The Thanks of the Fatherland

German Veterans After the Second World War

By James M. Diehl

360 pp., 6 x 9

  • Paperback ISBN: 978-0-8078-5730-4
    Published: May 2011
  • eBook ISBN: 978-0-8078-6103-5
    Published: November 2000

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An account of the problems facing German veterans after WWII and the ways in which they were addressed in the decade following Germany's defeat. The primary focus is on the major pieces of veterans' legislation passed in the early years of the German Federal Republic. Historical context is provided by the first two chapters and the conclusion, which compares and contrasts the fate of veterans and their sociopolitical impact on German society following the two world wars.

Originally published in 1993.

A UNC Press Enduring Edition -- UNC Press Enduring Editions use the latest in digital technology to make available again books from our distinguished backlist that were previously out of print. These editions are published unaltered from the original, and are presented in affordable paperback formats, bringing readers both historical and cultural value.

About the Author

James M. Diehl, associate professor of history at Indiana University, is author of Paramilitary Politics in Weimar Germany.
For more information about James M. Diehl, visit the Author Page.


"A very interesting and readable account of how former Nazi war veterans reacted to defeat in 1945, and successfully re-adjusted to life under the Federal German Republic."--History Today (UK)

"A major contribution to the early history of the Federal Republic. . . . Provides the first systematic account of one of the most important chapters of postwar West German social welfare policy."--American Historical Review

"This cogently written and organized work analyzes the social, economic, and political integration of organized veterans into the Federal Republic of Germany during the decade following World War II."--German Studies Review

"[An] important monograph that evaluates a wide range of archival materials and, in an extensive conclusion, offers many thoughtful comparisons concerning the situation of German ex-soldiers and their families after the two World Wars."--Journal of Modern History

"Meticulously researched and ably written. . . . It deserves serious attention."--Central European History

"The first full-scale study of veterans' politics in Germany after World War II. In analyzing how German soldiers' organizations behaved in the postwar milieu, Diehl provides an invaluable case study in the political culture of the young Federal Republic. His book is thoroughly grounded in archival research, intelligently conceptualized, and very gracefully written."--David C. Large, Montana State University