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Old 19 February 2024, 03:34 AM   #1
Groundcrew
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Life Post War

Hi everybody

Please forgive me if this has been discussed before

It occurred to me that for those young men that left the service to return to civilian life at so young an age it must have been an extraordinary adjustment to make. Imagine joining at say 19 and war ending at 21 and then going back to a job in a factory or office after flying missions
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Old 19 February 2024, 07:56 AM   #2
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I would highly recommend the book "In Our Youth" by Angus Scully (Heritage House 2022) subtitled "The Lives, Adventures and Sacrifices of Early Canadian Flyers".

It follows 29 young men, some of whom died over the battlefields, some of whom came home to greatness and some to tragedy.

Tony
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Old 19 February 2024, 10:52 AM   #3
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Thank you for the recommendation
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Old 20 February 2024, 08:55 AM   #4
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I think it was pretty subjective. Some got on fine as civilians, others not so much. The example of Ritter von Roeth comes to mind. From a personal point of view, my uncle survived four years of combat, two in the Fliegertruppe. Postwar he always tried to 'keep a foot in', first as CO of the Polizei-Fliegerstaffel in Karlshorst, later as a glider pilot before rejoining the DLV and NSFK in the early thirties followed by the Luftwaffe.
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Old 20 February 2024, 10:04 AM   #5
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As indicated by VtwinVince, for many German airmen, the fighting really didn't end on 11 November 1918. Many went on to serve in the Freikorps and fought on in the civil turmoil that followed - some in aviation units, others in ground formations. Quite a few who had achieved success and notoriety during the Great War perished in the conflicts that followed - some by the hands of their own countrymen. Berthold, Franz Buechner, Max Naether and others. If you're interested in this little-known era of conflict, there is no better source than Dick Bennett's new book "Last Gathering of Eagles."

Last Gathering of Eagles: Germany’s Freikorps and Reichswehr Air Force 1918–1920

I'm not pushing the book, just mentioning it in case you're interested.
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Old 20 February 2024, 06:01 PM   #6
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I've just re-read 'Ace of The Black Cross' by Ernst Udet. Has been years since last reading.

And what struck me was how he was at a total loss as to what to do when the war finished. Obviously bitter and confused at being on the losing side, yearning to still fly, greatly missing the camaraderie of other combat men; he drifted across the world taking any job that offered a chance to fly.Even so (and perhaps I'm reading too much between the lines) he was hardly a happy man.

And then, miracle of miracles, by 1935 he was happily back in uniform and fully supportive of Hitler and the rebirth of Germany. Disillusionment and suicide lay in his future.

Like Udet, other notable pilots of the Great War jumped on Hitler's New Germany bandwagon eg Osterkamp, Loerzer, von Greim, von Schleich.

I often wonder what role Manfred von Richthofen would have played in the Nazi regime if he had survived the Great War.
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Old 23 February 2024, 05:31 AM   #7
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Exclamation The good old can of worms...

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"I often wonder what role Manfred von Richthofen would have played in the Nazi regime if he had survived the Great War."
(Pips)

It would be a good idea to start a new thread in this connection. If you don't, not much will remain of this interesting original thread...

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Old 23 February 2024, 07:25 AM   #8
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You're exactly right Volker. This topic for speculation has been discussed on this Forum many times in the past, with varying viewpoints and opinions.
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Old 6 March 2024, 07:35 AM   #9
Volker_Nemsch
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Arrow Coming back…

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"It occurred to me that for those young men that left the service to return to civilian life at so young an age it must have been an extraordinary adjustment to make. Imagine joining at say 19 and war ending at 21 and then going back to a job in a factory or office after flying missions."

At least these young men had a much better chance to smoothly return to a civilian life. Farmers went back to their fields. Mechanics went back to workshops or factories. Office clerks went back to their job. All these men had a chance to return to the trades they learned before they became soldiers.

The poorest chaps (at least in my opinion) were those pupils and students becoming soldiers. The only trade they had learned when the war ended in late 1918 was to be a soldier. In addition they shared the experience that they had been thrown from youth directly into hell. What a cruel change of life…

https://imgur.com/a/lgvyPg1
https://imgur.com/a/LC00B4m

French and Belgian survivors had to return to a completely destroyed area – the former flontline(s). So, for the victors the outlook was a little better than for their German counterparts. They, in addition, had the feeling, that they had paid such a high price for nothing. Some of them (especially Austrian-Hungarians) soon found out that their old home now was located in another country.

Maybe the worst irony of history was, that their children had to fight another war...

I hope it was not wrong to include all soldiers of the Great War, no matter what colour their uniform had.

Any comment is welcome…

.
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Last edited by Volker_Nemsch; 6 March 2024 at 07:51 AM.
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Old 6 March 2024, 08:54 AM   #10
Volker_Nemsch
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Arrow Have you ever heard of...

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... the German painter Otto Dix?

Put this name into a search engine and you will see what many of these veterans had seen...

https://imgur.com/a/sRB0tvD

It might give you an idea about the "experience" these young men made...

.
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