THE MEMOIRS OF FIELD-MARSHAL KEITEL by Field-Marshal Wilhelm Keitel

THE MEMOIRS OF FIELD-MARSHAL KEITEL

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KIRKUS REVIEW

Keitel wrote these memoirs while awaiting execution as a war criminal. He was Chief of the German Armed Forces High Command. Inevitably one questions whether they are self-serving rather than a legacy to history. But one cannot doubt their documentary importance. It was Keitel who signed the Instrument of Unconditional Surrender following Hitler's suicide. His main defense during the Nuremberg trials was that he was a soldier given to absolute obedience and honor bound to the code which had elevated him to the office he occupied. He had to follow Hitler's orders which here he recognizes as dastardly. However since his replacement would have been Himmler, he thought it best to stay in office and softpedal Hitler's worst orders.(?) Not a member of the officer class (i.e. a Junker), Keitel really would have preferred to be a farmer...Over Keitel's shoulder we follow Hitler from room to room; we ride through Vienna on the day of Austria's collapse and witness the cunning squeeze-play which caused Czechoslovakia's fall; we visit the Arc de Triomphe and Napoleon's Tomb with Hitler; Keitel was with him when the bomb exploded in the Fuehrer's headquarters. In many ways, this is an irreplaceable series of vignettes, extracted from his much longer original manuscript.

Pub Date: Feb. 2nd, 1966
Publisher: Stein & Day