Cultural Touchstone Essay

1857 words - 8 pages

Hitler’s generals strongly disagreed with his policies even to the point of attempting an assassination. Multiple times Hitler’s officer tried to stop him from wreaking havoc on the German way of life. Their repeated warnings went unheard, resulting in Germany’s downfall. The German war effort was vastly influenced by the Anti-Nazi tendencies of Hitler’s senior officers.
The two staunchest opponents of Nazism were generals Ludwig Beck and Freihers Werner von Fritsch. Hitler was forced to keep these men on staff for multiple reasons. The Army already felt estranged by Hitler and removing Fritch and Beck could have further damaged that relationship. He also realized that the duo were some of the greatest generals Germany had to offer militarily. Furthermore, the German government that he had endorsed had chosen these men. With Beck as Chief of the General Staff of the Army, and Fritch as Commander-in-Chief Hitler knew he would experience difficulties with them (Barnett 19).
General Fritsch had virtually no personality. He was nearly impossible to relate to on a personal level. He chose not to spend much time on the social scene. Barnett writes, “ In a letter of 4 September 1938 he wrote: ‘When you write further that I am often difficult to understand, you are doubtless correct. From my earliest days, I have never spoken with anyone about myself. I simply cannot do it, and if anyone tries to penetrate me in this direction, he only achieves the reverse’” (21).
General von Fritsch was not appointed by Hitler. Hitler favored General von Reichenau because he was sympathetic to Hitler politically. Fritsch was chosen by Field Marshal von Hindenburg for his military prowess. Fritsch was one of the most superb officers of his time. He graduated from the Kriegs Akademie with some of the highest grades in the history of the Akademie. His character was an enigma; his devotion was to his country and not his own personal gain (Barnett 20,21). Fritsch also chose to immerse himself in military matters rather than deal with political matters. Barnett states, “ In 1937 he wrote: ‘I have made it my guiding rule to limit myself to the military field alone, and to keep myself apart from any political activity. I lack everything necessary for politics. Furthermore, I am convinced that the less I speak in public, the more speedily can I fulfil my military task’” (24).
Hitler appeared to be afraid of Fritsch. When Fritsch was around, Hitler felt as if he could not speak freely. According to Barnett, “ Hitler once described Fritch as ‘ the incorruptible Englishman.’ Fritsch’s outlook on Hitler is summed up in his oft repeated words: ‘ Hitler is Germany’s fate for good and for bad.’” Because of this view of Hitler, Fritsch was constantly critical about the SS, the Party, and prominent Nazi leaders including Hitler. As an example, when Germany was celebrating Hitler’s birthday one year, he remarked that it was nothing to celebrate (25). Eventually, after many failures,...

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