Omar Bartov’s ground breaking book Hitler’s Army did a great deal to demolish the myth that the regular German army, the Wehrmacht, did not participate in atrocities during World War II. Before his work, there was the widespread idea both in academia and Germany, that the regular armydid not participate in the expulsion or destruction of the Jews, the abuse of civilians or POWs, or in any way deviate from “the rules of war.”
Bartov uses primary documents, first-hand accounts, and Soviet and Allied reports to chronicle the widespread abuses of the German army, particularly in the Soviet Union. There, an all-out war against Russians and Jews was committed by German troops indoctrinated in the Nazi taxonomy of Slavs as untermenschen, sub-humans. As such, they could be mistreated to a far greater extent than the other enemies of the Reich.
Hitler’s Army is a key piece in the puzzle of understanding the Third Reich, both the internal mechanisms of its ideology, and how it was carried out on such a large and horrifying scale.