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Fritz, Stephen G. 1949-

Fritz, Stephen G. 1949-

PERSONAL:

Born February 21, 1949.

ADDRESSES:

Office—East Tennessee State University, Johnson City, TN 37614-1700. E-mail—[email protected]

CAREER:

Academic and historian. East Tennessee State University, Johnson City, professor of history.

WRITINGS:

Frontsoldaten: The German Soldier in World War II, University Press of Kentucky (Lexington, KY), 1995.

Endkampf: Soldiers, Civilians, and the Death of the Third Reich, University Press of Kentucky (Lexington, KY), 2004.

SIDELIGHTS:

Stephen G. Fritz is an academic and historian. He was born on February 21, 1949, and went on to become a professor of history at East Tennessee State University. Fritz has contributed articles to a number of scholarly journals, primarily on the topic of modern German history and the wars Germany has fought.

Fritz published his first book, Frontsoldaten: The German Soldier in World War II, in 1995. The book takes the unique perspective of covering the experiences of the average German soldier during World War II, as opposed to those of the Allied soldiers or the leading Nazi figures. Fritz highlighted memories of the German soldiers, including their military training, how they reacted to combat and death for the first time, how their psyches evolved to accept or tolerate the violence and cruelty of war (or not), how they thought about the war, and what exactly helped, encouraged, or scared them to continue their momentum in fighting. Fritz gathered his information from diaries, memoirs, letters written during the war, and interviews.

Larry V. Thompson, writing on the H-German Web site, commented that "Fritz makes no claim to have clarified or revised any or all of the war's larger context. He succeeds in adding to our understanding of the behavior of men in combat. Perhaps inadvertently, given the book's publication date, he also contributes to the interpretive firestorm recently ignited by Daniel Goldhagen's claim to have discovered what motivated ‘ordinary’ Germans to perform ‘extraordinary’ acts of racism in the service of National Socialism. For this reason alone the study merits attention. However, it also makes available in English a considerable number of combat recollections from German veterans previously unknown to a wider audience. The excerpts included and the conclusions drawn from them will be especially valuable in English-speaking military circles." Booklist contributor Roland Green noted that Fritz uses "published and unpublished material, little of it previously translated, to make up for" the lack of proper studies on the German soldiers' experiences during World War II. A contributor to Publishers Weekly commented that Fritz's "book helps explain why the German army was so relentlessly ef- ficient in battle," adding that the comparisons he makes between the U.S. and German soldiers is "edifying." Michael Neiberg, reviewing the book in the Journal of Social History, called the book "important" for its new perspective, adding that "Fritz has boldly taken on a formidable challenge: to tell the story of men whose courage and determination he obviously admires while being honest about the horrific crimes they committed. In doing so, he rejects facile arguments that the German soldier was an automaton simply doing what he was told or what he was indoctrinated to accept."

Fritz published his second book, Endkampf: Soldiers, Civilians, and the Death of the Third Reich, in 2004. The book looks into the Nazi attempts to prevent the American advance in the Franconian area of central Bavaria during World War II, as well as a disinformation campaign that resulted in a significant change to U.S. war policy.

Paul B. Hatley, writing in the History Teacher, remarked that "Fritz presents the story in a fast-paced format that will keep the reader intrigued." Hatley concluded that "Endkampf is an outstanding addition to the historiography of the Second World War in Europe and should be used in undergraduate and graduate history courses on World War II or Nazi Germany." Geoffrey Cocks, writing in the Historian, found that "there is more here on the American soldier than on the German Landser due to the relative lack of documentation on a disintegrating army. This, and the focus on one campaign, raises the question of whether Fritz's conclusions are more generally applicable."

BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:

PERIODICALS

American Historical Review, February, 1997, Alan F. Wilt, review of Frontsoldaten: The German Soldier in World War II, p. 129; April, 2005, Eleanor Hancock, review of Endkampf: Soldiers, Civilians, and the Death of the Third Reich, p. 570.

Booklist, September 1, 1995, Roland Green, review of Frontsoldaten, p. 34.

Central European History, fall, 2005, Dennis Showalter, review of Endkampf, p. 694.

Choice: Current Reviews for Academic Libraries, April, 1996, R.H. Larson, review of Frontsoldaten, p. 1371.

European History Quarterly, April, 2007, Ben Shepherd, review of Endkampf, p. 326.

German Studies Review, October, 2005, Arnold Krammer, review of Endkampf, p. 660.

Historian, spring, 1997, Daniel R. Beaver, review of Frontsoldaten, p. 689; spring, 2006, Geoffrey Cocks, review of Endkampf, p. 186.

History Teacher, November 1, 2005, Paul B. Hatley, review of Endkampf.

International History Review, May, 1997, Armin E. Mruck, review of Frontsoldaten, p. 419; December, 2005, Jill Stephenson, review of Endkampf, p. 880.

Journal of Military History, April, 1996, Omer Bartov, review of Frontsoldaten, p. 383; April, 2005, David Yelton, review of Endkampf, p. 597.

Journal of Modern History, September, 1997, Truman O. Anderson, review of Frontsoldaten, p. 644.

Journal of Social History, winter, 1996, Michael Neiberg, review of Frontsoldaten, p. 552.

Publishers Weekly, July 17, 1995, review of Frontsoldaten, p. 213.

Reference & Research Book News, February, 1996, review of Frontsoldaten, p. 5.

Virginia Quarterly Review, spring, 1996, review of Frontsoldaten, p. 46.

World War II, April, 2006, Antulio J. Echevarria, II, review of Endkampf, p. 77.

ONLINE

H-German,http://www.h-net.org/~german/ (October 4, 1996), Larry V. Thompson, review of Frontsoldaten.

H-Net: Humanities and Social Sciences Online,http://www.h-net.org/ (July, 2005), Bianka J. Adams, review of Endkampf.

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