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  Faculty Profile  Faculty ProfileLast Modified Time: 05:18:45 PM Wed, 12 Jun 2013 
 Robert  Citino
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Robert Citino
Professor-History
 
Office LocationWooten Hall, Room No.: 256 
Email  robert.citino@unt.edu    World War II Magazine Blog, "Front and Center" World War II Magazine Blog, "Front and Center"   Wikipedia: Robert M. Citino Wikipedia: Robert M. Citino   
Graduate Faculty Membership Status: Full Membership-Permanent   
toggle toggle Professional Preparation
 DegreeMajor/Thesis/DissertationInstitutionYear
 Ph.D.Dissertation: "Polen greift an: Germany's Defenses in the East, 1918-1933" (Dissertation Advisor: Dr. Barbara Jelavich)Indiana University, Bloomington, IN1984
 M.A.European History/Military HistoryIndiana University, Bloomington, IN1980
 B.A.European History/Military HistoryOhio State University, Columbus, OH1978
toggle toggle Courses Taught By Semester --- Organized Classes will be uploaded from THECB Data file
SemesterSubjectCourse NumberSectionCourse NameCalculated Semester Credit HoursSyllabus 
Spring 2013HIST4263008Topics in African, Asian, or Latin American History Download Syllabus
Fall 2012HIST4262002Topics in European History  
Spring 2012HIST4260001Topics in History Download Syllabus
Summer 2011HIST4262001Topics in European History  
Fall 2011HIST4262001Topics in European History Download Syllabus
Fall 2011HIST5220001Studies in United States Military/Diplomatic  
Spring 2011HIST4260001Topics in History Download Syllabus
Fall 2010HIST4071001Korea, Vietnam, and the American Military Experience Download Syllabus
Fall 2010HIST5220001Studies in United States Military/Diplomatic History45 
toggle toggle Research and Expertise
History, Modern Europe
 

Military History, Germany
 

Military History, US
 

toggle toggle Appointments
Duration (YYYY - YYYY or Present)RankDepartment / SchoolCollege / OfficeUniversity / Company
2013-PresentProfessorHistory DepartmentCASUNT
2013-2014Visiting ProfessorDept of National Security and Strategy US Army War College, Carlisle, PA
2009-2011Associate ProfessorHistory Department UNT
2008-2009Charles Boal Ewing Visiting Professor of Military HistoryHistory Department U.S. Military Academy, West Point, NY
1991-2008ProfessorHistory Department Eastern Michigan University
1984-1991ProfessorHistory Department Lake Erie College
toggle toggle Faculty Workload
Duration (YYYY - YYYY)Percentage TeachingPercentage ResearchPercentage Service
2013-2014404020
2012-2013404020
2011-2012404020
2010-2011404020
2009-2010404020
toggle toggle Publications
  Type  Publications per page   1  2 3 4 5 6 
  YearPublication  Type
2012
Published
The Wehrmacht Retreats: Fighting a Losing War in 1943.  WInner of the Distinguished Book Award for 2013, Society for Military History

 
University Press of Kansas
Book
2012
Published
"India's Blitzkrieg."  Military History 29, no. 1 (May 2012).



 
 
Journal Articles
2011
Published
“The Prussian Tradition, the Myth of the Blitzkrieg and the Illusion of German Military Dominance, 1939-41,” in Frank McDonough, ed., Origins of the Second World War: An International Perspective.  London:  Continuum, 2011.

 
Continuum (London)
Book chapters
2011
Published
"Manstein, the Battle of Kharkov, and the Limits of Command," in Michael S. Neiberg, ed., Arms and the Man: Military History Essays in Honor of Dennis Showalter.  Leiden (The Netherlands):  Brill, 2011. 
 
Brill (The Netherlands)
Book chapters
2011
Published
"Military History at the Operational Level:  an Interview with Robert M. Citino." Historically Speaking:  the Bulletin of the HIstorical Society 12, no.3 (June 2011).
 
 
Refereed(Peer reviewed) Journals
toggle toggle Editorships
Duration (YYYY - YYYY or Present)OrganizationPositionClassification
2005-PresentPraeger/ABC-CLIOSeries Editor, "War, Weapons, and Technology" 
toggle toggle News Articles
EMU's Citino ranked #1 professor in the country
Focus EMU Online

German history isn't just a course that Robert Citino teaches. It's his livelihood and passion. That passion and his love of teaching have now paid off for the Eastern Michigan University professor.

Citino, 49, was recently named the highest rated professor in America by ratemyprofessors.com, an online student rating service.

RobertCitino

CITINO RATES: Robert Citino, an
Eastern Michigan University
professor of history, was recently
named the highest rated professor in
America by ratemyprofessors.com

The first RateMyProfessors.com Top 50 Rankings lists featured Citino as the "highest rated and hottest college professor."

"I don't know if I'm even the best teacher in Ypsilanti, but this is quite pleasing," said Citino, an internationally known military historian. "I found out about the honor from a student and then it appeared in USA Today."

Students cited Citino for his lectures and enthusiasm. A few comments were "I love it when he lectures because he makes it interesting;" "He keeps you interested and makes me want to learn more when class is over;" and "He's an excellent professor. He has impeccable lectures and is extremely helpful outside of the classroom. No one at EMU should miss the opportunity to take one of his classes."

"He is the best professor I have ever seen," said Marty Shichtman, professor of English language and literature, who co-teaches a class with Citino. "He is exceedingly smart, quick on his feet and very charismatic. He's also very disciplined and organized, and the students love him."

The war years of 1939-1945 may seem long ago, said Citino, but there is no doubt that students are interested in this time period.

His classes include "Hitler's Germany;" "Modern German History 1815 to present," and "Culture and the Holocaust," which he teaches with colleagues Joanna Scott, professor of political science, and Shichtman.

"Students select these classes. There is a huge interest in this era," said Citino, who became interested in the period when he was younger. "I think that generation is passing away and it affects students and adults. The American perspective about that war was seen in black and white. It was much more clear than it is today."

Although Citino spends a lot of time in the classroom, he's also an internationally known author of eight books about the German military and has appeared as an expert on the History Channel. His last four books were featured as Books of the Month with the Military History Book Club and the History Book Club.

"My scholarly field is what the German army brought to war. I try to narrate events so a non-specialist can follow. I provide meat for the scholars and good reading for everyone else," he said. "There were dramatic changes in World War II. The German army uncorked a run of victories not seen since Napoleon. It is still hard to wrap your mind around it. Then, it fell apart in 1942 and it never won another appreciable victory."

Citino's latest book, "Death of the Wehrmacht: The German Campaigns of 1942," was recently released. He'll be signing copies of his book Nov. 9, 6:30 p.m., at the Motte Bailey Book Store, 212 N. Fourth Ave., in Ann Arbor.

 

Who's the hottest teacher in the US?
The Guardian UK

Comment

Who's the hottest teacher in the US?

A poll of the best university and college teachers in the US maybe completely unreliable, but, says John Sutherland, it does raise some awkward questions

ProfessorRobertCitino
Professor Robert Citino, the best university teacher in the US according to the RateMyProfessors.com poll

Of the 400,000 university and college teachers in the US. Who's best? Who's "hottest"? Who's #1?

Ask no more. MTV gives us the answer. The music channel bought RateMyProfessors.com (RMP) earlier this year. As firstborn of that grotesque marriage, RMP has just issued its inaugural "Annual RateMyProfessors.com Top 50 Rankings". Hold on to your mortarboards.

As RMP explains: "Millions of college students grade their professors on RateMyProfessors.com and for the first time, we're using your great input to recognize those with the highest ratings! Now you can see who your peers have rated as the best and hottest professors in the country, and which schools love their professors the most. Don't see any of your teachers on the lists? Then get to rating them right here on RateMyProfessors.com."

I looked for my name: alas - not to be seen. Get to rating me, students.

If he hasn't already peeked, the Muhammad Ali of profs, the queen of the academic parade, the fairy at the top of the academic tree, is - wait for it - Professor Robert Citino.

Prof Citino teaches history at Eastern Michigan University (EMU), and is a specialist in World War II military history. Judging by his students' feedback cited by EMU, he is indeed an impressive classroom performer. But not, by RMP criteria, the hottest. The hotty accolade (or the "big chilli", as RMP iconographs it) goes to Maria Disavino, a professor of chemistry at Manhattan College.

Manhattan College. Ever heard of it? I thought not.

What is striking is that none of the top 50 teachers, as reflected by RMP's 10-million-strong electorate, is affiliated to an Ivy League establishment, or one of those snobby, vastly expensive institutions like Swarthmore, Haverford or Trinity which pride themselves on their teaching.

The RMP winners come, all of them, from places which snootier academics who top-rate themselves, or top-rate their institutions, would never aspire to work in - any more than they would appreciate being peer-reviewed by Russell Brand on MTV. After Citino, the next three top professors are affiliated to the College of Charleston, Rhode Island College and Marshall University respectively.

Go to the top-rated institution, by student vote, and what is top of that greasy pole? You'd never guess: Brigham Young (aka "Mormonville"), followed by Southeastern Louisiana University, Christopher Newport University and Stephen F. Austin University.

Yale, Harvard, Chicago, MIT - those names which are known, and envied, worldwide? No shows. Correct that. Cornell comes in at number 50 on the top institution ranking, just below the Kutztown University of Pennsylvania - not company the prestigious New York state institution usually likes to keep.

None of the professorial names in the best/hottest top 50 academics is among those which grace such high-class journals as the New York Review of Books, or American Scholar, Raritan, Nature or Econometrica. Citino's latest monograph, Death of the Wehrmacht, is published by the University of Kansas Press - highly respectable, but a good division lower, in academic clout, than, say, Chicago or Oxford University Press (USA).

The top-rated English literature teacher, Kateryna Schray (Marshall University), has, as far as I can make out, nothing between hard covers at all. But her students testify to her as the best teacher of her subject in the country.

Obviously, as a conventional register of quality - whether of staff, scholarship, or courses - the MTV/RMP poll is less reliable than weather forecasting with seaweed. No statistician would see it as anything other than a joke. Sneering aside though, it does furnish food for thought. And uncomfortable thought.

What it reveals to me is that the level of student satisfaction is higher the lower you go down the prestige scale. That is, undergraduates at, say, Rhode Island College, or Stephen F. Austin University, feel they are getting a better deal than Yalies, Caltechers or Princetonians.

It could be the students in those less classy places are less demanding, or humbler. It could be the fees aren't so vexatiously high in these less famous places, giving a better sense of value for money.

But the real reason, I suspect, is that those students are indeed getting a better classroom experience. They are not being relegated to unqualified and unenthusiastic TAs (teaching assistants - ie students a rung or two up the professional ladder), or herded into so-called "seminars" 30 students strong. They are not discovering that the name professor - who attracted them to the place in the first place - is off on three years' sabbatical on the other side of the world, and wouldn't, anyway, been seen dead teaching History 101, or Freshman Chem. Isn't that why God invented TAs?

If you go to EMU, Prof Citino will be there a few feet away; he'll know your name; he'll be accessible during his office hours (and at other times); and you'll remember what he taught you the rest of your life. So too with Professors Disavino or Schray. They are, as Americans like to say, there for you. Professor Worldfamous at the University of Ivory Tower probably isn't.

The other uncomfortable food for thought is how little good teaching counts in professional advancement, in both the UK and the US. You can be the best lecturer and classroom teacher in the system - but if you don't have the publications, you won't get tenure: at least not at the best schools. You can be a worse lecturer than Professor Spooner or Mrs Malaprop, but if you've got the necessary publications in the necessary places your future is assured. There's something wrong there, somewhere.

So, look at those rankings - cheap and MTVish as they seem - and draw your own conclusions. Mine, as I say, are uncomfortable.


A Passion for Teaching
Times Higher Education (London)

A passion for teaching

4 September 2008

"Passionate and uncompromising dedication and commitment. Sparkling intelligence and enthusiasm. The greatest professor I ever had."

"He is the most passionate teacher I have ever had in my life. He flies around the room and makes every lecture enjoyable to attend."

Robert Citino, a military historian at Eastern Michigan University, attracted 26 pages of comments such as these to become RateMyProfessors' Number 1 Professor in the Nation last year.

The word "passion" features regularly in students' descriptions of their best teachers - both the passion tutors have for their subject and the passion they summon for sharing their learning with others.

It's a word that is often lost in the jungle of bureaucracy or the demands of the research assessment exercise. And in the midst of both, it can be all too easy to lose sight of the privilege and responsibility of transforming the lives of a generation of students.

With the advent of university tuition fees, the National Student Survey, websites such as RateMyProfessors and a growing focus on the student experience, being a good teacher is rightly being brought centre stage.

Here, Tom Palaima of the University of Texas at Austin opens our series with a cri de coeur about the importance of teaching. Although some details of his essay are specific to his location and situation, the story of the challenges in imparting knowledge to new generations is universal....



Experts on Oscar contenders' accuracy
Variety Online

Experts on Oscar contenders' accuracy

Pros provide a reality check for best pic hopefuls


Robert M. Citino on
INGLOURIOUS BASTERDS

I laughed and I cried, but mostly I winced. It's not a history movie at all. It's a revenge fantasy, and as that it works pretty well. That nearly final shot with Shosanna on the screen with the place going up in flames and Hitler's getting machine-gunned, there's a part of me that loved seeing that deeply, but not the historian part of me.

My first reaction to the movie was, 'This movie's nonsense. Nothing even remotely like it happened in World War II.' Of course, that's the tragedy. Nobody came to the rescue of the Jews or any of the other victims of Nazism. It took four long years to bring that problem under wraps. There was no instant solution to it.

Seth Rogen has a line in "Knocked Up" about being Jewish. He says, whenever you see a movie with Jews, they're getting their assess kicked. Maybe Tarantino decided he was going to do something about that problem and give the underdog the upper hand.

I was born in 1958, and I grew up watching really ridiculous war movies in the '60s and the '70s -- tough-guy American soldiers doing one ridiculous, impossible thing after the other, with the Germans apparently being the stupidest people on the planet. This movie reminded me of those movies. To be fair, no one took films like "The Dirty Dozen" as art, as some people take Tarantino's films.

As a historian, I was interested in Landa's character. He was completely amoral and the one completely realistic note in the film. At the end, it's like any dictatorship. There are a lot of people who shot themselves when that regime went down. They couldn't bear to live in a world without Hitler. But there were other people who fled to points north, south, east and west and tried to get out of Germany. And that's Landa. It struck a human note for an otherwise one-dimensional character.

Robert M. Citino, a specialist in German military history, was ranked "No. 1 Professor in the Nation" by former students on the site ratemyprofessors.com. He is the author of eight books and teaches at the Barsanti Military History Center at the U. of North Texas.



No. 1 military history professor comes to UNT
UNT Daily

No. 1 military history professor comes to UNT

November 30, 2009 by Arts-Life-Editor  
Filed under Arts & Life

By Christina Thurston / Contributing Writer

When Robert Citino received a picture book about World War II, the images enthralled him.

So much so that the book inspired his love for teaching military history.

“The notion of this event that had taken people, lifted them out of their lives and put them somewhere else halfway around the world, in places they didn’t even know on a map, interests me,” he said. “Virtually everyone in the country played a role in that conflict. It’s something that we have a hard time understanding today.”

Citino began teaching this semester in the history department, giving lectures in courses on World War II and American military history in the 20th century. He is one of America’s foremost authorities on German military history and warfare and has authored eight books on the subject.

“I have to say, if you can’t walk into a room and get fired up about WWII, then you should be in a different line of work. It was a pretty exciting sequence of events,” Citino said. “Some of it’s heroic and other parts of it are ghastly. Droning on about WWII in a monotone, I couldn’t see myself doing that, the events of it are too important.”

His conversational teaching style was a hit with students, as he was voted the number one professor in the nation in 2007 on Ratemyprofessors.com.

“Now, because Ratemyprofessors.com is owned by MTV, I got a call from MTV saying we want to come to your house and film you,” he said.

MTV filmed his reactions to students’ online comments.

But Citino’s appearance on the network isn’t his only celebrity claim.

He also appears as a consultant on the History Channel, notably on “Hard Target,” a show hosted by another UNT professor, Geoffrey Wawro.

“Rob is one of the leading historians on military history in the world today and a real catch for the University of North Texas,” Wawro said. “I’ve hosted many shows on the History Channel and enjoy having him on as a guest because of his decisive, illuminating comments.”

Citino spent the last 20 years teaching at Eastern Michigan University in Ypsilanti, Mich., but when he saw a job opening at UNT, he saw an opportunity beyond the immediate teaching position.

“I already knew a couple of people on the faculty, and I knew and respected their work,” he said. “I really like being here because of the top-notch faculty I get to have as my colleagues.”

In 2008, he was offered the annual guest teaching position in the history department at the United States Military Academy at West Point, which invites one professor to teach in the department each year.

“It was a high honor and a really big moment for me,” Citino said. “The biggest thing about teaching there wasn’t just a point on my résumé, but really getting to know the cadets.”

After teaching for 25 years, Citino feels at home in the classroom but admits to having a minor crisis during the mental preparation for West Point because of the structural difference from civilian classrooms.

“They called me Sir,” Citino said. “I’ve been teaching college for 25 years and I’ve never gotten saluted or called sir. It was like I fell down from Mars.”

“I have to say, if you can’t walk into a room and get fired up about WWII, then you should be in a different line of work. It was a pretty exciting sequence of events,” Citino said. “Some of it’s heroic and other parts of it are ghastly. Droning on about WWII in a monotone, I couldn’t see myself doing that, the events of it are too important.”

His conversational teaching style was a hit with students, as he was voted the number one professor in the nation in 2007 on Ratemyprofessors.com.

“Now, because Ratemyprofessors.com is owned by MTV, I got a call from MTV saying we want to come to your house and film you,” he said.

MTV filmed his reactions to students’ online comments.

But Citino’s appearance on the network isn’t his only celebrity claim.

He also appears as a consultant on the History Channel, notably on “Hard Target,” a show hosted by another UNT professor, Geoffrey Wawro.

“Rob is one of the leading historians on military history in the world today and a real catch for the University of North Texas,” Wawro said. “I’ve hosted many shows on the History Channel and enjoy having him on as a guest because of his decisive, illuminating comments.”

Citino spent the last 20 years teaching at Eastern Michigan University in Ypsilanti, Mich., but when he saw a job opening at UNT, he saw an opportunity beyond the immediate teaching position.

“I already knew a couple of people on the faculty, and I knew and respected their work,” he said. “I really like being here because of the top-notch faculty I get to have as my colleagues.”

In 2008, he was offered the annual guest teaching position in the history department at the United States Military Academy at West Point, which invites one professor to teach in the department each year.

“It was a high honor and a really big moment for me,” Citino said. “The biggest thing about teaching there wasn’t just a point on my résumé, but really getting to know the cadets.”

After teaching for 25 years, Citino feels at home in the classroom but admits to having a minor crisis during the mental preparation for West Point because of the structural difference from civilian classrooms.

“They called me Sir,” Citino said. “I’ve been teaching college for 25 years and I’ve never gotten saluted or called sir. It was like I fell down from Mars.”


Top RMP Prof has Rocked for Decades
MTVu

Why is This GOP House Candidate Dressed as a Nazi?
Atlantic Monthly

Why is This GOP House Candidate Dressed as a Nazi?

An election year already notable for its menagerie of extreme and unusual candidates can add another one: Rich Iott, the Republican nominee for Congress from Ohio's 9th District, and a Tea Party favorite, who for years donned a German Waffen SS uniform and participated in Nazi re-enactments.

wiking_resized.jpg

Rich Iott, second from right, in a Nazi SS Waffen uniform.



Iott, whose district lies in Northwest Ohio, was involved with a group that calls itself Wiking, whose members are devoted to re-enacting the exploits of an actual Nazi division, the 5th SS Panzer Division Wiking, which fought mainly on the Eastern Front during World War II. Iott's participation in the Wiking group is not mentioned on his campaign's website, and his name and photographs were removed from the Wiking website.

When contacted by The Atlantic, Iott confirmed his involvement with the group over a number of years, but said his interest in Nazi Germany was historical and he does not subscribe to the tenets of Nazism. "No, absolutely not," he said. "In fact, there's a disclaimer on the [Wiking] website. And you'll find that on almost any reenactment website. It's purely historical interest in World War II."

iott_family.jpg

Rich Iott and his wife, as shown on his campaign website.

Iott, a member of the Ohio Military Reserve, added, "I've always been fascinated by the fact that here was a relatively small country that from a strictly military point of view accomplished incredible things. I mean, they took over most of Europe and Russia, and it really took the combined effort of the free world to defeat them. From a purely historical military point of view, that's incredible."

Iott says the group chose the Wiking division in part because it fought on the Eastern Front, mainly against the Russian Army, and not U.S. or British soldiers. The group's website includes a lengthy history of the Wiking unit, a recruitment video, and footage of goose-stepping German soldiers marching in the Warsaw victory parade after Poland fell in 1939. The website makes scant mention of the atrocities committed by the Waffen SS, and includes only a glancing reference to the "twisted" nature of Nazism. Instead, it emphasizes how the Wiking unit fought Bolshevist Communism:
Nazi Germany had no problem in recruiting the multitudes of volunteers willing to lay down their lives to ensure a "New and Free Europe", free of the threat of Communism. National Socialism was seen by many in Holland, Denmark, Norway, Finland, and other eastern European and Balkan countries as the protector of personal freedom and their very way of life, despite the true underlying totalitarian (and quite twisted, in most cases) nature of the movement. Regardless, thousands upon thousands of valiant men died defending their respective countries in the name of a better tomorrow. We salute these idealists; no matter how unsavory the Nazi government was, the front-line soldiers of the Waffen-SS (in particular the foreign volunteers) gave their lives for their loved ones and a basic desire to be free.
Historians of Nazi Germany vehemently dispute this characterization. "These guys don't know their history," said Charles W. Sydnor, Jr., a retired history professor and author of "Soldiers of Destruction: The SS Death's Head Division, 1933-45," which chronicles an SS division. "They have a sanitized, romanticized view of what occurred." Sydnor added that re-enactments like the Wiking group's are illegal in Germany and Austria. "If you were to put on an SS uniform in Germany today, you'd be arrested."

Christopher Browning, a professor of history at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill, said, "It is so unhistorical and so apologetic that you don't know to what degree they've simply caught up innocent war memorabilia enthusiasts who love putting on uniforms."

Iott says he does not recall exactly when he joined the Wiking group (his name appears on a unit roster as far back as 2003), but did so with his son "as a father-son bonding thing." He says his name and pictures were removed from the Wiking website not out of concern that they would harm his political career, but because he quit the group three years ago, after his son lost interest.

Iott participated in the group under his own name, and also under the alias "Reinhard Pferdmann," which has also been removed, and which Iott described as being his German alter ego. "Part of the reenactor's [experience]," Iott said, "is the living-history part, of really trying to get into the persona of the time period. In many, not just in our unit, but in many units what individuals do is create this person largely based on a Germanized version of their name, and a history kind of based around your own real experiences. 'Reinhard' of course is 'Richard' in German. And 'Pferdmann,' 'pferd' is a horse. So it's literally 'horse man.'"

Asked whether his participation in a Nazi re-enactor's group might not upset voters, particularly Jewish voters, Iott said he hoped it would not: "They have to take it in context. There's reenactors out there who do everything. You couldn't do Civil War re-enacting if somebody didn't play the role of the Confederates. [This] is something that's definitely way in the past. ... [I hope voters] take it in context and see it for what it is, an interest in World War II history. And that's strictly all."

reenactorfest_sized.jpg

Iott at Nazi re-enactment.



Rabbi Moshe Saks, of the Congregation B'nai Israel in Sylvania, Ohio, a suburb of Toledo that sits in the 9th district, disagreed. "Any kind of reenactment or glorification of Nazi Germany, to us, would be something unacceptable and certainly in poor taste, if not offensive," he said. "I think the reaction here will be very negative. And not just among the Jewish community, but the broader community."

In a follow-up email today, Iott seemed at pains to address concerns that his conduct may have alienated veterans groups but made no specific mention of possible offense to Jews or human rights groups: "Never, in any of my reenacting of military history, have I meant any disrespect to anyone who served in our military or anyone who has been affected by the tragedy of war. In fact, I have immense respect for veterans who served our country valiantly, and my respect of the military and our veterans is one of the reasons I have actively studied military history throughout my life." He added that he has participated in re-enactments as a Civil War Union infantryman, a World War I dough boy and World War II American infantryman and paratrooper.

The actual Wiking unit has a history as grisly as that of other Nazi divisions. In her book "The Death Marches of Hungarian Jews Through Austria in the Spring of 1945," Eleonore Lappin, the noted Austrian historian, writes that soldiers from the Wiking division were involved in the killing of Hungarian Jews in March and April 1945, before surrendering to American forces in Austria.

"What you often hear is that the [Wiking] division was never formally accused of anything, but that's kind of a dodge," says Prof. Rob Citino, of the Military History Center at the University of North Texas, who examined the Wiking website. "The entire German war effort in the East was a racial crusade to rid the world of 'subhumans,' Slavs were going to be enslaved in numbers of tens of millions. And of course the multimillion Jewish population of Eastern Europe was going to be exterminated altogether. That's what all these folks were doing in the East. It sends a shiver up my spine to think that people want to dress up and play SS on the weekend."


Men Who Play Nazis for Fun Try to Explain
New York Times

The revelation that Rich Iott, a Republican candidate for Congress from Ohio, was an active member of a group dedicated to understanding the experience of soldiers who served in the Nazi Waffen SS by dressing up in their uniforms " and staging recreations of their battles " has forced historical re-enactors to defend their hobby.

That Mr. Iott engaged in this pastime came to light on Friday, when Joshua Green of The Atlantic published photographs of him in an SS uniform beneath a headline asking, “Why is This GOP House Candidate Dressed as a Nazi?

Mr. Iott admitted to Mr. Green that he had spent time playing a character he named Reinhard Pferdmann as a member of the 5. SS Wiking re-enactment group, which is described on its Web site as “a nonprofit, nonpolitical organization dedicated to the preservation of the history of WW II and the lifestyle of the German combat soldier (specifically Waffen-SS foreign volunteers).”

Even so, the Ohio businessman " who quickly posted photographs of himself playing American soldiers in recreations of three conflicts " insisted that his admiration for Nazi Germany was purely based on its achievements in battle. He told Mr. Green:

I’ve always been fascinated by the fact that here was a relatively small country that from a strictly military point of view accomplished incredible things. I mean, they took over most of Europe and Russia, and it really took the combined effort of the free world to defeat them. From a purely historical military point of view, that’s incredible.

As my colleague Brett Sokol reported last year, Mr. Iott is far from the only American to play the part of a Nazi soldier in his spare time. Reporting on a re-enactment of the Battle of the Bulge in Pennsylvania, complete with men in Nazi uniforms carrying authentic weapons (loaded with blanks), he noted:

Almost every weekend, there is a re-enactment somewhere around the country, and while most are invitation-only affairs drawing from several dozen to several hundred participants, last year’s World War II Weekend in Reading, Pa., attracted more than 20,000 to witness the liberation of a faux-French village.

Another former Nazi re-enactor in the news, a police captain in Portland, Ore., who may be disciplined for constructing a memorial to a Waffen SS commander in a public park, offered a similar excuse, calling himself “a history geek” after his hobby was made public.

As Maxine Bernstein reported in The Oregonian on Friday, an investigation by Portland’s police force found that the officer, Mark Kruger, had brought “discredit and disgrace upon the Bureau and the City,” by nailing five memorial plaques in honor of of Nazi soldiers to a tree in a city park.

Mr. Kruger’s former commander wrote that the officer should have known that a plaque honoring “a Waffen SS member and the commander of a battalion responsible for a large-scale massacre of prisoners of war could alarm a member of the public familiar with these historical events.”

While Mr. Iott’s Democratic opponent, Representative Marcy Kaptur, and the Republican minority whip, Eric Cantor, joined Holocaust survivors in saying that his hobby rendered him unfit for public office, the candidate  told a local Fox News affiliate the dismay over his role-playing was “a good example of why people look at career politicians and say, ‘We just can’t trust these people " look how they act, they behave like children.’”

Changes have been made to the Web site of the group Mr. Iott used to be a member of, Wiking.org " and an affiliated YouTube channel " but The Atlantic managed to save a copy of a “recruitment video” for the group posted online (embedded above) as well this text, which attempts to justify the group’s apparent celebration of the Waffen SS Wiking unit:

Nazi Germany had no problem in recruiting the multitudes of volunteers willing to lay down their lives to ensure a “New and Free Europe”, free of the threat of Communism. National Socialism was seen by many in Holland, Denmark, Norway, Finland, and other eastern European and Balkan countries as the protector of personal freedom and their very way of life, despite the true underlying totalitarian (and quite twisted, in most cases) nature of the movement. Regardless, thousands upon thousands of valiant men died defending their respective countries in the name of a better tomorrow. We salute these idealists; no matter how unsavory the Nazi government was, the front-line soldiers of the Waffen-SS (in particular the foreign volunteers) gave their lives for their loved ones and a basic desire to be free.

But Robert M. Citino, a military historian and professor at the University of North Texas, told Mr. Green that the Nazi division’s role in the Second World War was far from heroic:

The entire German war effort in the East was a racial crusade to rid the world of ’subhumans,’ Slavs were going to be enslaved in numbers of tens of millions. And of course the multimillion Jewish population of Eastern Europe was going to be exterminated altogether. That’s what all these folks were doing in the East. It sends a shiver up my spine to think that people want to dress up and play SS on the weekend.


Congressional Candidate Defends Wearing Nazi Outfit for Re-Enactment
Anderson Cooper 360 (CNN)

toggle toggle Presentations and Projects
  Presentations/Projects per page   1  2 3 4 5 6 
Start DateEnd DatePresentation/Project
 2011 “Getting it Right? Military Reform in the Interwar Era“
West Point Summer Seminar, United States Military Academy, West Point, NY (June 2011).
 2011 "Who Killed Operation Citadel? Crisis in the ETO in 1943"
Keynote, International Studies/International Security (IS/IS) Conference, Mississippi State, Starkville, MS (March 2011).
 2011 "Manstein, the Battle of Kharkov, and the Limits of Command”
Paper delivered at the Society for Military History Annual Conference, Lisle, IL (June 2011).
 2011 “The German Way of War Reconsidered."
Society for Military History Annual Conference, Lisle, IL, June 2011.  Conference Session dedicated to  discussion and analysis of my book, The German Way of War:  From the Thirty Years’ War to the Third Reich.
 2011 "Fighting a Lost War: The Wehrmacht in 1943"
McCarthy Lecture Series, University of Southern Mississippi, Hattiesburg, MS (September 2011).
toggle toggle Peer Reviewer Activities
YearAgency/OrganizationField of Expertise
2009-PresentHarvard University PressReader, Manuscript submissions
2009American Council of Learned SocietiesReviewer, Fellowship Applications
2008-presentCambridge University PressReader, Manuscript submissions
2008-PresentPrinceton University PressReader, Manuscript submissions
2008American Council of Learned SocietiesReviewer, Fellowship Applications
2007American Council of Learned SocietiesReviewer, Fellowship Applications
2006-PresentUniversity Press of KentuckyReader, Manuscript submissions
2005-PresentUniversity Press of KansasReader, Manuscript submissions
toggle toggle Mentoring/Advising
Duration (YYYY - YYYY or Present)Student NameClassificationTypeProject/Thesis/Dissertation
2012-presentMichael W. HankinsM.A.Graduate ResearchThesis: "The Phantom Menace: the F-4 in Air Combat in Vietnam" COMPLETE
2011-presentDong HaM.A.Graduate ResearchThesis: "The Ho Chi Minh Trail and Operation Commando Hunt: The Failure of an Aerial Interdiction Campaign" COMPLETE
2010-PresentLT Jon NesselhufM.A.Graduate ResearchThesis: "The Guerrilla Campaign of General Paul von Lettow Vorbeck: East Africa, 1914-18" COMPLETE
2010-presentMervyn RobertsPh.D.Graduate ResearchDissertation: "U.S. Psychological Operations in Vietnam, 1965-72"
2010-PresentCameron ZInsouM.A.Graduate ResearchThesis: "The Strategic and Operational Debate over Operation Anvil: The Allied Invasion of Southern France in August, 1944" COMPLETE
2009-presentMAJ David MusickM.A.Graduate ResearchThesis: "War by Other Means: the Development of United States Army Military Government Doctrine in the World Wars" COMPLETE
2009-PresentKelly AkinsM.A.Graduate ResearchThesis: "Soldiers: British and German Combat Motivation in World War II"
2009-PresentSimone de Santiago RamosPh.D.Graduate ResearchDissertation: "Showing The Flag: War Cruiser Karlsruhe and Germandom Abroad." COMPLETE
2009-PresentEric MorseM.A.Graduate ResearchThesis: "Nuclear Weapons and the Problem of Regional War, 1950-1968" COMPLETE
2009-presentMAJ William NancePh.D.Graduate ResearchDissertation: "Forgotten Glory: American Mechanized Cavalry Groups in the ETO"
2009-PresentTerrance FurgersonM.A./Ph.D.Graduate ResearchPILT: "The Battle of the Bulge in the Mirror of the American Press, 1944-45" COMPLETE
2009-PresentCharlotte DeCosterPh.D.Graduate ResearchDissertation: "Child Rescue as Survival Resistance: Hidden Children in Nazi-Occupied Western Europe" COMPLETE
2009-PresentLuke TruxalM.A.Graduate ResearchThesis: "The Anglo-U.S. Combined Bonber Offensive, 1943-45" COMPLETE
2009-PresentMAJ William NanceM.A.Graduate ResearchThesis: "Patton's Iron Cavalry: Mechanized Cavalry Operations in the ETO, 1944-45" COMPLETE
2009-PresentMAJ David MusickPh.D.Graduate ResearchDissertation: "U.S. Military Government: a Comparative Study"
2009-PresentAdam RinkleffPh.D.Graduate ResearchDissertation: "U.S. 1st Army Operations: 1944-45" COMPLETE
2009-2010Mervyn RobertsM.A.Graduate ResearchThesis: "U.S. Psychological Operations in Vietnam, 1961-65" COMPLETE
toggle toggle Committees
Duration (YYYY - YYYY or Present)CommitteePositionClassification
2009-PresentGraduate Committee  
2009-PresentTenure and Promotion Committee  
toggle toggle Memberships
Duration (YYYY - YYYY or Present)OrganizationPositionClassification
2008-PresentHistorical SocietyMember 
2007-PresentAmerican Historical AssociationMember 
2005-PresentSociety for Military HistoryAwards Committee Member 
toggle toggle Honors and Recognitions
YearTitleHonoring Organization
2009Spencer Tucker Award (Outstanding Service to the Field of Military History)ABC-CLIO
2007#1 Professor in the Countryratemyprofessors,com (the Online Student Rating Service)
2005Paul M. Birdsall Prize (best book of the year in military/strategic history), for Blitzkrieg to Desert StormAmerican Historical Association
2005Distinguished Book Award (for best book of the year), for Blitzkrieg to Desert StormSociety for Military History
toggle toggle Biographical Sketch
Robert Citino
Robert M. Citino (Ph.D., Indiana University, 1984) is the one of the country’s most distinguished military historians, and his works have reached both the scholarly and the popular audience.  He is the author of nine books, most recently The German Way of War (2005), Death of the Wehrmacht (2007), both of which were main selections of the History Book Club and the Military Book Club, as well as the just-released The Wehrmacht Retreats (2012).  His book Blitzkrieg to Desert Storm (2004) was the winner of both the American Historical Association’s Paul M. Birdsall Prize for best book of the year in military and strategic history and the Society for Military History’s Distinguished Book Award.  In October 2007, his article “Military Histories Old and New:  A Reintroduction” appeared in the American Historical Review, the first military history article to appear in the profession’s journal of record in decades.  He served as Book Review Editor for World War II magazine from 2004 to 2006, and has been writing the magazine’s online column, Front and Center, since 2009.  He has made numerous appearances on The History Channel.  In 2010, he was interviewed by Variety (for a review of Quentin Tarantino’s war film, Inglourious Basterds), the Washington Post, and The Atlantic Monthly.  In 2007, he was named the “#1 Professor in the U.S.” by www.ratemyprofessors.com, the online student rating service.  During the 2008-2009 academic year, he served as the Charles Boal Ewing Visiting Professor of Military History at the US Military Academy in West Point, NY. 

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