and the use of "Nazi Germany" and "Nazi regime" was popularised by anti-Nazis and German exiles abroad. Thereafter, the term spread into other languages.  In English, the term is not considered slang and has such derivatives as Nazism and denazification.

 

So, to call the German military of this period "Nazi Forces" is wrong. If the same nomenclature was applied to Allied military, would we be calling the British forces the "Conservative Forces", the Aussies "Labor Forces", the Yanks "Democratic Forces"? After all, those are the names of the political parties in government at the time.

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It is just another term that has morphed from a derogatory colloquial insult into a accepted sweeping term for virtually all Getmans of the war years

And in spite of the truth of your explanation, it is just another example of the plasticity of language. Like most, I had not given the matter much thought except that I vaguely didn't like to paint all Getman folk with the nazi brush which seems to imply that all Germans are still faschist extremists.

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1 hour ago, nomadpete said:

I vaguely didn't like to paint all German folk with the nazi brush which seems to imply that all Germans are still fascist extremists.

When it came to power in 1933, the Nazi Party had over 2 million members. In 1939, the membership total rose to 5.3 million with 81% being male and 19% being female. It continued to attract many more and by 1945 the party reached its peak of 8 million with 63% being male and 37% being female (about 10% of the German population of 80 million), hardly universal membership.

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56 minutes ago, old man emu said:

 

When it came to power in 1933, the Nazi Party had over 2 million members. In 1939, the membership total rose to 5.3 million with 81% being male and 19% being female. It continued to attract many more and by 1945 the party reached its peak of 8 million with 63% being male and 37% being female (about 10% of the German population of 80 million), hardly universal membership.

10% of the population? I presume only party members get a vote, so that makes China’s current party membership of about 13% look slightly more democratic. 

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17 minutes ago, spacesailor said:

But by Your numbers. Most soldiers, sailors and airmen, Were, party members !.

No, Spacey. About 10% of the whole population were members of the Party. That is pretty high compared to Australia today, where all up, less than 0.5% of the population is now signed up to the mainstream political parties. So for the average German in 1940, their political activity was about as active as yours and mine.

 

Since the 1960s, card-carrying membership of political parties in Australia has plunged from the heyday of the post-war years, as has trade union membership, regular church attendance and participation in groups such as Rotary and Lions clubs. As of September, the Australian Labor party had 60,085 members across the country, says the national secretary, Paul Erickson. The Liberal party is a little more cagey. Its national director, Andrew Hirst, puts the membership at between 50,000 to 60,000, while their junior coalition partner, the Nationals is smaller still. A recent report in the Sydney Morning Herald put the Nationals membership in New South Wales, the most populous state, at just 5,802, down a third from nearly 8,000 a decade ago. That’s a far cry from the 197,000 members that Menzies recruited to the Liberal party of the 1950s.

 

2 hours ago, Old Koreelah said:

I presume only party members get a vote

No. Every eligible German had the right to vote, however, from the election of November 1933, there was only one Party to vote for. I'm not sure if more than one candidate contested each seat. Probably not. The candidates were probably selected in the back rooms of the local Party office. Where's that happened since?

 

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The National Socialist Party was simply a group of ruthless criminals and thugs with several arms of the Party that enforced their thuggishness.

Once Hitler secured power, he and his underlings established a totalitarian state where the police, security arms and the SS ensured that any dissent towards the NSP was effectively neutered - even if it meant murdering dissenters.

Hitler was aided by the poor economic circumstances within Germany during the 1920's, and the Great Depression simply brought the economic problems to the fore.

 

Hitler spent money like a drunken sailor on re-armament, military improvements, autobahns and buildings, that made him look like a saviour to the Germans, who benefited from the jobs and wealth.

But Hitler had no intention of repaying the borrowed monies, and reneged on all repayments during his time in power - because he believed it was the Jews and Jewish bankers who were the cause of the worlds (and Germanys) economic problems.

Added to that was the crushing financial penalties the Allies demanded from Germany at the cessation of WW1 - a debt equivalent to 100,000 tonnes of gold.

 

The simple fact remains that the American Govt and industry was the main problem behind the worlds economic problems. The Americans gained enormous wealth from WW1 at the expense of the European nations (and Britain). Their self-serving actions led to the Great Depression and WW2.

 

https://encyclopedia.ushmm.org/content/en/article/the-great-depression

 

Interestingly, Germany did eventually pay off its WW1 debt - in 2010.

 

https://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-11442892

 

Edited by onetrack
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Unsurprisingly, there was a large contingent of NSP supporters in America - officially 25,000 of them, with direct German ancestry and ties - but probably tacitly supported by a much larger number of Americans, who also had German ancestry which was not quite as recent.

Even today, the percentage of Americans with German ancestry is sizeable, and many American surnames reflect that ancestry.

 

The German-American Bund (Federation) was quite vocal about America not entering the European conflict, and this view was supported by many Americans who didn't want the U.S. Govt to spend their taxpayers money on another War.

But many military and political leaders of the U.S. knew full well that war with Hitler was inevitable, and military spending in the U.S. was ramped up on a major scale from around 1938, increasing again in 1939, 1940 and 1941. 

 

The German-American Bund organisation was finally investigated in 1939, and found to have support by, and ties to, the NSP.

Shortly after, the leader of the organisation was jailed for embezzling funds from the organisation, and several other leaders in the group were interned as dangerous aliens - and the organisation was finally outlawed, shortly after America entered WW2 in Dec 1941.

 

https://encyclopedia.ushmm.org/content/en/article/german-american-bund?series=9

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3 hours ago, willedoo said:

It hasn't gone away. Photo is of Ukraine today. And no, it's not the breakaway rebels; it's the side we support.

 

 

3.JPG

Lots of Ukrainians joined the Nazi war machine; many did Hitler’s dirty work in the Final Solution.

Although that was generations ago, this history is often used when the Russians want to whip up anti- Ukraine hysteria

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2 hours ago, Old Koreelah said:

Lots of Ukrainians joined the Nazi war machine; many did Hitler’s dirty work in the Final Solution.

Although that was generations ago, this history is often used when the Russians want to whip up anti- Ukraine hysteria

Unfortunately it's no longer historical. There have been estimates that Ukraine has more neo Nazis than any other country in Europe. Post coup, they even have a public holiday and street parade on the birthday of Stepan Bandera, the WW2 Nazi collaborator. The majority of Ukrainians are good, decent people but unfortunately the way it goes with these things, Right Sector is the squeaky wheel that gets the oil. It's one of the reasons why they don't get the total support they seek from the West. Ukrainian army regulars are ok, it's the oligarch's militias that are the problem.

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