Talk:Arthur Schmidt (soldier)

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Manstein's commentary needs to be taken with a grain of salt as in his memoirs he tried to minimise his role in the decision to have the 6th Army not break out. Moving her for storage:

  • In his memoirs, however, Manstein states that Schmidt was a "stronger personality" [1] than Paulus, and that he imposed his belief that a breakout was not necessary – indeed that it would be a disaster – for his superior. "What ultimately decided the attitude of Sixth Army Headquarters [towards Operation Thunderclap,[2] the planned second phase of the breakout], was the opinion of the Chief-of-Staff", wrote Manstein, and, given that this was opposition to a breakout and a belief that it was the duty of Supreme Command and Army Group B to keep Sixth Army supplied, "Paulus himself ended by pronouncing the impossibility of a break-out and pointing out that surrender at Stalingrad was forbidden 'by order of the Führer'!" [1]


  1. ^ a b Manstein (2004), p. 334
  2. ^ Beevor (1999), p. 296

K.e.coffman (talk) 06:23, 17 October 2016 (UTC)

@User:K.e.coffman. That is your opinion, and it's great to have it, but Manstein's book is an RS. If you'd like to make this comment in the text itself about the unreliability of Manstein's text and the reasons for it , supported by an RS, than that would be wonderful. As the Manstein quotes are interesting historical documentation by a key protagonist I have restored them, as they're a little lost here. Ericoides (talk)
Pardon my intervention, but isn't it up to you to prove the reliability of a source, not to the one who challenges it? In the case of Manstein's memoirs this will be particularly difficult, because that text has been repeatedly thrashed by academic historians. The most detailed and historically sound account of how Manstein fashioned, with gratious help by Basil Liddell Hart, his own legend of the "lost victories" is the biography by Oliver von Wrochem: Erich von Manstein. Vernichtungskrieg und Geschichtspolitik. Paderborn: Schöningh, 2006. From a historiographical point of view there are some issues with it, but for an account in English you might consult Marcel Stein: Field Marshal von Manstein: The Janushead - A Portrait (engl. ed. 2007). As historian Wolfram Wette sums up what is now concensus among military historians concerning Wehrmacht general's memoirs (and the works of the so called "Historical Division" after 1945): Despite all the differences in detail, these books tend to depict Hitler as a little corporal who interfered with the professional military's handling of the war. The title Erich von Manstein chose, "Lost Victories", sums it up. Given the general apologetic tone, one is not surprised to find no mention in them at all of war crimes or the Wehrmacht's participation in the killing of Jews. Bernd Wegner and others have pointed out correctly that the general's memoirs shaped perceptions of the Wehrmacht not just in the decade in which they appeared; their influence has been far greater, as a number of internationally renowned historians and journalists adopted this favorable picture of an efficiently run force that participated in war crimes to no greater degree than other armies. In this group Basil H. Liddell Hart, the influential British writer on military affairs, stands out. (Wolfram Wette: The Wehrmacht. History, Myth, Reality . Cambridge, MA: Harvard UP, 2006, p. 234.) As to Manstein's telling of the battle of Stalingrad, Paulus commented: "This man writes blatant lies. He puts all the blame on Hitler and me. ... A man, who at that time did not see fit to give me an order, or at least permission to break out, has no right today to write that he had wished me to break out and would have covered me." (Stein, op cit., p. 169) Now, I do not want to propose that Paulus himself is a reliable source. I would certainly prefer to see recent historiography on Stalingrad to be used. But not only is Manstein's memoir the quintessential unreliable source on the Wehrmacht during WW II, it is by any means clear that Manstein's commentary about his role during the Battle of Stalinrad is dishonest. On a side note, the account of Schmidt's role in Stalingrad seems overladen with details. --Assayer (talk) 01:21, 19 October 2016 (UTC)
@User:Assayer Fair enough. I've added the words "extremely controversial" in front of "memoirs; to read, "In his extremely controversial memoirs, Manstein &c". Is that sufficient? Ericoides (talk) 03:47, 19 October 2016 (UTC)


I think we are dealing with the issue of WP:DUE here. One only needs to look at the Lost Victories article to know that Manstein's memoirs are self-serving and unreliable. By citing him next to Beevor (who is a popular historian, but his works are well respected) the article is giving equal weight to these two sources. In addition, Manstein's memoirs is a WP:Primary source; it's best to cite it if a reputable historian has taken note of this commentary. I thus advocate removal of this material until we can find a secondary source that discusses Manstein's opinion on Schmidt. K.e.coffman (talk) 03:56, 19 October 2016 (UTC)

Well, I bow to your much greater knowledge and so have removed the Manstein Stalingrad material. The captivity quote, however, I've retained. Or is that equally partisan? Ericoides (talk) 11:34, 19 October 2016 (UTC)
Yes, I would say so, as Manstein was not a professional historian, and I still feel it's undue to cite him. I'm moving this here for storage:
  • Manstein comments that, disastrous as Schmidt's obstinacy was at Stalingrad: "the same quality did him great credit in captivity later on. Judging by all that one has heard, he gave an admirable account of himself as a soldier and a comrade, getting himself sentenced to twenty-five years' forced labour in the process".[1]


  1. ^ Manstein (2004), p. 334
K.e.coffman (talk) 15:16, 19 October 2016 (UTC)