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Rules of Conduct for the German Soldier (WW2)

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Rules and regulations for the German Soldier.

"Pflichten und Gebote für den deutschen Soldaten"

 

These printed pages were pasted into the Soldbuch. However, it is known that they were removed just at the start of the Russian Campaign in the Summer of 1941. One sheet states the Duties, that the German soldier has at all times to fight with fairness and chivalry, to avoid unnecessary cruelty and destruction, Respect for prisoners of war, etc.

The other sheet reminds the soldier of the purpose of the armed forces, to defend the population and territory of the homeland, and reminding him of the soldiers honour, etc. Very interesting and impressive text to read. If all the military of all countries and all times would keep to these principles, there would be probably less wars, or at least less severe wars, at least theoreticaly!

 

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1. The German soldier fights with chivalry for the victory of his nation
2. The fighter must be uniformed or with a special conspicuous badge.  Fighting in civilian attire is forbidden.
3. No enemy who has surrendered may be killed, also no partisan or spy. Thieves will get their just punishment through the courts.
4. Prisoners of war may not be abused or insulted. Weapons, maps and sketches are to be confiscated. Nothing may be taken from their personal posessions.
5. Dum-Dum projectiles are prohibited. Ammunition may not to be turned into such.
6. The Red Cross is inviolable. Wounded opponents are to be treated humanely. Medics and clergy are not to be molested in their business
7. The civil population is inviolable. Soldiers may not plunder or wilfully destroy property. Historic monuments, memorials and churches, which serve religious purposes, art, science or welfare are to be treated with respect. Services in kind of the population may only be obtained on permission of superiors.
8. Neutral territory may not be infringed by entering by land or air, nor by fire in course of action.
9. Should a German soldier land in captivity, he is only obliged to reveal his name and rank. Under no circumstances may he reveal his unit or military, political or economic status of the German side. Neither through promises or threats may he be led to such.
10. Infringements against the previous orders in a matter of service are punishable. Violations against the afore mentioned service regulations are punishable. Violations by the enemy under the listed rules 1-8 are to be reported. Retaliation measures are only permitted  by order of the higher command.

 

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1. The Wehrmacht is the bearer of arms of the German people. It protects the German Empire and the Fatherland, the people united in National Socialism and it's habitat and environment. It's roots lie in the strength of a noble past, in German folklore, German earth and German labour. The service in the Wehrmacht is a service of honour to the German nation.
2. The Soldier's honour lies in the unconditional commitment of his person for nation and fatherland to his personal sacrifice.
3. The greatest virtue is fighting courage. It demands hardness and determination. Cowardice is disgraceful, hesitation is unsoldierly.
4. Obedience is the basis of the Wehrmacht, confidence is the basis of obedience. Soldierly leadership rests on responsibility, capability and tireless care.
5. Great services in war and peace arise only in the imperturbable combat community of leader and troop.
6. Combat community requires comradeship, which proves itself particularly in dangerous situations.
7. Confident and yet modest, upright and loyal, godfearing and true, secretive and incorruptible, the soldier is to be an example of manly strength for the entire nation. Pride can only  be justified through achievement.
8.  The greatest reward and happiness for the soldier is in the conscienceness of of his duty. Character and achievement determine his destiny and his value.

 

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Text translated into English

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