German army security units in Russia, 1941-1943: a case study

Shepherd, Ben (2000). German army security units in Russia, 1941-1943: a case study. University of Birmingham. Ph.D.

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This thesis focuses on the motivation and conduct of units of the German Army of the East, the Ostheer, in the partisan war in central Russia from 1941 to 1943.
The ruthlessness of the Ostheer’s anti-partisan campaign was driven not just by military necessity but also by National Socialist concepts of ideological warfare, by the German Army’s institutional phobia of guerrillas and by cold economic calculation. A pluralistic “history from below” approach of the kind employed here, however, can analyse motivation and conduct not just in terms of these general influences but also in terms of the particular circumstances in which units operated and the individual perceptions of their officers. The thesis contributes to this emerging Une of research by being the first longitudinal case study of an Ostheer antipartisan unit.
The longitudinal approach deepens analysis by utilising extensive history-from-below sources to examine changing causes and patterns of behaviour within the same unit over the entire 1941-3 period. It enables the thesis to show different shades of behaviour, ranging from massive brutality to constructive engagement of both the civilian population and potential partisan deserters. It also allows deeper explanation of the varying interactions of complex and diverse influences which shaped that behaviour.

Type of Work: Thesis (Doctorates > Ph.D.)
Award Type: Doctorates > Ph.D.
Licence: All rights reserved
College/Faculty: Faculties (to 1997) > Faculty of Commerce and Social Sciences
School or Department: Institute for German Studies
Funders: None/not applicable
Subjects: D History General and Old World > DD Germany


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