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German Army Humor
By Eric Tobey

The following was taken from the Der Meldeweg newsletter & was done so with permission of the publisher.  We would like to thank him for his generosity as well as thank all those who have contributed to this article.  It is with their efforts, we are able to share this valuable research with the rest of you.

What, you ask?  Everybody knows that Germans have no sense of humor, you say.  Well they did (and probably still do), although some of the jokes don't seem funny to American ears.  Some of the funnier ones will be presented here.

As the war dragged on and Germany's resources were stretched thin, there were many items which were replaced by inferior substitutes.  The term for such makeshift stuff was ERSATZ.  Ersatz materials appeared everywhere, including in the Army and there were more than a few jokes about it:

- A Landser who was disgusted with the quality of the ersatz beer he was served in the Canteen decided to send a sample of it back to his Father's laboratory in Germany for analysis.  After a few days he gets the following diagnosis: "Your horse suffers from diabetes."  (A similar joke circulated amongst British troops about their tea.)
-  soldier who had been guarding a lonely section of the Channel Coast for a long time was driven to suicide.  First he tries to hang himself with a Zeltbahn rope but because it was made from spun paper it broke and he fell to the ground, still alive.  Throwing off the ersatz noose he wades out into the Channel to drown himself but the wood fiber woven into the ersatz cloth of his uniform keeps him afloat.  Deciding that he was meant to live, the man dies of starvation two weeks later from the diet of ersatz Army rations.
- One of a pair of Landser is urinating against a tree when his companion knocks him over saying: "Don't do that!  I may have to wear that tree next month!"

Speaking of uniforms, there is another joke which deals with them outside of the Ersatz issue:

- Official Army Order... Henceforth the Army will wear civilian clothes to distinguish itself from the rest of the Reich population.  (This joke originated with the Nazi Party's fondness for providing a uniform for just about everyone, including the German equivalent of our National Rifle Association.)

There was also a number of one-liners that dealt with war itself:

- Can Germany lose the war?  Unfortunately not, now that we've got it, we'll never get rid of it. 
- What is the difference between Chamberlain and Hitler?  One takes a weekend in the country, the other takes a country in a weekend.



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