Where was the Western front? The Eastern front? How were the fronts similar and different?

1 Answer
May 28, 2016

"Western front" meant France, "Eastern front" meant Poland and Russia, and there was more and better looting potential on the Western front.


Historically, soldiers--not just German, but soldiers from most countries--have always supplemented their meager paychecks with looting, the literal "spoils of war." It was hard to entice them to sign up and fight in areas where there was no potential for doing this.

German soldiers, like anybody else, would rather (all other things being equal) do their work in France than Poland or Russia. The food was better and wineries are more productive to rob and pillage than potato farms, and the winters were milder.

Every major conqueror since Caesar has written fondly of sacking France. Russia, by contrast, has been successfully invaded by outsiders once (by the Mongols). Napoleon and Hitler tried attacking them from the West and quickly discovered that the effort simply wasn't worth the gains.

I can't think of any similarities. Poland was quite beautiful before the war, so apparently there was that.