Date of Award

5-2019

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts

Major

History

Major Professor

Vejas G. Liulevicius

Committee Members

Monica Black, Denise Phillips, Shellen Wu

Abstract

Why would the German military in World War II pay more resources for fewer tanks? When the Soviet Union and United States were out-producing Germany three to one in vehicles, the German Military High Command instead chose to develop the Tiger: a sixty-ton beast that could defeat any enemy on the battlefield, but could only be produced in extraordinarily limited numbers. Though there are thousands of publications on the history of the Tiger tank, they only fall into one of two categories: detailed technical specifications or oblique references to the Tiger as it was used by operators in the field.This historical study will introduce a novel perspective on the history of the Tiger. The tank was a pivotal cultural symbol that gained enough positive reception over its short three years of service with the German military that it acquired an agency of its own and influenced the events of World War II. When viewed in this new context, the Tiger becomes an important link in the continuity of a much-discussed German military culture founded in the 19th century philosophy of Carl Von Clausewitz that grew and developed through German reunification, and remained virtually unchanged despite the defeat of World War I.Using in-depth analysis of government documents captured by the Allies after World War II, soldier testimonials, and battle reports, this study proves that the Tiger was far more than merely another machine of war. It is an important cultural artifact and symbol of German military supremacy that still has impact to this day.

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