Pro patria limits to military obedience and soldierly honor in modern continental Europe; case studies from Polish and German military history
Tkaczyk, Robert A.
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The present study analyzes cases when, officers considered themselves relieved of their duty as soldiers in favor of adhering either to what they believed was a higher loyalty and professional purposes or to their own personal interpretation of such values of honor, obedience, responsibility, discipline, intergrity and political neutrality. What are the limits of obedience for a military officer? The soldiers of Poland and Germany have served their nation and several regimes in modern history. The changes in those regimes have not been without effect on the professional self-images of those professional officers. How can the ideals of national loyalty and loyalty to individual conscience in the face of an unjust regime be reconciled with the dictates of democratic civil military relations and with the need to anchor the soldier in a constitutional system? Can one, at the same time, from a different political perspective, be both a hero and a traitor? What are the similarties and differences between the moral aspects of being an officer along with an officer's professionalism in the more narrow perspective of early and mid-20th century? The present study treats the matter of soldierly loyalty, military command and obedience and the transition from totalitarian to democratic rule in central Europe in the 20th century as such affects especially soldiers in the state.
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