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Gerd Schultze-Rhonhof (born 26 May 1939) is a German author and former Generalmajor in the German Army of the Bundeswehr.

Biography[]

Schultze-Rhonhof was born in Weimar. He entered military service in 1959 a few years after the Bundeswehr was founded. When he retired in 1996, he was Territorial Commander-in-chief in charge of Lower Saxony and Bremen and held the rank of Generalmajor (Major General).

The year before, he gained prominence by publicly criticizing the verdict of the Bundesverfassungsgericht approval of the use of the so-called Soldaten sind Mörder-quote ("soldiers are murderers", 1931 by Kurt Tucholsky), and his decision to retire due to this. He also left the evangelical church after bishop Wolfgang Huber called for an exclusion of Martin Hohmann from the CDU. In recent years, Schultze-Rhonhof published works on the history of the Causes of World War II in Europe. In this context, in May 2006 he and historians Stefan Scheil and Walter Post took part in a conference organized by the publishers Wigbert Grabert and Gert Sudholt (which are assessed as extreme right by Verfassungsschutz, the German Federal Agency for Internal Security).

“1939 - Der Krieg, der viele Väter hatte” (The War which had many Fathers)[]

In his book “Der Krieg, der viele Väter hatte”, he argues that Adolf Hitler had not wanted to risk war right until September 1939. Thus, Schultze-Rhonhof especially blames Poland for the outbreak of World War II as a result the rejection of German willingness of negotiations. Besides, also Great Britain, France, the United States and the Soviet Union had taken their part in the outbreak of the war because they had driven Poland into the war. Though admitting he did not write a scientific book Schultze-Rhonhof accuses German historians of not analysing the origins of World War II correctly. Official publications as the Documents on German Foreign Policy had been manipulated, and even today German academic history and educational publishers were forced to maintain Germany’s sole responsibility for the outbreak of the war. Well-known sources revealing Hitler’s will to war (for instance the Halder War Diary) are ignored or doubted. Schultze-Rhonhof’s book therefore stands in a long tradition of revisionist literature on the origins of World War II though it never reaches the same level of sophistication as A.J.P. Taylor’s The Origins of the Second World War.

The bibliography includes 178 titles, and is dominated by revisionist and extreme right authors such as David L. Hoggan, Paul Rassinier and Erich Kern or German right-wing conservatives. Results of historical research are not or barely mentioned and are not considered by Schultze-Rhonhof. Instead, he relies on already printed documents on contemporary foreign policy.

Reception[]

Schultze-Rhonhofs writings on the origins of World War II have not been accepted as accurate by professional historians. His claim that Hitler had been against a war with Poland goes against the conventional opinion in historical research and academic teaching. Schultze-Rhonhofs book has been reviewed by important German newspapers as Die Welt[1] and Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung.[2] Both articles assessed it as “myth-creating” and “abstruse”.

Works[]

  • 1939 - Der Krieg, der viele Väter hatte - Der lange Anlauf zum Zweiten Weltkrieg, 4th ed. 2003. [3]
  • Wozu noch tapfer sein?, 1997 [4]

Notes[]

  1. [1] Sven Felix Kellerhoff: Der Stoff, aus dem die Mythen sind. Nicht nur für Hohmann: Von der Mühe der Historiker, Vor- und Fehlurteile über Juden und Drittes Reich abzubauen. In: Die WELT, 20.3.2003.
  2. [2] Christian Hartmann: Im Generalsblick. Abstruses zur Vorgeschichte des Zweiten Weltkriegs. In: Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, 26.11.2003, Nr. 275, S. 8.

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