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JonathanEstrada
Humanities10:Honors
Augustine/Ambrose
1June2016
AlteredPsychologies:WorldWarIISoldiersandCitizens
Justiceisanotionthatsavestheinnocentandrighteous.Yet,corruptioncandrivepeople
unknowinglyintothedepthsoffutiledebateandconflict.Onlyonesidecanbetaken,andmore
oftenthannot,controversieswillariseregardingthemoralethicsofwarfare.Whichinthiscase,
peoplemustfighttoservejustice.AsWorldWarIIevolvedintoaworldscalebattle,people
neededfigurestolookupto,andforeverycountry,thoseweretheirmilitaryforces.Moreover,
inthosemilitaries,whatreallydeterminesvictoryordefeatisthepsychologyandmotivationof
thesoldiers.Themanybranchesofthemilitaryineverycountry,especiallytheairforces,
affectedtheoutcomeofWorldWarIIindistinctways,buttheattitudescomingfromthe
soldiers,leaders,andthecivilianstheyaffectedwereevenmorediverse.
InthethroesofWorldWarII,oneofthemostimportantthingstogetaholdofwasair
superiority.Beingoneofthemostprominentandnewestformsofcombat,planesintheskywas
aliteralmetaphorforrainingdeath.Tounderstandtheimportanceofhowcontroloftheskies
contributedtoAlliedvictory,itiscrucialtoreferencetheBattleofBritain.Britainsvictoryin
thisconflict,startingin1940,wasdeliveredbytheFighterCommand,whichconsistedofsmall
fighteraircraft(Talarico).However,seniormilitarypersonnelconveyedandwroteaboutthe
importanceofthebomber:Wecannotresistinvasionbyfighteraircraftalone.Anairstriking
forceisnecessarynotonlytomeettheseaborneexpedition,butalsotobringdirectpressureto


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bearuponGermanybyattackingobjectivesinthatcountry(Talarico).Becausethe
implementationofbombersassistedGermanygreatlyinmajoroffensives,theBritishwere
inclinedtousebombersincounteroffensives.Ultimately,theskybattleoverEuropewasatest
ofendurancebetweentheLuftwaffeandtheRoyalAirForce.
Nearingtheendofthewar,around1945,theGermanmilitarywassplitbetweenthose
whowereextravagantlyloyalandthosewhowereexcessivelydiscouraged.Addressingthe
GermansundyingfaithinHitler,itwasapparentthattherewasnopossibilityofchangingtheir
loyaltiesaslongasHitlerwasalive.GerhardL.Weinberg,aprofessorwhoexperienced
firsthandthetragediesofWorldWarII,statesthatTheappearanceoftheV1andV2andthe
firstjetfightersseemedtogivesomevaliditytothesehopes,althoughinrealitytheymadevery
littledifference.(Weinberg).TheseweaponsthatHitlercalledmiracleswerejustfigures,
havingnoeffectonthewarexcepttoboostmorale.Furthermore,aftertheGermanslostthe
Ardennesoffensive,nicknamedtheBattleoftheBulge,manysoldierslosthopehowever,most
remainedloyaltoHitleruntiltheAlliesfullyoccupiedGermany(Weinberg).
Regardingthosewhowereutterlydemoralized,itisimportanttorecognizetheGerman
Luftwaffe.Itwasquiteobvioustobothpilotsandgeneralsthattheirorganizationwasdismantled
andmisguided.HermannGoering,thecommanderoftheLuftwaffe,hadpushedhisarmytoofar,
causinghimtobeanineffectiveleader.Ultimately,thestructureoftheLuftwaffewasagrand
reflectionofitscommander,HermannGring.Hestrovemoresothananyotherbranchtocreate
apersonalarmywithresponsibilitiesasfarreachingaspossible(Pipes).Eventually,this
overexertiononhisownbranchismostlikelywhatcausedtheLuftwaffetocommitmultiple
mutinies.Addingontothepandemonium,theLuftwaffecouldnotbeindependentinmaking


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decisions.Asanexample,inhisnovel
NoLessThanVictory
,JeffShaaramentionsthroughthe
wordsofGermanpilotsthattheyhadbeenpassionateabouttheadvantagesofusingthejetsto
attackAlliedbombers,sincetheirspeedwouldobliteratetheadvantagesenjoyedbythe
Americanfighterescorts.ButHitlertossedthatideaawaycompletely(Shaara366).In
essence,itwasHitlersowndecisionmakingthatcosttheGermansthewar.
AdamMakoswritesatruestoryaboutFranzStigler,aWorldWarIIGermanpilot
veteran,whodescribeshowleadersoftheLuftwaffeunderHermannGoeringfelt:Weare
convincedthatwecanputastoptothisdevastationfromtheairandsavethelivesofinnocent
peopleWemustexaminetherealityofoursituation.Hitlerneedstogo,weallknowthat,but
Goeringmustgofirst(Makos272).IntheGermanAirForce,noteveryonewasbrutally
ruthless.Infact,afteritwasobviousthattheywerelosingthewar,manypilotsdidnotfightfor
thegloryofhonor,butsimplyforthesakeoftheirlivesandpersonalhonor.Soldiersandpilots
weretornbetweenwhichsidetochoose:TheydidnotwanttoserveGermanyundertheNazis,
andtheydidnotwanttodishonortheirfamiliesbyjoiningtheAllies.TheaforementionedFranz
StiglerrepresentsmostoftheGermanLuftwaffeneartheendofthewar,statingthathehad
neverwantedtofightforGermany,letaloneanothernation(Makos338).Honorwasthe
Germanslifestyle,evenifHitlerneverleadthewar.
Togetabetterholdofhowmotivationandsoldierbehaviorscaninfluencetheoutcome
ofwar,itwouldbebeneficialtocomparedifferentnationsmilitariestooneanother.InWorld
WarII,thereweremanylargemilitaryoperations,twoofthembeingtheSovietsandthe
Germans.WhiletheSovietsoldiersweremotivatedinitiallybythefearofdeathfromtheirown
comradesbullets,thepresenceoftheHeroVassiliZaitsevlatermotivatedthemtofightfortheir


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motherland(Dhillon).And,ofcourse,themajorityofGermansstruggledtoregaintheirhonor
lostfromtheTreatyofVersailles.Fromageneralperspective,whethertheyhavedifferentideals
ornot,thesesoldiersarestillfightingfortheirlives.However,anindividualsjudgmentofvalue
betweenhonor,life,andmorality,candeterminetheseverityorradicalityoftheiractions.
IntheAxisPowers,itwasevidentthatmostnationsvaluedhonorifnotpower.Infact,
theattitudesthatsoldiershadtowardstheirnationhadanimpactonwhattheydidatapointof
surrender.Take,forexample,JapansmilitaryinthePacifictheater.AccordingtoProfessor
SonkeNeitzel,theJapaneseweretheleastlikelytosurrender,mostlybecausetheJapanese
attitudewasoneofdeepshametohavebeencaptured,ashamewhichBritishandAmerican
intelligenceexploited(Evans).Whenexploitingthisextremevalueofhonor,theAlliedPowers
threatenedtotelltheJapansoldiersfamilyiftheydidnotdivulgevaluableinformation,inwhich
theyofferedtodoanythingaslongastheAlliesdidnottelltheirfamily(Evans).Delicate
philosophiessuchastheseareobviousinstancesofhowtheattitudeofasoldiercanseverely
affecttheresultofawar.
DuringtheBattleofBritain,theattitudesofLondonscitizenswasastonishing.Asthe
LuftwaffecontinuedtoshellLondon,thecitizensbegantodevelopakindofpsychologythat
allowedthemtoadapttothebombingsasiftheywereanaturaloccurrence.Accordingtoashort
propagandafilmcreatedduringthewaritself,thenarrator,QuentinReynolds,statesthatA
bombhasitslimitations:Itcanonlydestroybuildingsandkillpeople.Itcannotkilltheyoung
conquerablespiritandcourageofthepeopleofLondon.Londoncantakeit(Alter).Tothe
dismayoftheGermans,theirattacksdidnotaccomplishthetaskofdemoralizingBritainonthe
contrary,itonlyboostedthecitizensmorale,leadingtobeliefsthattheywereinvincible.Ina


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convolutedway,ifthebombshadnotfallen,Britainmaynothavegainedaconfidenceorasense
ofinvincibility.
AsthecitizensofLondongrewimmunetotheairraids,theirconfidenceonlybeganto
growevenfurther.TheBritishnarratorQuentinReynoldscontinuestostatethatIhavewatched
themstandbytheirhomes,Ihaveseenthemmadehomeless,Ihaveseenthemmovetonew
homes,andIcanassureyounopanic,nofear,nodespairinLondontown.Thereisnothingbut
determination,confidence,andhighcourageamongthepeopleofhighChurchillsisland
(Alter).Thisconfidencewasbolsteredbythecitizensoverallmoralcompass,whichwasinturn
supportedbytheirextremelyeffectiveleader,WinstonChurchill.Accordingtoaspeechgiven
byChurchill,hestatesthatWehavenotenteredthiswarforprofitorexpansion,butonlyfor
honourandtodoourdutyindefendingtheright(Churchill).Thisprincipleofbeliefisclearly
discordantwithNaziGermany,whichismostlikelyafactorthatmotivatedbothBritains
soldiersandcivilians.
TheGermancitizenshadrigidandobstinateattitudesthroughoutmostofthewar,
thinkingthatonlyHitler,theirFuhrer,couldsavethem.AccordingtoacharacterinShaaras
novel,Nomatterwhathashappenedtotheirsoldiers,totheirborders,totheircities,theystill
followtheFuhrer...Wherehasthereeverbeensomuchdestruction,somuchoppressionofa
population,whileatthesametime,thereisnohintofdiscontent(Shaara).Untilthewarended,
theGermancitizensrefusedtofollowanyoneexcepttheirleader,showinghowinfluentialthe
notionsofhonorandfaithcanbe.
Ontheotherhand,whentheGermancitizensbegantorealizethattheyhadindeedlost
thewar,theyformedonesidedconclusionstowardstheirmilitary.Inthetruestorywrittenby


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AdamMakos,FranzStiglerstatesthatTheywereangryforlosingthewar.Theywereangryat
Hitlerformisleadingthem.Theywereangrybecauseanothercountrynowoccupiedtheirs.But
noneofthemenwhosurroundedFranzwouldadmitthis.Theyneededascapegoat,andafighter
pilotstoodrightinfrontofthem(Makos15).Theconsequencesofbeingtooclingytoafailing
leaderlikeHitlerhadimpactedthecitizensharshly.Insteadofacceptingtheirownguilt,citizens
blameditonthesoldiers,whowereunfortunatelyalreadysufferingfromemotionalandphysical
harm.
ThefinalstageoftheGermancitizensattitudeswashatetowardsHitler.Accordingtoa
WorldWarIIGermansoldierveteran,Hitlerhadsaidthathedidnotwanttodielikea
Landstreicher,essentiallycallinghissoldiersdogsandimplyingthattheGermanleader
wantedtodiehonorably,unlikearegularsoldier(Knappe).SiegfriedKnappe,aswellasother
Germansoldiers,hadtakenthisasaseriousoffense,whichopenedtheireyestothepersontheir
leaderreallywas:Itwasjustsuchanunbelievablecomment,especiallytomakethattypeof
commenttoasoldier.ItwasntuntilthistimethatIfinallybegantorealizewhatsortofmanwe
hadbeenfightingfor(Knappe).ItwasonlyuntilHitlershowedhisrealintentionsandmotives
thatmostofGermanystartedtorealizethemadnessofHitlersschemesandactions.Thiswas
thelaststraw,wherethecitizensofGermanyfullylosttheirfaithinHitlerandbeganto
comprehendthecatastropheshehadcaused.
Ineverynation,thedifferentbranchesofmilitaryplayedkeyrolesindefendingand
attacking.However,itissimplytheemotionalandmentalconstitutionofthehumanmindthatis
therealculpritofwar.Inthemidstofwars,thepsychologiesofhumanschangeandrespondin
complicatedandintriguingways.Inanalyzingthebehaviorsandattitudesofvarioussoldiers,


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citizens,andleadersfromdifferentcountries,itbecomesunmistakablethatthesementalitiescan
havesubstantialeffectsonwhetheranationtriumphsorfacesdefeat.Comingindifferentforms,
attitudesthatcanaffectasoldiersdecisionsormoralsincludethenotionsofhonor,shame,
extremenationalism,andofthatlike.Evenphysicalobjectssuchasbombscanhavesignificance
inthemotivationsofhumans,mostnotablyduringtheBattleofBritain.Infutureevents,humans
mustbecomeawareofthemetaphysicalinfluencesthatcanguidetheiroutcome.Theattitudes,
behaviors,orthethingsthatmotivateanindividualmayseemveryinsignificant,butinreality,
theycanandwilldeterminethedecisionstheymake,ultimatelycascadingintoeithertheir
victoryordownfall.


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