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Imperial Militaria Forum The discussion and study of Imperial German awards and of their Central Powers Allies from the First World War

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Old 01-13-2018, 11:08 AM   #16
ZacharyB
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Joseph Ratzinger sweared the Hitler oath. He deserted after Hitlers dead. Is it real Desertion?
We're straying from the topic of this thread, but conversations tend to take on a life and direction of their own. You raise an interesting point.

In my view, no, I would not call his behavior an act of desertion.

The collapse of a government, nation, or civilization brings with it a unique set of norms, circumstances, and ethics that are not applicable to stable societies with functioning infrastructures and control systems still in place.

At the collapse of the Roman Empire, I would not call the Legionaries and Auxiliaries who simply walked away "deserters."

At the end of the American Civil War, many thousands of Confederate troops simply melted into the countryside and returned home. Deserters? I think not.

Just like treason is a matter of dates, so is desertion. A Confederate soldier walking away from his unit and going home in Spring 1862 is a deserter. That same soldier committing an identical act in April, 1865 is not a deserter, but a man who recognizes that it is now "every man for himself." At that point, with the end in sight to all but the most fanatically blind, it is not an act of desertion but a human response of self-preservation.

We might liken it to sailors aboard a ship. When discipline is in place and the chain of command is functioning, to leave one's station and jump ship is certainly an act of desertion. However, no one faults a sailor for diving overboard when the vessel is down by the bow, listing heavily, the officers are all dead, and its clear that the battle is lost...whether or not there has been a formal "abandon ship" order given over the loudspeaker that may or may not even still be working.

I'd also add that a General or Admiral abandoning his command during the throes of military collapse is quite different from a teenage private, flak helper, or sailor seeking to save his life under similar circumstances. The statement "to whom much is given, much is expected" is quite true...and so is its corollary.

Regards,

Z
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Last edited by ZacharyB; 01-13-2018 at 11:28 AM.
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Old 01-13-2018, 01:51 PM   #17
Jeroen P
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My ignorance of the German jargon, for me it looks like a k, thanks for pointing it out, now I have to find how to print it on my keyboard.
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press the keys alt 2 2 5 and you get an ▀
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Old 01-13-2018, 03:09 PM   #18
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press the keys alt 2 2 5 and you get an ▀
Cool. Thanks.
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