Erich Von Manstein Thought Hitler Was An Idiot.

by Daniel Russ on October 8, 2012

Erich Von Manstein

Erich Von Manstein


He was born Fritz Erich Georg Eduard von Lewinski, the tenth son of a Prussian Plutocrat. His mother’s younger sister and her husband Lieutenant General Georg von Manstein were unable to produce children and so they adopted Erich. He had biological and adoptive parents in the same household. Erich Von Manstein was raised in a baroque, and ornate society, steeped in the highest European traditions of strict etiquette and stately comportment.



His relatives were comprised of the high-ranking generals who fought in the Silesian Wars and were only a generation removed from the soldiers who fought in the Thirty Years War. They lived through the modernization of the Prussian Army from the campaign of Frederick Williams, “The Great Elector” to Frederick the Soldier King.



The Prussian Nation was able to achieve something militarily that had really not been embraced since the Roman Empire: that is that the nobility, the rich as Croesus aristocratic class became the core of the Prussian military. It was a charmed match. Dragoon Officers Spiked Helmets, Arabian horses, aureate and historical wappens, braided epaulettes, and the finest firearms, cannons and steel swords metal smiths could forge. Every jot and tittle of life in the upper hierarchy of Prussian was proscribed and inculcated into the officer corps with strict discipline. Consider that family events for you and I included uncles and aunts and cousins frolicking around a home where food was cooking and music was playing. A Prussian family affair like Christmas would require every family member, particularly the military school students to be dressed to the nines and to conduct themselves like officers. Attending the ceremonies would be Kings and Queens and Presidents and Chancellors and Prime Ministers. So growing up in a Prussian military oligarchy could be difficult to say the least. Loyalties in the Prussian officer corps were Discipline, Fatherland, and Emperor. Democracy was a form of governance for the weak and the profligate.



Manstein served in the German Army in World War I on both the Eastern and Western fronts. He was a staff officer after the war, but committed himself to the officer’s life and stayed in the German military after the Treaty of Versailles. As Hitler rising to power, Manstein grew in prominence and was given high command in the advent of the Second World War. He planned the invasion of Poland and the Invasion of France. Both plans were brought to fruition all the way to victories that Hitler himself was soon claiming credit for.



In the onset of World War II, Manstein helped Hitler organize the Reichswher, essentially the precursor to the Wehrmacht. It was a totally loyal non political organization. Officers couldn’t vote.



The interesting thing about Manstein was that he was probably Hitler’s best general but Manstein felt that Hitler was a poseur. In fact Hans Georg Krebs, a staff officer working for Manstein said he was always in high dudgeon after meeting with the Fuhrer. He called Hitler the “World War I Lance Corporal”. Manstein was really not a Nazi. He was a military lifer who was shocked to see the military war etiquette that once ruled the European battle theater virtually disappear, and while he celebrated the rebuilding of the German Army, he saw that war crime were being committed and that they would imprecate all of Germany for generations to come.



Manstein’s climb was roller coaster. He twice built the German Army, once under Hitler, and then under the Marshall Plan. While Hitler was no military genius, Hitler was a gambler. He and Manstein shared some of the same proclivities, like the importance of surprise and deception and utter aggression. Hitler confided in Goering that he trusted Manstein on the battlefield but that was all. It could have been the afterglow of Manstein’s habit of vociferous disagreement with Hitler’s micromanaging and resisted as well as he could. But Hitler, convinced of his own infallibility offered resistance to some plans that left Manstein literally walking out of meetings saying “What an idiot.”



The criminality of the Third Reich was creeping into the combat operations under the purview of Manstein’s planners. Sent to knock down the medieval and impenetrable fortress at Sebastopol, Manstein was followed by the Einatsgruppe, a special SS Division tasked with killing dissidents, Jews, Gypsies, Communists and the disabled. Manstein took Sebastopol in 42 days. 10,000 Germans had died taking it.



In his memoirs he talks about trying to hide from the SS murderers. He sent specific orders to his officers not to condone any sort of cruelty. He would not cotton to slovenliness, drunkenness or profligacy. He won in Poland and France. He lost a chance to relieve Von Paulus at Stalingrad, and he lost the battle of Kursk. Those were huge losses and after an argument with Hitler in 1944 he was relived of duty and never allowed to command under Hitler again.



He was tried at Nuremburg and served four years of an 11 year sentence. He faced seventeen charges. Maltreatment of prisoners, enabling the Einatsgruppe D, and scorched Earth tactics. He later helped to build the modern German army. He died in Munich in 1973.



Was he a war criminal? Yes. As Speigel Magazine opined: “He assisted in the march to catastrophe—misled by a blind sense of duty.”




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{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

jan April 19, 2016 at 1:03 pm

Bullshit! German bashing again! History according to the allied victors! Mostly, almost all lies…,read revisionist history (Mike King, The bad war’)and your whole outlook on that war will change! …………sure Manstein was a great General….,..much greater military strategist than Hitler,well he had the training for that!…Hitler was a great statesman , with prophetic foresight into things that are unfolding today to the detrimant of western civilization, he tried to stem that tide……but with race traitors like Churchill and Rooseveldt they ruined it all…pitifull state of affairs today….one world governance is around the corner!

Daniel Russ April 20, 2016 at 6:19 pm

Well you’re a racist bigoted ass wipe. Thanks for adding to my readership numbers, but let me remind you that a few decades ago we destroyed most of your kind.

Louis September 19, 2017 at 9:26 am

I think it would be biologically impossible to live for more then 200 years, as you seem to imply: were only a generation removed from the soldiers who fought in the Thirty Years War
The Thirty Years war, was from 1618 till 1648, and Prussia was indeed led by The Great Elector then. However, I think you mean the French Revolutionay and Napoleonic wars, where the king of Prussia was indeed a Friedrich Wilhelm, but not the same as the one from 1648, who was not king, as the latter most assuredly was. And Friedrich II (the Great, The Soldier King) was also dead for at least a hundred years. There is this painting of Napoleon at the grave of Friedrich, and the caption: “If he would have been here, I would not”.
Von Manstein could not have chosen to stay in the Reichswehr, after WWI. He would have to be vetted, and be good enough to have been noticed. After WWI the Allies forbid Germany having an army larger than 100.000 men, so all people who were left in that army, were chosen for their promise, intelligence and bravery. Lots of officers wanted to stay in the army, but were dumped, because they were deemed not to have enough potential. And, as he was more of a stratigist, then an organiser, I doubt he helped Hitler reoganising the Reichswehr, which was called Wehrmacht, after Hitler came to power.

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