The book The forgotten Soldier by Guy Soldier is an autobiography of Guy Sager, a member of the Red Troops, who served in the World War II, and was written in 1965. The book reveals the real life experiences of the German soldiers in the Eastern War front. Although most people have read from historical books about the Germans experience during the WWII, Sager’s personal account reveals the traumatizing incidences that enable the readers to conclude that it was a mistake for the Germans to engage in the war, because they did not have any chance to overcome the enemy forces. The troubling winter, limited supplies, harassment by the commanders, and limited number of Red Forces denied them a chance to beat their enemies; however, the book has been criticized negatively due to some historical inaccuracies.
Terror, anguish, and misery are the major themes in the book by Sager. At some point, the German soldiers had to urinate on one another’s hands to in order to overcome the impacts of the cold winter. As time passed on, their fear continued to mount as evidenced where Sager notes that “ Our fear was so great that we lost all thought of controlling ourselves” (Sager 446). The limited supplies made hunger a normal experience that they had to deal with. As the Red Army begins to lose in the Eastern front, Sager’s options get limited and are forced to retreat. Along with his colleagues, their decision to volunteer in the Gross Deutschland yields limited fruits and their experience does not improve.
Initially, Sager and his colleagues spent most of their time supplying the solders in the frontline; however, after constant harassment from the Russia planes that were strafing, and thus had taken control of the airspace, along with the fierce fire from the Russian tanks on the ground, Sager spent most of his time in the rearguard positions. As the war conditions worsen, Sager along with his Unit begin to retreat through Ukraine, Baltic Coast, into Prussia as a defeat seems inevitable. They only have a limited option of surrendering to the American or British troops before the Russian Troops run over them. This happens to be a flaw in the books because Sager happens to be display the Russians as a group of masses who goes into war without second thought. Sager does not display the Russians as soldiers with any professionalism.
The book appears to seek sympathy for the German soldiers who were crashed during the WWWII. Although the book German soldiers suffered greatly due to the harsh climatic condition and their lack of expertise and unfamiliarity with the terrain, one can justify that they got what they deserved. This is because the German soldiers are responsible for holocaust and destruction of Europe. Therefore, although Sager dedicates his book to the fallen soldiers, it is irrational for the reader to have sympathy for the German soldiers.
Although there have been incidences where the book is negatively criticized, Sager is able to reveal the real experience of the Germans troops during the WWII. The horrible experience in the rear or front position should be a lesson to most soldiers and nations when making decision on whether to engage in War. The lessons learn from Sager calls for better methods of conflict management rather than engaging in War that ends up with catastrophic impacts on both the infrastructure and life.
Sajer, Guy. The Forgotten Soldier. Washington, D. C: Brassey’s, 2000. Print.