Corporal Hitler and the Great War 1914-1918: The List Regiment

By John F. Williams | Go to book overview

2

1913-14:

THE CURATIVE POWER OF WAR

War the only medicine for our people.

- Heinrich Class 1

Might is at once the supreme right.

- General Friedrich von Bernhardi 2

Hitler had been living in Munich for some 14 months when news of the 28 June 1914 assassinations in Sarajevo appeared. At first, he was 'seized with worry that the bullets may have been shot from the pistols of German students'. When he discovered the assassins were Serbs, 'a light shudder began to run through me… The greatest friend of the Slavs had fallen beneath the bullets of Slavic fanatics.' There is no way of telling whether Hitler imagined a localized or more general European conflagration might result, but as a pan-German and confirmed believer in the paranoiac worldview that Germany was ringed by hostile and jealous enemies, he must have welcomed the latter prospect. A few weeks after these assassinations, the first anti-Serb, pro-Austrian demonstration exploded in Munich. On Saturday, 25 July, the landlord of the Café Fahrig was unwise enough to seek to dampen the noise by banning the playing of patriotic songs. For his troubles, he saw his establishment smashed up by drunken students, some of whom would soon be swelling the ranks of the List Regiment. More prudently, the patron of the Conzert-Café Fürstenhof decided not to disturb the revellers but found it impossible to clear the café of noisy, drunken demonstrators until late on the Sunday morning. Since the tenor of street and other demonstrations was solidarity with Austria, it is unlikely that Hitler, given his hatred of the Habsburg state, would have been involved. When news of Germany's declaration of war against Russia was announced on 1 August 1914, however, he immediately became animated. This was now a German war for Germany's future. Next morning he joined in the singing of Deutschland über Alles amidst the throng that had assembled in Munich's Odeonsplatz. 3

-17-

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Corporal Hitler and the Great War 1914-1918: The List Regiment
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents v
  • Introduction 1
  • 1 - A University of the Trenches 4
  • 2 - 1913-14: 17
  • 3 - Cannon Fodder 34
  • 4 - West Flanders 1914 50
  • 5 - Winter 1914-15 73
  • 6 - Neuve Chapelle 1915 86
  • 7 - Fromelles 1915 98
  • 8 - Nursery Tales of 1915 114
  • 9 - Hugo Gutmann and the Good Soldier Mend 128
  • 10 - Fromelles 1916 136
  • 11 - Hell on the Somme 147
  • 12 - Declining Fortune 161
  • 13 - 1918 178
  • Epilogue: 198
  • Notes 211
  • Selected Bibliography 226
  • Index 233
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