08/15 (novel)

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Hans Hellmut Kirst

08/15 is the title of a successful trilogy of novels by the former Wehrmacht officer Hans Hellmut Kirst from 1954. In it Kirst describes the life and suffering of Wehrmacht soldiers during the Second World War .

The title comes from the in first inserted and World War II machine gun MG 08/15 ago.


  • 08/15 in the barracks (original title: The adventurous revolt of Private Asch ) describes the period of training.
  • 08/15 in war (original title: The strange war experiences of the soldier Asch ) describes the horrors of war
  • 08/15 to the end (original title: The dangerous final victory of the soldier Asch ) describes the upheavals and the moral conditions in the last days of the war


In the series of novels Kirst accuses less of National Socialism than of Prussian militarism and war in general. His antagonists are not fanatical Nazis, but ordinary soldiers: brutal barracks grinders, glory-addicted stage heroes and unscrupulous war profiteers .


Call for a boycott

MG 08/15

Many booksellers boycotted the book and the author because Franz Josef Strauss , then Federal Minister for Special Tasks for the Adenauer government , suggested this. 08/15 did not fit with his idea that the Bundeswehr should continue the tradition of the Wehrmacht. Incidentally, Strauss and Kirst had been closely and personally averse to each other since they had both served as first lieutenant in Altenstadt in Upper Bavaria . And although many booksellers did not have the book in their range, it became a bestseller in 1954 .

Kirst introduced his private Asch (the "r" was deliberately removed) as a soldier Schwejk of post-war Germany. As a clever soldier who tricked his superiors to avoid the stupid drill (Kirsts 08/15) and the humiliating grinding in the barracks yard.

1954 Germany debated controversy over by Adenauer promoted rearmament by stirring up fears of an impending war, and the trilogy became a symbol of the resistance against the remilitarization.


  • Hans Hellmut Kirst: 08/15. Complete edition of the trilogy. Kaiser, Klagenfurt 1994–2001, ISBN 978-3-7042-5015-5 .
  • Wilhelm Olbrich , Johannes Beer, Bernd and Jutta Gräf (eds.): The novelist. The content of the novels and short stories of world literature. Volume 13: The content of German novels and short stories from the decade 1954 to 1963. In addition to an addendum to volumes 1 to 5 of the complete works and a register of all German authors dealt with in the “Romanführer”. Hiersemann, Stuttgart 1964, ISBN 978-3-7772-5001-4 , pp. 198-199.

Web links

Individual evidence

  1. Hans Kirst. Tabular curriculum vitae in the LeMO ( DHM and HdG )
  2. Franz Josef Strauss : I confess: The memories of Franz Josef Strauss (II): The way to the politician . In: Der Spiegel . No. 34 , 1989 ( online ).
  3. Zero-Eight-Fifteen: On a higher level . In: Der Spiegel . No. 21 , 1954 ( online ).
  4. Commissioner: Were you a soldier? In: Der Spiegel . No. 16 , 1954 ( online ).