Talk:The Forgotten Soldier

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 Definition Autobiography about World War II. [d] [e]
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 Workgroup categories Military and Literature [Editors asked to check categories]
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Cover Page

Can anyone upload an image of the cover for use in the article? I was going to but got confused and didn't want to upload the image under the wrong heading. --Mehar Gill 01:10, 4 October 2009 (UTC)

Starting editorial guidance

Hayford suggested I take this under Military; I added Literature, and some might want to add History. If possible, I will keep comments on the Talk page.

I have not read the book but just ordered it on interlibrary loan.

Recognizing I tend to think top down, which annoys some people, I can't help think that some brilliant works have been written, which at least try to see both sides. That may be a valid higher-level article; I'm not sure I'd call All Quiet on the Western Front two-sided, but its soldier-level view may be a useful general article. Howard C. Berkowitz 18:01, 4 October 2009 (UTC)

World War II is an interest of mine so I can add that category. I'm finding that the book is written in such a way that it can be applied to all armies in a majority of wars fought in human history. The effect war has on the lives of soldiers both young and old is something the book touches on, the issues a invading army has on civilian life thanks to the language barrier are also seen in the first chapter.
The issues I have run into so far is the history of this book is hard to find. Sajer like many German war veterans living in Europe (especially France) has been really quiet about his past, information on him and the book is virtually non existant. I don't even think any recent images of him exist which is odd considering the acclaim his book has received, one would think a man in his position would have been more public about his work.
I have All Quiet on the Western Front on order so after reading the book and finishing this article I will look into writing about that. --Mehar Gill 18:18, 4 October 2009 (UTC)
I now have the book and will start reading it. Howard C. Berkowitz 18:33, 7 October 2009 (UTC)

Initial reactions

My initial sense, after 100-plus pages, is that the level of training and discipline is lower than I'd have expected from the German army at that time. On the other hand, these are service troops, and it's relatively early in the Russian campaign; they may not yet have learned how to act in a guerilla area. For example, one never, never, puts a weapon out of reach unless guarded. Howard C. Berkowitz 21:57, 7 October 2009 (UTC)

On paper of course, but in stressful situation humans generally do things they shouldn't, Sajer was punished for leaving his weapon behind in the truck during the raid. Also keep in mind, Hitler and the Nazi Party wanted to enact harsher punishments against soldiers in the German army during World War II since he believed it was what lead the British and French to success in World War I (Germany was largely relaxed towards discipling soldiers during World War I). Unfortunately, the rules for the Eastern Front became relaxed in a sense allowing for many atrocities to occur, a few officers publicly attacked the party for this and were transfered to France, Africa, etc into smaller jobs. That being said, it also depended on who your local officer would be, if they wanted to punish soldiers for doing things they shouldn't have they would, if not they would leave them.
That mostly applied for the bigger crimes of course, I will have to look into the leaving your gun behind scenario. --Mehar Gill 16:14, 8 October 2009 (UTC)
The idea that one is never without a gun has changed in the U.S. Army over the last several decades, although I believe it's always been U.S. Marine practice.
A number of sources indicate that the officer-enlisted relationship was often very good in the German military.
Your point about stressful situations is well taken, as it's something that's been part of the "training revolution" in advanced militaries. A rotation at the National Training Center at Fort Irwin, the Joint Readiness Training Center at Fort Polk, etc., is as close to battle as possible. Even the command post exercises for senior officers and staff are deliberately high-stress, reduced-sleep, etc. Howard C. Berkowitz 16:24, 8 October 2009 (UTC)
I will look into a few Wehrmacht era policies, I'm sure the policies of the German army are dramatically different now than they were then for obvious reasons which won't make things very easy. You might be right about the weapons thing, although given how Sajer was willing to go into a wreck to find his gun and the beating he received indicate a similar policy might have existed. It may also mean his commanding officer was simply strict about having a gun close by at all times incase there is a attack.
Also, was it customary for Wehrmacht soldiers to say "Heil Hitler"? Seig Heil makes sense since it means "Victory Hail". The first I've heard of this is from the book, or was it only done when officials were nearby? It's interesting that stress is being incorporated into military training. I find it kind of odd, the example I like to use is the training program Captain Sobel put members of Easy company on, almost all of the veterans claim their well being and success during the war was due to Sobel's treatment back home. Easy Company also holds the most successful ratio for recruits passes as well do they not? Of course training is always half of it, but that's a different discussion.
Do you also know what they mean when they say "Terrorist"? At first I thought it was another name for Parisians but they are both referenced individually, this is the first I'm hearing of the as well. For development I am going to see if Sajer had looked into any other sources when writing his book. For instance, the speeches which he references but the inability to recall the name of certain battles, operations, people, etc. One of the criticisms of the book is the fact that speeches are quoted which seems a bit ridiculous since even the book Band of Brothers had full page speeches in it and that book was written 50 or so years after the war, Sajer wrote his 20-30 years after the war.. --Mehar Gill 16:57, 8 October 2009 (UTC)
I haven't gotten to that in the book, but the only Nazi use I knew of "terrorist" was "terror bomber", relating to Allied bombing.
"Heil Hitler" was indeed an official greeting throughout the Third Reich. The extent to which it was used in Wehrmacht units, I suspect, varied with the unit and its officers. Howard C. Berkowitz 22:16, 8 October 2009 (UTC)
Thanks for clearing that up, I heard their was some dislike among the Wehrmacht for Nazi's, especially those that weren't fighting on the front lines which made it kind of strange. The terrorist references are in the first chapter, when they are on the train I believe. --Mehar Gill 23:06, 8 October 2009 (UTC)

Original Publishing

I've managed to track down the ISBN of the French version of The Forgotten Soldier which was published in 1976, I don't know if this is the first publication of the book, if anyone can find one from an earlier time feel free to post. ISBN: 2-221-03739-1 --Mehar Gill 19:12, 4 October 2009 (UTC)

Images of Sajer

A Facebook group about the book has a few images of Sajer from the war and more recently, the ones with Sajer in them are marked, can they be of any use in this article?

Since to my knowledge images of Sajer are a rarity, can the war era ones also be used to justify or disprove certain arguments for and against the book? --Mehar Gill 19:26, 4 October 2009 (UTC)

Info box

I still see nothing but black boxes on the left side of the info box. Is it my browser? Also, I think you had better remove the image, because, as I just wrote somewhere else, I don't think you can use the "fair use" justification to put it in. Hayford Peirce 01:31, 6 October 2009 (UTC)

It seems to be working on my end, I used two different browsers and don't see any issues. Since the image is being "disputed" in a sense I will remove it. --Mehar Gill 01:44, 6 October 2009 (UTC)

Hmmm, the info box now looks fine to me -- maybe removing the image somehow fixed the other stuff? Hayford Peirce 02:09, 6 October 2009 (UTC)
Possibly, Drew said he worked on it as well so perhaps a change he made fixed the issues? --Mehar Gill 02:33, 6 October 2009 (UTC)
I don't know why, but the template had #000000 (black) as the background color for the labels. All I had to do was change it to #FFFFFF (white), and viola! Drew R. Smith 02:42, 6 October 2009 (UTC)


I'd like to see the controversy section expanded a bit more. What is the controversy about? What do the different sides of the argument say? Currently the Controversy section merely states that the author is the subject of some controversy. Details would be very enlightening. Drew R. Smith 02:09, 6 October 2009 (UTC)

I added the controversy section in recently to get an idea of the format and give others some working room if they wanted to help with it. I'm trying to find the more legitimate controversy, some of it essentially disclaimers itself by saying it can simply be a translation issue. Sajer isn't making things much easier either since he hasn't publicly addressed his book in who knows how long. I will definietly work and make mention of all of this in the coming days though.

The article is progressing nicely and much faster than I expected, it is well sourced and already more detailed than the Wikipedia article, it is also well on its way to become the most "complete" resource for those wishing to know more about the book! --Mehar Gill 02:33, 6 October 2009 (UTC)

I added a bit to the controversy section as well as found the original source for the photos I posted about above. His name is Doug Nash and he is a poster on the Axis History forum who has apparently been in contact with Sajer many times, he is also the one who posted about the rumored cancellation of the film. --Mehar Gill 21:12, 10 October 2009 (UTC)


Anyone else think the addition of a characters heading could be useful in this article? I think it could help, especially for the higher ups if one wishes to come here and learn more about say Herr Hauptmann? --Mehar Gill 21:38, 9 October 2009 (UTC)

Just checking: Herr Hauptmann is a form of address; Hauptmann was a Wehrmacht rank equivalent to U.S./U.K. captain; see Nazi military and SS ranks Howard C. Berkowitz 22:04, 9 October 2009 (UTC)
My mistake, his last name was Fink I believe, I knew Herr was a military rank but not Hauptmann. --Mehar Gill 01:36, 10 October 2009 (UTC)

Bundesarchiv Record

Does anyone here know if it's possible to retrieve war records from the Bundesarchiv similar to how you can in North America, Britain, the C.W.G.C., etc? I was looking for Guy Sajer's record since it could make a great addition to the controversy section about his service but I couldn't find where to link. I did find a few links from other sites pointing me in the right direction but they were all dead. --Mehar Gill 21:24, 10 October 2009 (UTC)


What else remains to be done with the article before its status can be elevated? --Mehar Gill 02:24, 9 October 2011 (UTC)

If you feel the article is well developed and relatively complete, you can upgrade it to 'developed' status yourself using the metadata template. if you think it's ready to be approved, you should leave me a note on the Approval Manager account talk page. --Joe Quick 02:46, 9 October 2011 (UTC)
I think it's looking good. Could benefit from a copyedit. I'm not familiar with the work so can't add anything substantial. From reading, however, I'd like to see better documentation of the controversial aspects, since these seem to be important. Your section is referenced to a website, but not with enough specific citing to individual authors with respect to what they believe the specific problems are. Aleta Curry 02:52, 9 October 2011 (UTC)
+there should be at least a selected critical biliography Aleta Curry 02:54, 9 October 2011 (UTC)