world war one - regimental histories
Published Histories of the 73rd Füsilier Regiment
Following the end of the War, two books were published giving accounts of the activities of the 73rd Füsilier Regiment:
- Errinerungsblätter aus der Geschichte des Füsilier-Regiments Generalfeldmarschall Prinz Albrecht von Preußen (Hann.) Nr. 73 während des Weltkrieges 1914-1918. Nach den amtlichen Kriegstagebüchern bearbeitet im Auftrag des Füsilier-Bundes 73 von Dr. Max v. Szrzepanski, kgl. Preuß. Oberstleutnant a. D. (Oldenburg i. D. and Berlin: Gerhard Stalling, 1923).
- Geschichte des Füsilier-Regiments Generalfeldmarschall Prinz Albrecht von Preußen (Hann.) Nr 73. Im Auftrag des Füsilierbundes 73 nach amtlichen Unterlagen und unter Mitarbeit von Mitkämpfern bearbeitet und herausgegeben von Hans Voigt. (Berlin: Bernard & Graefe, 1938) (Deutsche Tat im Weltkrieg, 70).
Published regimental histories are a dubious historical source for a number of reasons because they are concerned primarily with presenting the War experience of their units in as favourable a light as possible. As a result, these accounts - and Voigt's in particular - are characterised by a language loaded with heroic pathos and nationalist sentiment, and, moreover, doubts must remain about the extent to which negative aspects have been omitted or glossed over - wilfully or otherwise.
Nevertheless, the regimental histories are useful because they place Jünger's narratives in the larger tactical and strategic context he neglected in his own works. What they do not do is deliver impressions of subjective experience at the front free of their own ideological ballast. Interestingly, Voigt actually cites Jünger's books - famous in their own right by 1938 - in order to bolster his own credibility. Thus, the narrative web becomes thicker. However, let it be said that no crass "factual" contradictions arise between Jünger's work and the Regimental Histories. We can therefore be fairly certain he was where he says he was, and when he says he was there.
Two incidents provide rich detail for closer comparison to Jünger's own texts:
© John King, 2017. Last updated Thu, 20th May 2010.