A Pacifist At Iwo Jima, Unsung Heroes Of The Dachau Trials, And Hitler's Stormtroopers Book Reviews

A Pacifist At Iwo Jima, Unsung Heroes Of The Dachau Trials, And Hitler’s Stormtroopers Book Reviews

Being there . . . . at the front door awaiting summer’s initial arrivals of riveting reading, knowing full well as a prescient collector it will be McFarland & Company, Inc., Publishers that will deliver . . .


The First in a Ten-Part Series

“Happiness does not wait. For illimitable, illuminating, inimitable books to enjoy and relish this June, July, and August, look no farther than the new mid-year announcements of titles and authors from America’s best military publishers, McFarland, Casemate, Naval Institute, Osprey, Schiffer, and Texas A & M Consortium to arrive . . .”

-Quoted from a reviewer of sorts, May 29, 2022

Reviewed and highly recommended by Don DeNevi

A few days ago, within moments of having submitted for posting in ARGunners my review seriously endorsing “Black Dragon,” the reanimated-novelized extraordinary experiences of a WWII Marine rifle company in the Central Pacific, particularly Iwo Jima, the following mélange of three equally meritorious books published by McFarland were delivered via overnight mail. Careful not to slice their book jackets while opening the box, I was surprised, but mostly delighted, to find among the three titles deserving praise was “A Pacifist at Iwo Jima – – Rabbi Roland Gittelsohn, From Pulpit to the U.S. Marine Corps’ Bloodiest Battle”, by Lee Mandel.

A Pacifist at Iwo Jima

A PACIFIST AT IWO JIMA – – Roland Gittelsohn, From Pulpit to the U.S. Marine Corps’ Bloodiest Battle”, by Lee Mandel. McFarland & Company, Publishers: 260 pages.sc; $39.95.

In the 1930s, Rabbi Gittelsohn, still in his 20’s, was being celebrated as a renowned scholar and an outspoken pacifist. After the 7 December 1941 “dastardly attack” on Pearl Harbor, he had a transformation, volunteering to serve as a Chaplain in the U.S. Navy, becoming the first Rabbi ever deployed with the USMC in the Corps’ 5th Division in the Pacific. As an intrinsic and integral part of the Iwo invasion, Rabbi Gittelsohn was in the heart and heat of battle as much as any Marine of the 5th. Day after day, he witnessed common everyday uncommon valor. In Chapter Twenty-Six, author Mandel, in a truly eloquent statement, summarizes in easy-to-digest and accept narration Gittelsohn’s painful reasoning why pacifism failed.

It is Chapter Twenty-Four, “The Purest Democracy”, that is worth solid gold. At the war’s end during the dedication of the 5th Marine Division cemetery near Iwo’s Mount Suribachi, Rabbi Gittelsohn delivered a speech that to this day is referred in the Corps as the “Gettysburg Address of World War II”. This superlative life history is based upon multiple sources, including the Rabbi’s hitherto unpublished papers. Writes Michael Berenbaum, Professor of Jewish Studies, American Jewish University, Los Angeles, “The biography is a most compelling portrait of a great American. One comes away from the portrait deeply impressed, profoundly moved. Roland Gittelsohn’s life and work are more important today than ever before as patriotism is being trivialized and politicized.”

Unsung Heroes of the Dachau Trials

UNSUNG HEROES OF THE DACHAU TRIALS – – The Investigative Work of the U.S. Army 7708 War Crimes Group, 1945 – 1947”, by John J. Dunphy. McFarland & Company, Publishers: 188 pages, sc; $35.

The U.S. Army 7708 War Crimes Group investigated atrocities committed in Germany and Nazi-occupied Europe during World War II. These young Americans, many barely out of their teens, gathered evidence, interviewed witnesses, apprehended fugitives and suspects, and prosecuted defendants at trials held at Dachau. Their work often put them in harm’s way – – some suspects facing arrest prefer to shoot it out.

Author John Dunphy, an author and bookshop owner who lives in Godfrey, Illinois, has painstakingly documented and narrated how the War Crimes Group successfully prosecuted the perpetrators of the Malmedy Massacre in which 84 American prisoners of the war were shot by their German captors, and Waffen-SS command Otto Skorzeny, aptly described as “the most dangerous in Europe.” Operation Paperclip, however, placed some war criminals – – scientists and engineers recruited by the U.S. government – – beyond their reach. From the ruins of the Third Reich arose a Nazi underground that preyed upon Americans – – especially the members of the group. Meticulously in its research, the book is a splendid introduction to honest justice in the aftermath of World War II Europe.

Hitler's Stormtroopers and the Attack on the German Republic

HITLER’S STORMTROOPERS and the Attack on the German Republic, 1919-1933”, by Otis C. Mitchell. McFarland & Company, Publishers: 191 pages, sc; $29.95.

“Hitler was Nazi Germany and Nazi Germany was Hitler”. Though true to the extent that Hitler’s personality, leadership, and ideological convictions played a massive role in shaping the nature of government and life during the Third Reich, the popular view has led many writers since the end of World War II to overlook important aspects of Nazism while centering attention solely on Hitler’s contributions to the Nazi Party.

This book seeks to fill a significant gap in the literature on World War II by concentrating particularly on the Nazi Party and its growth during the years of the Weimar Republic (1918 to 1933), examining the paramilitary presence in Germany and Bavaria after World War I. Most of the book describes the development of the Nazi Storm Detachment ( Sturmabteilung, or SA) before and after the failed Beer Hal Putsch in 1923.

By the time Hitler came to power on 30 January 1933, there were more than 400,000 brown-shirted men, often self-styled revolutionaries, creating violence daily, destroying the Weimar Republic’s underpinnings. Photographs captured from the Nazi Party’s Central Publishers Facility in Munich were passed on to author Otis C. Mitchell, professor emeritus of history at the University of Cincinnati and author of more than a dozen books in the field of German history, who edited them into his treatise.