For Hitler and the German military, 1942 was a key turning point of World War II, as an overstretched but still lethal Wehrmacht replaced brilliant victories and huge territorial gains with stalemates and strategic retreats. In this major reevaluation of that crucial year, Robert Citino shows that the German army's emerging woes were rooted as much in its addiction to the "war of movement"—attempts to smash the enemy in "short and lively" campaigns—as they were in Hitler's deeply flawed management of the war. From the overwhelming operational victories at Kerch and Kharkov in May to the catastrophic defeats at El Alamein and Stalingrad, Death of the Wehrmacht offers an eye-opening new view of that decisive year. Building upon his widely respected critique in The German Way of War, Citino shows how the campaigns of 1942 fit within the centuries-old patterns of Prussian/German warmaking and ultimately doomed Hitler's expansionist ambitions. He examines every major campaign and battle in the Russian and North African theaters throughout the year to assess how a military geared to quick and decisive victories coped when the tide turned against it. Citino also reconstructs the German generals' view of the war and illuminates the multiple contingencies that might have produced more favorable results. In addition, he cites the fatal extreme aggressiveness of German commanders like Erwin Rommel and assesses how the German system of command and its commitment to the "independence of subordinate commanders" suffered under the thumb of Hitler and chief of staff General Franz Halder. More than the turning point of a war, 1942 marked the death of a very old and traditional pattern of warmaking, with the classic "German way of war" unable to meet the challenges of the twentieth century. Blending masterly research with a gripping narrative, Citino's remarkable work provides a fresh and revealing look at how one of history's most powerful armies began to founder in its quest for world domination.
On June 22, 1941, Germany launched the greatest land assault in history on the Soviet Union, an attack that Adolf Hitler deemed crucial to ensure German economic and political survival. As the key theater of the war for the Germans, the eastern front consumed enormous levels of resources and accounted for 75 percent of all German casualties. Despite the significance of this campaign to Germany and to the war as a whole, few English-language publications of the last thirty-five years have addressed these pivotal events. In Ostkrieg: Hitler's War of Extermination in the East, Stephen G. Fritz bridges the gap in scholarship by incorporating historical research from the last several decades into an accessible, comprehensive, and coherent narrative. His analysis of the Russo-German War from a German perspective covers all aspects of the eastern front, demonstrating the interrelation of military events, economic policy, resource exploitation, and racial policy that first motivated the invasion. This in-depth account challenges accepted notions about World War II and promotes greater understanding of a topic that has been neglected by historians.
Drawing on previously closed military and secret police archives and interviews with veterans, a comprehensive history of the Red Army rank and file follows the soldiers from the shock of the German invasion to their costly triumph in Stalingrad.
Erwin Rommel was a complex man: a born leader, brilliant soldier, a devoted husband and proud father; intelligent, instinctive, brave, compassionate, vain, egotistical, and arrogant. In France in 1940, then for two years in North Africa, then finally back in France again, at Normandy in 1944, he proved himself a master of armored warfare, running rings around a succession of Allied generals who never got his measure and could only resort to overwhelming numbers to bring about his defeat. And yet for all his military genius, Rommel was also naive, a man who could admire Adolf Hitler at the same time that he despised the Nazis, dazzled by a Führer whose successes blinded him to the true nature of the Third Reich. Above all, he was the quintessential German patriot, who ultimately would refuse to abandon his moral compass, so that on one pivotal day in June 1944 he came to understand that he had mistakenly served an evil man and evil cause. He would still fight for Germany even as he abandoned his oath of allegiance to the Führer, when he came to realize that Hitler had morphed into nothing more than an agent of death and destruction. In the end Erwin Rommel was forced to die by his own hand, not because, as some would claim, he had dabbled in a tyrannicidal conspiracy, but because he had committed a far greater crime he dared to tell Adolf Hitler the truth. In Field Marshal historian Daniel Allen Butler not only describes the swirling, innovative campaigns in which Rommel won his military reputation, but assesses the temper of the man who finally fought only for his country, and no dark depths beyond.
Release on 2005 | by Karl-Heinz Frieser,John T. Greenwood
The 1940 Campaign in the West
Author: Karl-Heinz Frieser,John T. Greenwood
Pubpsher: Naval Institute Press
"Here for the first time in English, is an illuminating German perspective on the decisive Blitzkrieg campaign. The account ... provides the definitive explanation for German's startling success and the equally surprising military collapse of France and Britain on the European continent in 1940. In a little over a month, Germany defeated the Allies in battle, a task that had not been achieved in four years of brutal fighting during World War I ... This study explodes many of the myths concerning German blitzkrieg warfare and the planning for the 1940 campaign"--Jacket.
Release on 2012-12-21 | by Thomas W. Zeiler,Daniel M. DuBois
Author: Thomas W. Zeiler,Daniel M. DuBois
Pubpsher: John Wiley & Sons
A Companion to World War II brings together a series offresh academic perspectives on World War II, exploring the manycultural, social, and political contexts of the war. Essay topicsrange from American anti-Semitism to the experiences ofFrench-African soldiers, providing nearly 60 new contributions tothe genre arranged across two comprehensive volumes. A collection of original historiographic essays that includecutting-edge research Analyzes the roles of neutral nations during the war Examines the war from the bottom up through the experiences ofdifferent social classes Covers the causes, key battles, and consequences of thewar
Government-Sponsored Atrocities and International Legal Responses
Author: David M. Crowe
War Crimes and acts of genocide are as old as history itself, but particularly during the 20th century. Yet what are war crimes and acts of genocide? And why did it take the world so long to define these crimes and develop legal institutions to bring to justice individuals and nations responsible such crimes? Part of the answer lies in the nature of the major wars fought in the 20th century and in the changing nature of warfare itself. This study looks at war crimes committed during the Second World War in the USSR, Yugoslavia, Germany, and efforts to bring the perpetrators to justice. This led to successful postwar efforts to define and outlaw such crimes and, more recently, the creation of two international courts to bring war criminals to justice. This did not prevent the commitment of war crimes and acts of genocide throughout the world, particularly in Asia and Africa. And while efforts to bring war criminals to justice has been enhanced by the work of these courts, the problems associated with civil wars, command responsibility, and other issues have created new challenges for the international legal community in terms of the successful adjudication of such crimes. This book was based on a special issue of Nationalities Papers.
Dancer, actress, mountaineer, and director Leni Riefenstahl's uncompromising will and audacious talent for self-promotion appeared unmatched—until 1932, when she introduced herself to her future protector and patron: Adolf Hitler. Known internationally for two of the films she made for him, Triumph of the Will and Olympia, Riefenstahl's demanding and obsessive style introduced unusual angles, new approaches to tracking shots, and highly symbolic montages. Despite her lifelong claim to be an apolitical artist, Riefenstahl's monumental and nationalistic vision of Germany's traditions and landscape served to idealize the cause of one of the world's most violent and racist regimes. Riefenstahl ardently cast herself as a passionate young director who caved to the pressure to serve an all-powerful Führer, so focused on reinventing the cinema that she didn't recognize the goals of the Third Reich until too late. Jürgen Trimborn's revelatory biography celebrates this charismatic and adventurous woman who lived to 101, while also taking on the myths surrounding her. With refreshing distance and detailed research, Trimborn presents the story of a stubborn and intimidating filmmaker who refused to be held accountable for her role in the Holocaust but continued to inspire countless photographers and filmmakers with her artistry.
One of America’s most distinguished military historians offers the definitive account of the greatest tank battle of World War II—an epic clash of machines and men that matched the indomitable will of the Soviet Red Army against the awesome might of the Nazi Wehrmacht. While the Battle of Kursk has long captivated World War II aficionados, it has been unjustly overlooked by historians. Drawing on the masses of new information made available by the opening of the Russian military archives, Dennis Showalter at last corrects that error. This battle was the critical turning point on World War II’s Eastern Front. In the aftermath of the Red Army’s brutal repulse of the Germans at Stalingrad, the stakes could not have been higher. More than three million men and eight thousand tanks met in the heart of the Soviet Union, some four hundred miles south of Moscow, in an encounter that both sides knew would reshape the war. The adversaries were at the peak of their respective powers. On both sides, the generals and the dictators they served were in agreement on where, why, and how to fight. The result was a furious death grapple between two of history’s most formidable fighting forces—a battle that might possibly have been the greatest of all time. In Armor and Blood, Showalter re-creates every aspect of this dramatic struggle. He offers expert perspective on strategy and tactics at the highest levels, from the halls of power in Moscow and Berlin to the battlefield command posts on both sides. But it is the author’s exploration of the human dimension of armored combat that truly distinguishes this book. In the classic tradition of John Keegan’s The Face of Battle, Showalter’s narrative crackles with insight into the unique dynamics of tank warfare—its effect on men’s minds as well as their bodies. Scrupulously researched, exhaustively documented, and vividly illustrated, this book is a chilling testament to man’s ability to build and to destroy. When the dust settled, the field at Kursk was nothing more than a wasteland of steel carcasses, dead soldiers, and smoking debris. The Soviet victory ended German hopes of restoring their position on the Eastern Front, and put the Red Army on the road to Berlin. Armor and Blood presents readers with what will likely be the authoritative study of Kursk for decades to come. Advance praise for Armor and Blood “The size and the brutality of the vast tank battle at Kursk appalls, this struggle that gives an especially dark meaning to that shopworn phrase ‘last full measure.’ Prepare yourself for a wild and feverish ride over the steppes of Russia. You can have no better guide than Dennis E. Showalter, who speaks with an authority equaled by few military historians.”—Robert Cowley, founding editor of MHQ: The Quarterly Journal of Military History “A fresh, skillful, and complete synthesis of recent revelations about this famous battle . . . As a myth buster, Armor and Blood is a must-read for those interested in general and military history.”—David M. Glantz, editor of The Journal of Slavic Military Studies “Refreshingly crisp, pointed prose . . . Throughout, [Showalter] demonstrates his adeptness at interweaving discussions of big-picture strategy with interesting revelations and anecdotes. . . . Showalter does his best work by keeping his sights set firmly on the battle at hand, while also parsing the conflict for developments that would have far-reaching consequences for the war.”—Publishers Weekly