Tanks Break Through!: A German Soldier’s Account of War in the Low Countries and France, 1940

SF Tafel

There are many eye-witness accounts of the military disaster that led to the fall of France, 1940, from the Allied point of view.  For a look at the experiences of the common German soldier, there is no better source than Tanks Break Through! written by Alfred-Ingemar Berndt, a journalist and close associate of propaganda minister Joseph Goebbels. When the 1940 attack was in the offing, Berndt joined the Wehrmacht and afterward published his recollections. Berndt's memoir is a tale of German military prowess, valor and violent death, a Teutonic Iliad. His gruesome descriptions of battle are morbidly fascinating. Hitler sensed French weakness and unwillingness to fight. Berndt writes of the formidable foe the French faced. 
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About the author

 Alfred-Ingemar Berndt was born 22 April 1905 in the West Prussian city of Bromberg, now Bydgoszcz in Poland. Berndt's family was expelled and dispossessed from West Prussia in 1920, a result of the Versailles Treaty. In December 1928, after interrupted study of German literature and volunteer work for German newspapers, Berndt got a job at Wolffs Telegraphisches Bureau (WTB), the largest news agency in Germany. Berndt was able to disguise his Nazi leanings as serious journalism. When Hitler became Chancellor in 1933, Berndt’s position in the Kampfbund für deutsche Kultur led to his promotion in Wolffs Telegraphisches Bureau, which had become the Nazi press office, the Deutsche Nachrichtenbüro (DNB). In December 1933 he became chief editor of the DNB. Joseph Goebbels, with his doctorate in German literature from Bonn University, knew a good writer when he read one. In 1935 Goebbels hired Berndt as official head of the Reich Press Office in the Reich Ministry of Public Enlightenment and Propaganda. In April 1936, Berndt was appointed head of the press department of the Propaganda Ministry (Division IV). After the partitioning of the press department in March 1938, Berndt was made head of the newly created home department (Division IV-A). Berndt devised the propaganda for the annexation of Austria and the Sudetenland. In February 1940, Berndt reported that he had fulfilled his task of adapting the German broadcasting system to the requirements of war and war propaganda. He was released from all functions in the Propaganda Ministry and enlisted as a volunteer in the Wehrmacht. In the French campaign he was a sergeant in Heavy Tank Division 605. He was awarded the Iron Cross second class, 27 May 1940. On June 6, 1940 he received the Iron Cross First Class. In May 1941 he went back to the front; this time as a lieutenant on the staff of the German Afrika Korps under Lieutenant General Erwin Rommel. Berndt pulled out all the stops of the propaganda organ to blare out the myth of Rommel the "Desert Fox." After a dispute with Goebbels, Berndt volunteered for combat. In September 1944, through the mediation of Heinrich Himmler, Berndt was elevated to the military rank of SS-Hauptsturmführer, the equivalent of captain, in the Waffen SS. According to several eyewitnesses, Berndt, as commander of the Second Division of SS Panzer Regiment 5 "Viking," was killed at Veszprém, Hungary, during an attack by Soviet dive bombers, March 28, 1945.

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Additional Information

Publisher
SF Tafel
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Published on
Nov 23, 2016
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Pages
321
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ISBN
9781539810971
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Language
English
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Genres
History / Europe / France
History / Europe / Germany
History / Europe / Western
History / Military / World War II
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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