Has there ever been a diary from someone from WWII

Discussion in 'Non-Military Biographies' started by Gin0710, Nov 1, 2014.

  1. Gin0710

    Gin0710 Member

    Besides from Anne Frank? Hers is the only diary I really know of, but I haven't heard of others that aren't by soldiers. Anyone have suggestions or know of others?
  2. Interrogator#6

    Interrogator#6 Active Member

    Yes. Many. May I suggest a trip to your local library and a conversation with the Professional Librarian? He/She should be aware of a bibliograpy of WWII, diaries.

    I know the Germans high officials kept diaries as part of their job. J.Gobbels, for instance, even had his translated into English and published. Some 20-30 years there was a bit of a flap when David Irving first authenticated the diaries of Adolf H., then reneged. Great embarrasment, that.

    Albert Speer wrote INSIDE THE THIRD REICH from his personal perspective. As one of the top surviving 'intimate' of Adolf he reviels some historically good stuff. But some say he white-washed some facts to make himself appear less guilty.

    Diaries of service-members -- none come readily to mind. One problem is those who saw combat were warned NOT to keep diaries lest they be of use to the enemy if captured. As an MOS interrogator I can atest to the constant interest in such finds, with writer or without.

    I recall reading occassionally "I was there" histories based on diaries but these were normally just the publication of the raw diary, as that would have been almost nonsence to the person not intimate with the events described.

    Many unit commanders wrote 'After Action Reports'. These are almost like diaries, and often almost as useless. Often they are written in jargon and often are repetative. On the rare, rare ocasion someone risks their career and writes a good report, telling truths and exposing what really went on, but, as I said, it is rare. Few people are that brave.

    I read part of an interesting book years ago. I want to say the author was Liddel-Hart, but it was a long time ago. It was entitled something like: "Why We can't Learn from Military History". I recall the writer relating his witnessing French officer falseifying after-action reports after a WWI battle. "Por qua?" he asked. "To make us look less foolish for the history books," was the answer. I wonder how many times this has occured -- I suppose many.

    One book I can recommend without reservation is Bill Mauldin's UP FRONT. He was a cartoonist for the US Army during the war And though never saw combat he apparently saw lots of mud. But it is not strictly a diary. This book was turned into a poor movie, a comedy, and Bill Mauldin himself got second billing in the movie "Red Badge of Courage" after Audie Murphy.
    Gin0710 likes this.
  3. Gin0710

    Gin0710 Member

    Thank you interrogator. I appreciate the information!

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