08/15 (film series)

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German Poster
Directed by Paul May
Produced by Ilse Kubaschewski
Written by Paul May
Hans Hellmut Kirst
Claus Hardt
Ernst von Salomon
Based on 08/15 
by Hans Hellmut Kirst
Music by Rolf A. Wilhelm
Cinematography Heinz Hölscher
Edited by Walter Boos
Arnfried Heyne
Distributed by Gloria Filmverleih AG
Country West Germany
Language German

The 08/15 is a 1954-1955 West German film trilogy directed by Paul May and based on the novel 08/15 by Hans Hellmut Kirst who also served as the film's screenwriter. The term 08/15 (nill-eight/fifteen, German: Null-Acht/Fünfzehn) refers to the German Army's standard machine gun, the 08/15 (or MG 08 model 15), by far, the most common German machine gun deployed in World War I. It was manufactured in such large quantities that it became the German Army slang for anything that was standard issue. The film follows the story of Private Asch, a German soldier in World War II. The title implies that Asch and the soldiers under his command were unostentatious characters deployed on the Eastern Front.[1]

The last of the 08/15 film trilogy ends with Germany being occupied by American soldiers who are portrayed as bubble-gum chewing, slack-jawed, uncultured louts, inferior in every respect to the heroic German soldiers.[1] The only exception is the Jewish emigrant, now a US officer, who is shown as both intelligent and unscrupulous, which is interpreted by the Israeli historian Omer Bartov as implying that the "real tragedy of World War II was that the Nazis did not get a chance to exterminate all Semites, who have now returned with Germany's defeat to once more exploit the German people".[1]




  1. ^ a b c Bartov, Omer (2004). "Celluloid Soldiers: Cinematic Images of the Wehrmacht". In Ljubica & Mark Erickson. Russia War, Peace and Diplomacy. London: Weidenfeld & Nicolson. ISBN 0-297-84913-1.
  • Kapczynski, Jennifer M. (2010). "Armchair Warriors: Heroic Postures in the West German War Film". In Cooke, Paul; Silberman, Marc. Screening War: Perspectives on German Suffering. Screen Cultures: German Film and the Visual. pp. 23–27. ISBN 1-57113-437-9. 

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