“He who goes to war does not remain his owner.”

In his latest work, the dean of German journalism, Herbert Kremp, gave us startling historical insights: teachings of monstrous importance today. It is about the beginning of World War II. This is not history. Once again, it’s Ukraine’s “Killing Fields” where armies meet – the area where Hitler’s attack on the Soviet Union unfolds and where the Red Army counterattacked and crushed the Wehrmacht. Our ancestors were familiar with the names: the battle of the Dnieper Crossing, the battle of Kharkiv, the tank battle at Kursk Bulge – what we suppressed was the return. Sometimes shivering. Doesn’t history repeat itself?

Thomas Kellinger, for his part was a great man when there was still such a thing in the German press, attesting that the Kremp was “a style appropriate as much as provocative, imbued with imagery as much as aggressive, thoughtful as much as combative, animated by great historical education.” “.

First there is the approach. The date is not listed from the end, in this case May 8, 1945, the day of the surrender of the Wehrmacht. Whoever chooses this approach sorts out facts and ideas according to the outcome, in this case the defeat of Hitler. But this defeat was not a foregone conclusion. No course of history is immutable. You did not follow a completed script. She is evolving. And so one of Kremp’s principles is: “He who goes to war does not remain its owner.” Things will turn out differently than the great strategists thought for sure.

Vladimir Putin, whom we now know with almost complete certainty, was confident that he could conquer Kyiv within 12 hours and that Ukraine would surrender in 3 days. Western politicians such as Christian Lindner were also convinced of this, and at first refused to hand over the weapons because of this desperation. It turned out differently. Putin became not “own” and decides to war, driven. But beware of reversal. Nor is his opponent Selenskyij not the owner, who has the victory in his pocket. The fortunes of war are deceptive and subject to change. In the greatest victory can be hidden defeat.

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This is Crimp’s intellectual strength: he figured out how Hitler had victoriously swept France—and yet he experienced what Crimp calls a “strategic infarction”: the Wehrmacht did not smash the British army off Dunkirk as well as it could have, but watched more or less slowdown as Winston Churchill executed the rescue of 300,000 men. Thousands of ships, boats and yachts. Great Britain remained defensive and Hitler did not dare to attack the chalk cliffs of Dover. His strategy to get Great Britain out of the war failed. It followed that the Anglo-Saxon world would counterattack. In the hour of victory, Hitler’s defeat was approaching: the war on two fronts against the United States, Great Britain and the Soviet Union, which the Germans had always feared and which the Germans fought and suffered as brutally as possible.

Hitler made a strategic shift and attacked the Soviet Union in order to eliminate this opponent before the attack came from the West from the “gradually flourishing alliance of British power, army, and resources”. This was not his original plan. Similarities come to mind. Because Kyiv did not fall and Ukraine did not surrender, Putin changed his strategy and attacked the south. Today we do not know how these battles will end. But it shows that: “war planning with limited purpose” is not possible. It’s not just about a new strategy – the new strategy involves risks that were not originally foreseen. In the new war, Ukraine not only fell, but is fighting, and after a short shock, the West recognized the new reality and agreed to help that would not have come in the event of a quick victory. It’s a “strategic infarction” with far-reaching consequences for the likely winner: Russia may even win in Donbass – but invade a deserted landscape of rubble and push Sweden and Finland into NATO – rather than keeping enemies at bay, they come closer, no matter who the smoky Donbass ultimately fall to. .

In this way, Kremp develops a kind of strategy theory that enables the reader to recognize and assess current developments—beyond the confusing propaganda chatter of both sides.

I must say: something is on your way! A historical work of over 700 pages. Absolutely correct reading for the holidays. Has the topic not been covered enough yet? number! MORNING GRAY by Herbert Kremp is based on comprehensive strategic analysis. In doing so, the author induces – intellectually and stylistically at the highest level – the correction of pervasive misconceptions about the goals and motives of forces acting against each other. Also because he chooses an impressive new perspective: he sees the actions of the actors determined by the successive coercion of war to which Stalin, Churchill, Mussolini, Roosevelt, and Adolf Hitler were subjected.

Some things are repeated – because Kremp is trying to analyze all the actors and their actions. The role of Yugoslavia like the other big and small powers, Hungarians, Poles, Finns and Sweden. There is an enormous wealth of material being published. You can profit from almost anything, let’s say: “Italy”, and the history of this country is already unfolding. Of course, also the development within the Soviet Union with a wealth of knowledge that continues to influence today.

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The author’s life story also offers fascinating insights into contemporary history: Herbert Crimp (1928-2020) studied philosophy, history, and constitutional law at the Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität in Munich, where in 1954 he received a degree from the cultural philosopher Alois Dempf, who was banned from teaching under the National Socialist Thesis on Cultural Theory of Oswald Spengler and Arnold Toynbee. At the same time, he studied economics in Frankfurt and completed his training at Frankfurter Neue Presse. In 1957, Karim became an editor at RHEINISCHE POST (RP), in 1959 the Berlin daily DER TAG, in 1961 he became a correspondent for the RP in Bonn and in 1969 its editor-in-chief. Between 1969 and 1985 he was the editor-in-chief of the daily DIE WELT three times, and from 1985 also its publisher. He was Axel Springer’s closest advisor and friend.

Crimp was subjected to public slander when, as editor-in-chief of the daily DIE WELT and close companion of Axel Springer in the 1970s, he represented the belief in a free and united Germany in the face of a sea of ​​opponents who conflated this faith with nationalism which it was not. Thanks to excellent contacts with Germany Behind the Iron Curtain, aware of the fragility of the alleged Soviet stability, made him doubt the imagination of this “stability” long before the fall of the Wall,” Thomas Killinger wrote in his preface. for this book.

Kremp has been awarded the Theodor Wolff twice and was one of the most distinguished representatives of conservative journalism in the best sense of the word for his strength of craftsmanship and his unblind, non-delusional view of everything he dealt with.

It’s great work, and often frustrating. But it is the book of this time, our present time.


Herbert Crimp, dawn. Since the beginning of World War II. Olzog edition in Lau-Verlag, 712 pages, €38.00.


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