Fighting for the Fatherland traces and analyzes three and a half centuries of the evolution of the German fighting man and the armies in which he served. It sets his patriotism against his cultural background and against the ever-changing national imperatives of his time.The German soldier's cultural legacy encompasses the romanticized Teutonic legends of Germanic mythology. The more immediate and pragmatic imperatives of Brandenburg's and Prussia's national survival during the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries reinforced the Germans' emerging awareness of their wider national identity, precipitating the heady brew of spectacular military victories and imperialist aspirations that dominated the following century. But then came the humiliating Versailles Treaty and the pervasive lure of National Socialism, a perverse path that left Germany divided in 1945 after a world war that saw both the zenith and nadir of the German soldier's fortunes. Finally, yet another culture, with its very different priorities, today underwrites the post-Cold War Bundeswehr of a reunified Germany. David Stone explores the true nature of the German soldier-his motivation, his preparation for war, his conduct in battle-and those aspects of his training, organization, leadership, and lifestyle that reveal why this fighter for his fatherland has proven so formidable and has had such a pronounced impact upon European and world history during the past 350 years. With a foreword by Richard Holmes.