Background: By the fall of 1943, it was clear to Germans that the war was not going well. This letter from a solder urges his wife to remain confident of victory, even though she and their children have been bombed out of their home and are being moved for safety to the countryside. Der Schulungsbrief was the widely-circulated Nazi Party monthly for political education.
The source: “Brief eines Soldaten” Der Schulungsbrief, (September-October 1943), p. 7.
30 August 1943
My Dear Wife!
The attack by the countless hordes in the past weeks is over. The silence of death rests over the battlefield, over the smoking, destroyed Soviet tanks, over the masses of troops the Bolshevists drove to death. The loneliness of the steppes returns. Their attack was in vain, their sacrifice forgotten, broken against our death-spewing weapons, against our strength, against our will, against our faith, which is stronger than any challenge. For in our hearts is Germany, the Germany that must live. Germany, that is you and the children. You are the homeland for us, and we carry you in our hearts. We fight and sacrifice and bleed for you. We never weaken for a second, for you must be protected.
Back in our trenches, we think of home. I hold your last dear letter in my worn hands. Thank you for the words and news, for which I am deeply thankful.
The war is now falling on my dear homeland. You write to me of the terror attacks by the British and Americans, and of heavy sacrifices, privations and worries that you also now face. I am filled with enormous rage, as are all of us here. There must be revenge, thousand-fold revenge. But in my heart there is deep and holy thanks for those who through their sacrifice rescued you, for what they lost, you still have. Has that occurred to you?
My dear wife, now you suddenly face problems that you have never before had. They are similar to the problems we soldiers face every day and every hour: to give up what is most dear to hold on to life. Will you fail this hour of trial? Were that to happen, you would not be my wife, because I know that you will remain brave. Our children are still happy and healthy. To ensure their life in the great German future, you must allow them to leave the city for the safety of the countryside, there from whence our ancestors came, and from which will come the strength to build our new Reich. I know how unspeakably hard it will be for you to give up everything that you loved and valued, but it is not so much as to outweigh victory. And when victory has come, you will praise the Führer’s wisdom, who protected our children and gave them back to us. And do you know how happy I will be to know that you are safe? We can lose everything we have, everything except our honor, our homeland, and the lives of our children. That we must defend, and win victory.
Now it is time to prove that we are Germans, that we believe in the Führer and are loyal to him. You must think the same way all of us do: Now more than ever we must stand together, help each other, obey every order. Your heart must tell you: I believe in victory, I believe in the Führer. That is our most holy confession. We carry it through the hell of these unimaginably difficult days of August, and it will shine in us when we rebuild our ruined cities and our children are happy around you.
My dear wife, I greet our children. Stay brave, loyal, and proud, and learn what the soldier has long known: to believe in victory even in the most difficult and hopeless situation, for only victory can unite us once again in the homeland.
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