The committed Wehrmacht soldier fights on

For a short time the mud froze and there was only light snow enabling the Wehrmacht to get moving again.

The letters of Karl Fuchs, written to his family as he fought his way across Russia during Operation Barbarossa, reveal the thoughts and feelings of someone committed to the Nazi cause. He was probably typical of many men of his generation brought up in the Nazi state.

He continued to believe in the cause even as the German losses mounted and he began to see his friends fall around him. On the 4th November he wrote to his father who was also fighting in the East:

Our last battle of encirclement against the enemy up here and your experiences in Kiev will never be forgotten. We have never before struck the enemy with such crushing defeats. I guess the Russians never dreamed that we would engage in this kind of an offensive prior to winter.

I’m convinced that the last cohesive forces of the enemy have been decimated and once again our Fuhrer has proven to the world that the German soldier can do incredible tasks.

In the quiet evening hours we often think of those comrades who have given their lives for our sacred German cause. You’re right, Father, we will never forget them — especially not my best friend, Lieutenant Preussner, with whom I had shared so much joy and sorrow for over two years. The cool earth covers him now but he lives on in me just as your friend Eckstein lives on in you.

I’m struck by the similarities and repetitions that take place in our respective lives. I assume that you: will be home much sooner than I.

Please greet my son for me and make sure that everything is all right. In the meantime, we stand guard.

Let me shake your hand and Sieg Heil!

Your loyal son, Karl

See Your Loyal & Loving Son: Letters of Tank Gunner Karl Fuchs, 1937-41

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