Military Art In The Third Reich: Part 1

German military art WW2 Will Tschech
Grenadiere 1943. Will Tschech
As you know, Hitler in his youth used  to make a living by drawing the sights of Vienna. Even during the First World War, as a corporal of the 16th Bavarian Reserve Regiment, in between fights, he painted landscapes in Flanders. When this former street artist and retired corporal was appointed chancellor of Germany,  there were internationally renowned artists in the country - the avant-garde and Expressionism. Such as Wassily Kandinsky and Paul Klee. The work of such artists was declared "degenerate art", and their pictures were taken out of the exhibition halls, and the artists themselves had to flee Germany. In Nazi Germany there was only one direction of painting - realism. 

Before the war, German artists diligently painted rural landscapes, German workers and peasants, naked Germans. Pornography in the Third Reich was banned, but there was an easy sensuality in classical painting style. 

With the start of the war, German painters, of course, began to paint battle scenes.  - because one of the first salvos of the new World War were volleys 280-mm guns.The German ship Schleswig-Holstein fired the first shots of World War II when she fired at the Polish base at Westerplatte in the early morning hours of 1 September 1939..  Submarines too were painted - the initial period of the war, German U-boats beat all records of the tonnage of ships sunk - 420 thousand tonnes in the first four months of the war, and 14,119,413 tons in the whole war! 

In one of the pictures we see a ship of the line " Bismarck "- a symbol of the German Kriegsmarine.  50,000 900 tons full displacement, 8 guns caliber 380 mm. To his credit - the British battle cruiser "Hood" (46 480 tons full displacement, 8 guns caliber 381 mm - the enemy of equal "weight category"). On May 27, 1941 "Bismarck" was destroyed in an unequal battle with the British fleet during the attempts to break into the vast Atlantic. 

In the  later paintings other combat arms - infantry, tanks, aircraft, artillery were fully represented. 

Of course, German artists painted just soldiers, and war. Mass executions, burning of villages, and other "exploits", which became a pretext for carrying out numerous trials after the war, was not a source of inspiration for German artists.

Most of the artists whose works are shown below, are long and well forgotten.

German military art ww2 Claus Bergen
German U-Boat. 1941. Painting by Claus Bergen

stalingrad painting bush
Stalingrad. 1943. Painting by K. Bush

claus bergen U boat ww2
U-Boat returning from a trip. Painting by Claus Bergen von Feindfahrt Zurück
Submarine U-003. Claus Bergen

waffen ss 1943 painting  will Tschech
Waffen SS 1943. Will Tschech

Kameraden, 1940. Will Tschech
Engineers in Assault Boat May 10, 1940 by Mathias Padua. (Click here to see in large size)

A Messerschmitt 110 covers German storm troopers
Battle Britain German painting
German planes over England
The big German transport plane,"Focke-Wulf-200"
stuka dive bombers painting
The Stuka Dive Bombers  (JU 87) attack

German motorised infantry. Hans Liska

Victory in an air battle


Share this PostPin ThisShare on TumblrShare on Google PlusEmail This

Popular Articles On This Site

Quotes about war....

"War grows out of the desire of the individual to gain advantage at the expense of his fellow man."
--Napoleon Hill

"We have failed to grasp the fact that mankind is becoming a single unit, and that for a unit to fight against itself is suicide."
--Havelock Ellis

'Politics is war without bloodshed while war is politics with bloodshed."
--Mao Tse-Tung (1893 - 1976)

"I'm fed up to the ears with old men dreaming up wars for young men to die in."
--George McGovern

"The death of one man is a tragedy. The death of millions is a statistic."
--Joseph Stalin

It is forbidden to kill; therefore all murderers are punished unless they kill in large numbers and to the sound of trumpets.
--Voltaire, War

In war, truth is the first casualty.
-- Aeschylus

"The ability and inclination to use physical strength is no indication of bravery or tenacity to life. The greatest cowards are often the greatest bullies. Nothing is cheaper and more common than physical bravery."
--Clarence Darrow, Resist Not Evil

"The victor will never be asked if he told the truth."
--Adolf Hitler

"To walk through the ruined cities of Germany is to feel an actual doubt about the continuity of civilization."
--George Orwell

"Patriots always talk of dying for their country and never of killing for their country."
--Bertrand Russell

Men are at war with each other because each man is at war with himself.
--Francis Meehan

Snippets From History

German Soldiers in Russia: Part 1

Hubert Menzel was a major in the General Operations Department of the OKH (the Oberkommando des Heers, the German Army headquarters), and for him the idea of invading the Soviet Union in 1941 had the smack of cold, clear logic to it: 'We knew that in two years' time, that is by the end of 1942, beginning of 1943, the English would be ready, the Americans would be ready, the Russians would be ready too, and then we would have to deal with all three of them at the same time.... We had to try to remove the greatest threat from the East.... At the time it seemed possible.'

Battle for Berlin, 1945

'We started to fire at the masses,' says one former German machine gunner. 'They weren't human beings for us. It was a wall of attacking beasts who were trying to kill us. You yourself were no longer human.'


Berlin after it fell to the Russians, 1945

"Vladlen Anchishkin, a Soviet battery commander on the 1st Ukrainian Front, sums up the horror of the whole event, when he tells how he took personal revenge on German soldiers: 'I can admit it now, I was in such a state, I was in such a frenzy. I said, 'Bring them here for an interrogation' and I had a knife, and I cut him. I cut a lot of them. I thought, 'You wanted to kill me, now it's your turn.'
Read More


Dramatic Pictures: Battle For Stalingrad
"...Effective command no longer possible... further defense senseless. Collapse inevitable. Army requests immediate permission to surrender in order to save lives of remaining troops."
General Paulus' radio message to Hitler on January 24, 1943

"...Capitulation is impossible. The 6th Army will do its historic duty at Stalingrad until the last man, the last bullet..."

Hitler's response to General Friedrich Paulus' request to withdraw from the city


Points To Ponder....

The fall of France was shocking. It reduced France to virtually a non-player in the Second World War. The efforts of Charles de Gualle were more symbolic than material. But the martial instincts of the French must never be doubted. Under Napoleon they were a formidable military power. The French definitely have more iron in their blood then say, the Italians [I do not mean it in a derogatory sense. War never makes sense]


Bias Of Western Historians

Soviet resistance made possible a successful Allied invasion of France, and ensured the final Allied victory over Germany.

It can hardly be called mere 'resistance'! If it hadn't been for the Russians, Hitler would have made mincemeat of British forces in Africa and landed on British shores in no time. Hitler attacked Russia first because it had more land and resources than Britain. It is as simple as that.

Eastern Front: Bias Of Western Historians