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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. This book is part of the Modern War Studies series.
Since the earliest days of warfare, military operations have followed a predictable formula: after a decisive battle, an army must pursue the enemy and destroy its organization in order to achieve a victorious campaign. But by the mid-nineteenth century, the emergence of massive armies and advanced weaponry--and the concomitant decline in the effectiveness of cavalry--had diminished the practicality of pursuit, producing campaigns that bogged down short of decisive victory. Great battles had become curiously indecisive, decisive campaigns virtually impossible. At the beginning of the twentieth century, the inability to achieve decisive victories in warfare had become the single greatest military problem facing modern armies. Robert Citino now tells how European military leaders analyzed and eventually overcame this problem by restoring pursuit to its rightful place in combat and resurrecting the possibility of decisive warfare on the operational level. Quest for Decisive Victory chronicles the evolution of European warfare during the first half of the twentieth century. A study of war at the operational level, it demonstrates the interplay and tension between technology and doctrine in warfare and reveals how problems surrounding mobility--including such factors as supply lines, command and control, and prewar campaign planning--forced armies to find new ways of fighting. Citino focuses on key campaigns of both major and minor conflicts. Minor wars before 1914 (Boer, Russo-Japanese, and the Balkan Wars of 1912-13) featured instructive examples of operational maneuver; the First World War witnessed the collapse of operations and the rise of attrition warfare; the Italo-Ethiopian and Spanish Civil Wars held some promise for breaking out of stalemate by incorporating such innovations as air and tank warfare. Ultimately, it was Germany's opening blitzkrieg of World War II that resurrected the decisive campaign as an operational possibility. By grafting new technologies--tanks, aircraft, and radio--onto a long tradition of maneuver warfare, the Wehrmacht won decisive victories in the first year of the war and in the process transformed modern military doctrine. Citino's study is important for shifting the focus from military theory and doctrine to detailed operational analyses of actual campaigns that formed the basis for the revival of military doctrine. Quest for Decisive Victory gives scholars of military history a better grasp of that elusive concept and a more complete understanding of modern warfare.
By 1943, the war was lost, and most German officers knew it. Three quarters of a century later, the question persists: What kept the German army going in an increasingly hopeless situation? Where some historians have found explanations in the power of Hitler or the role of ideology, Robert M. Citino, the world's leading scholar on the subject, posits a more straightforward solution: Bewegungskrieg, the way of war cultivated by the Germans over the course of history. In this gripping account of German military campaigns during the final phase of World War II, Citino charts the inevitable path by which Bewegungskrieg, or a war of movement, inexorably led to Nazi Germany's defeat. The Wehrmacht's Last Stand analyzes the German Totenritt, or death ride, from January 1944-with simultaneous Allied offensives at Anzio and Ukraine-until May 1945, the collapse of the Wehrmacht in the field, and the Soviet storming of Berlin. In clear and compelling prose, and bringing extensive reading of the German-language literature to bear, Citino focuses on the German view of these campaigns. Often very different from the Allied perspective, this approach allows for a more nuanced and far-reaching understanding of the last battles of the Wehrmacht than any now available. With Citino's previous volumes, Death of the Wehrmacht and The Wehrmacht Retreats, The Wehrmacht's Last Stand completes a uniquely comprehensive picture of the German army's strategy, operations, and performance against the Allies in World War II.
Winner of the Arthur Goodzeit Award Throughout 1943, the German army, heirs to a military tradition that demanded and perfected relentless offensive operations, succumbed to the realities of its own overreach and the demands of twentieth-century industrialized warfare. In his new study, prizewinning author Robert Citino chronicles this weakening Wehrmacht, now fighting desperately on the defensive but still remarkably dangerous and lethal. Drawing on his impeccable command of German-language sources, Citino offers fresh, vivid, and detailed treatments of key campaigns during this fateful year: the Allied landings in North Africa, General von Manstein's great counterstroke in front of Kharkov, the German attack at Kasserine Pass, the titanic engagement of tanks and men at Kursk, the Soviet counteroffensives at Orel and Belgorod, and the Allied landings in Sicily and Italy. Through these events, he reveals how a military establishment historically configured for violent aggression reacted when the tables were turned; how German commanders viewed their newest enemy, the U.S. Army, after brutal fighting against the British and Soviets; and why, despite their superiority in materiel and manpower, the Allies were unable to turn 1943 into a much more decisive year. Applying the keen operational analysis for which he is so highly regarded, Citino contends that virtually every flawed German decision-to defend Tunis, to attack at Kursk and then call off the offensive, to abandon Sicily, to defend Italy high up the boot and then down much closer to the toe-had strong supporters among the army's officer corps. He looks at all of these engagements from the perspective of each combatant nation and also establishes beyond a shadow of a doubt the synergistic interplay between the fronts. Ultimately, Citino produces a grim portrait of the German officer corps, dispelling the longstanding tendency to blame every bad decision on Hitler. Filled with telling vignettes and sharp portraits and copiously documented, The Wehrmacht Retreats is a dramatic and fast-paced narrative that will engage military historians and general readers alike.
Throughout 1943, the German army, heirs to a military tradition that demanded and perfected relentless offensive operations, succumbed to the realities of its own overreach and the demands of twentieth-century industrialised warfare. In his new study, prizewinning author Robert Citino chronicles this weakening Wehrmacht, now fighting desperately on the defensive but still remarkably dangerous and lethal. Drawing on his impeccable command of German-language sources, Citino offers fresh, vivid, and detailed treatments of key campaigns during this fateful year: the Allied landings in North Africa, General von Manstein's great counterstroke in front of Kharkov, the German attack at Kasserine Pass, the titanic engagement of tanks and men at Kursk, the Soviet counteroffensives at Orel and Belgorod, and the Allied landings in Sicily and Italy. Through these events, he reveals how a military establishment historically configured for violent aggression reacted when the tables were turned; how German commanders viewed their newest enemy, the U.S. Army, after brutal fighting against the British and Soviets; and why, despite their superiority in materiel and manpower, the Allies were unable to turn 1943 into a much more decisive year. Applying the keen operational analysis for which he is so highly regarded, Citino contends that virtually every flawed German decision-to defend Tunis, to attack at Kursk and then call off the offensive, to abandon Sicily, to defend Italy high up the boot and then down much closer to the toe-had strong supporters among the army's officer corps. He looks at all of these engagements from the perspective of each combatant nation and also establishes beyond a shadow of a doubt the synergistic interplay between the fronts. Ultimately, Citino produces a grim portrait of the German officer corps, dispelling the long standing tendency to blame every bad decision on Hitler. Filled with telling vignettes and sharp portraits and copiously documented, The Wehrmacht Retreats is a dramatic and fast-paced narrative that will engage military historians and general readers alike. This book is part of the Modern War Studies series.
In the wake of World War I, the German Army lay in ruins--defeated in the war, sundered by domestic upheaval, and punished by the Treaty of Versailles. A mere twenty years later, Germany possessed one of the finest military machines in the world, capable of launching a stunning blitzkrieg attack that shredded its opponents in 1939-40. Distinguished military historian Robert M. Citino shows how Germany accomplished this astonishing reversal and developed the doctrine, tactics, and technologies that its army would use to devastating effect in World War II.
For Frederick the Great, the prescription for warfare was simple: kurz und vives ( short and lively )-wars that relied upon swift, powerful, and decisive military operations. Robert Citino takes us on a dramatic march through Prussian and German military history to show how that primal theme played out time and time again. Citino focuses on operational warfare to demonstrate continuity in German military campaigns from the time of Elector Frederick Wilhelm and his great sleigh-drive against the Swedes to the age of Adolf Hitler and the blitzkrieg to the gates of Moscow. Along the way, he underscores the role played by the Prussian army in elevating a small, vulnerable state to the ranks of the European powers, describes how nineteenth-century victories over Austria and France made the German army the most respected in Europe, and reviews the lessons learned from the trenches of World War I. Through this long view, Citino reveals an essential recurrent pattern-characterized by rapid troop movements and surprise attacks, maneuvers to outflank the enemy, and a determination to annihilate the opposition-that made it possible for the Germans to fight armies often larger than their own. He highlights the aggressiveness of Prussian and German commanders-trained simply to find the enemy and keep attacking-and destroys the myth of Auftragstaktik ( flexible command ), replacing it with the independence of subordinate commanders. He also brings new interpretations to well-known operations, such as Moltke's 1866 campaign and the opening campaign in 1914, while introducing readers to less familiar but important battles like Langensalza and the Annaberg. The German way of war, as Citino shows, was fostered by the development of a widely accepted and deeply embedded military culture that supported and rewarded aggression. His book offers a fresh look at one of the most remarkable, respected, and reviled militaries of the past half millennium and marks another sterling contribution to the history of operational warfare.
When Germany launched its blitzkrieg invasion of France in 1940, it forever changed the way the world waged war. Although the Wehrmacht ultimately succumbed to superior Allied firepower in a two-front war, its stunning operational achievement left a lasting impression on military commanders throughout the world, even if their own operations were rarely executed as effectively. Robert Citino analyzes military campaigns from the second half of the twentieth century to further demonstrate the difficulty of achieving decisive results at the operational level. Offering detailed operational analyses of actual campaigns, Citino describes how UN forces in Korea enjoyed technological and air superiority but found the enemy unbeatable; provides analyses of Israeli operational victories in successive wars until the Arab states finally grasped the realities of operational-level warfare in 1973; and tells how the Vietnam debacle continued to shape U.S. doctrine in surprising ways, Looking beyond major-power conflicts, he also reveals the lessons of India's blitzkrieg-like drive into Pakistan in 1971 and of the senseless bloodletting of the Iran-Iraq War.
This volume analyzes the development of tanks and traces their history from the British attack at Cambrai in 1917 during World War I through the AirLand Battle of Operation Desert Storm in 1991. This text gives a short history of the rise and development of armored warfare in the 20th century, an assessment of the significant literature on tank doctrine, and an evaluation of the role of prominent commanders, theoreticians, and tacticians. A chronology of important dates and pictures depicting major changes in tanks across the years enrich this teaching tool and reference guide for teachers and students of military history, history buffs, and professional soldiers.
This is the first study to examine Nazi German foreign policy towards the Union of South Africa from 1933-1939. Making extensive use of unpublished primary source German documents, Robert Citino focuses on the activities of the German embassy and consulates within South Africa in order to answer four basic questions: What role did race and racial theory play in German foreign policy towards South Africa? Did Germany attempt to exploit South African yearnings for international respect, and, if so, how? Did the Germans seek to take advantage of deep divisions within South African society between British and Afrikaners? Finally, to what extent was the German Foreign Office Nazified in the 1930s? By concentrating on the policies and views of German diplomatic personnel within a single country--rather than on Hitler's grandiose proclamations and speeches on world affairs--Citino offers a closer look at Nazi German foreign policy operations than is usually available. The study is organized chronologically and begins with an overview of German-South African relations before 1933. Subsequent chapters address early tensions and South African domestic developments in the years leading up to the outbreak of war. Specific topics covered include the role played by the former German colony of Southwest Africa in relations between the two states, the hostile attitude of much of the South African press towards Nazi Germany, the boycott of German firms by the South African Jewish community, the Smuts-Hertzog fusion, the rise of Malan and his Purified nationalist party, the growth of anti-Semitism in South Africa and the concurrent growth in Afrikaner national consciousness, and South African attitudes towards the major European crises of the 1930s. Citino concludes by analyzing Germany's inability to keep South Africa neutral in 1939 and the entry of the Union into the war at England's side. Students of modern German, South African, and twentieth century diplomatic history will find Citino's work an enlightening contribution to the literature of Nazi Germany's foreign relations.
This study provides a tactical, strategic, and operational view of the interwar German army as a fighting organization. The book describes in detail the process by which the Reichswehr attempted the accomplishment of its principal task--that of defending Germany's borders, particularly those along the eastern frontier, from the end of the First World War until the formation of the Hitler cabinet in January 1933.