Hitler`s Commanders: German Bravery in the Field 1939-1945 (book review)
Hitler may have been the leading light in the German war machine – but it was his generals who were responsible for day to day activities. This book tells the stories of 14 German generals such as Eduard Dietl, the commander of German forces in Norway and Eastern Europe and Kurt Meyer, commander of the Waffen-SS Hitler Youth Division and one of Germany`s youngest generals. Other generals profile include Heinrich Schaefer who was the defender of Cactus Farm in Tunisia, paratrooper Erich Johannes Schuster and Theodor Scherer, the hero of Cholm. In each case, James Lucas deals with their background, motives, levels of loyalty towards Hitler and their success/failure as generals.
Hitler`s Gladiator: The Life and Wars of Panzer Army Commander Sepp Dietrich By Charles Messenger
"Hitler`s Gladiator: The Life and Wars of Panzer Army Commander Sepp Dietrich" is a new reissue of a book that was first published in 1988 and again in 2005. This WWII book explores the life of German general Josef "Sepp" Dietrich, who rose from private soldier in the Kaiser`s army to command an SS panzer army in the closing stages of World War II. A war criminal and one of Hitler`s most trusted officers, he was hardly the ideal of the Master Race. When the American Army arrested Dietrich, U.S. Master Sergeant Herbert Klaus said that he was: "not anything like an army commander – he is more like a village grocer."
Manstein: Hitler`s Greatest General by Mungo Melvin
Erich von Manstein saw action in WW1, rising to high command in Hitler`s Wehrmacht during WWII. It was Manstein who planned the 1940 Ardennes offensive that helped Nazi Germany to victory in French Campaign; two years later, he conquered the great bastion of Sevastopol in one of the most inventive sieges of modern warfare. Manstein had a great military mind - Krisenfest, calm in crisis, was a term used to describe him. On Jan. 4, 1944, Manstein flew from the Eastern Front to see Adolf Hitler to change the Führer`s mind. "One thing we must be clear about, mein Führer, is that the extremely critical situation we are now in cannot be put down to the enemy`s superiority alone, great though it is. It is also due to the way in which we are led." Hitler, Manstein later recalled, "stared at me with a look which made me feel he wished to crush my will to continue." Three months later Manstein was relieved of his command.
Interview with Ewald von Kleist, the last surviving member of the July 20, 1944 plot against Hitler
Ewald von Kleist, a Wehrmacht officer and the last living member of the July 20, 1944 plot against Hitler, talks about Germany`s elimination of conscription, why modern German soldiers serving in the Bundeswehr need to toughen up and his attempt to kill Adolf Hitler with explosives at an event to show a new uniform.
"We`re training our soldiers with a great deal of gentleness... Things are more difficult for them when push comes to shove... You obviously have to kill when you go to war. But if you have a machine gun and I have a club, and you, being a softy, say that you don`t want to hurt me, I`m the superior one because I just want to smash your skull in."
"We were supposed to show Hitler new uniforms that had been tried out on the front. I was the company leader. I wanted to take along a mine or plastic explosives in my briefcase, which I planned to detonate when I was standing next to Hitler."
Men of Barbarossa: Commanders of the German Invasion of Russia, 1941 by Samuel Mitcham
In "The Men of Barbarossa" Samuel Mitcham, author of several WWII books about Nazi commanders, explores the careers of the senior German commanders and their key moments during the Operation Barbarossa.
Ceremonial baton of Luftwaffe Field Marshal Albert Kesselring fetches $731,600 at auction
Luftwaffe Field Marshal Albert Kesselring`s 19-inch ceremonial baton - listed with an estimated value of $10,000 in an auction in Towson - ended up fetching $731,600, far more than Alex Cooper auctioneers had anticipated. Kesselring - one of 27 persons granted the Knight`s Cross of the Iron Cross with Oak Leaves, Swords and Diamonds - was one of best defensive strategists in WWII.
Manstein: Hitler`s Greatest General by Mungo Melvin (book review)
Erich von Manstein is less famous than Erwin Rommel (who essentially lost all his WWII battles) because no British troops ever faced an army under his command - but German and Russian generals considered him as the most brilliant general in Nazi Germany. Promoted to the rank of field marshal after his 11th Army seized the Crimea in 1942, he had a crucial role in the war in the Eastern Front until Hitler discharged him as an army group commander in 1944. Erich von Manstein was also the architect of the Sichelschnitt (sickle-cut) plan - responsible for the defeat of Allied forces in the Battle of France in 1940.
Patton, Montgomery, Rommel: Masters of War by Terry Brighton (book review)
In "Patton, Montgomery, Rommel" historian Terry Brighton explores the story of World War II from North Africa in 1942 to Nazi Germany`s surrender in 1945, through the three rival generals (American, British and German) who were as famous for their egos, arrogance and personalities as for leading troops in battle. Brighton`s narrative ricochets among his subjects, with details and ironic hits that big picture historians might have missed. Of particular note is portrayal of Bernard Montgomery as a petty schemer and would-be Napoleon who demeaned American allies, took credit for other commanders` plans and told lies to explain his own failures.
Color photos of German WWII military personalities thread at Axis History Forum
Color photographs of German World War II military personalities -thread at Axis History Forum.
Field Marshal Fritz Erich von Manstein - The Time article from 1949
White-haired and sick Field Marshal Fritz Erich von Manstein, who had fought for Germany in two world wars, sat day after day in a Hamburg courtroom, while lawyers argued whether he was a criminal or just an officer who had done his duty. Britons raised a £1620 fund to help pay for his defense - Winston Churchill contributed £25. The accused denied knowledge of atrocities, such as the use of gas wagons, employed by SS troops for mass executions. "Obviously some people acted differently from the way I expected them to act. A commander in chief can control his subordinates only to a very limited extent."
1942-1945 secret recordings of Wehrmacht Generals by MI19
During the latter half of World War II, the British Secret Intelligence Service (SIS) undertook a secret operation of which the full details are only now coming to light. 1942-1945, a section of SIS, known as MI19, secretly recorded 64,427 conversations between captured German generals and senior officers. The 167 most significant are about to be published for the first time. Together, they reveal what the German High Command thought of the war, Adolf Hitler, the Nazis and each other. They also explode the post-war claim of the Wehrmacht that they did not know what the SS were doing to those what they termed "untermensch" (sub-humans).
Erich Raeder: Admiral of the Third Reich`s Kriegsmarine (Article no longer available from the original source)
This book focuses on Erich Raeder, the Commander in Chief of the German Navy or Kriegsmarine. Raeder is often shadowed by the Nazi Adm. Karl Donitz, chief of Hitler`s submarine forces. Raeder`s biography is more revealing than Donitz`s, because he served under 3 different German navies: the Imperial Navy, the Reichmarine (Weimar Republic) and under Hitler`s Kriegsmarine. He oversaw the expansion of the German Navy in preparation for Hitler`s entry into WWII and the design of the panzerschiff, or pocket battleships. He pushed for the Plan Z: A Nazi Navy of 500 ships, which included the Nazi`s only incomplete aircraft carrier, the Graf Zeppelin.
General von Kielmansegg dies aged 99: Panzers and blitzkrieg
Johann-Adolf Graf von Kielmansegg was the chief logistic officer of one of the leading German divisions in von Rundstedt’s lightning armoured offensive through the Ardennes in May 1940. In 1941 he published "Tanks between Warsaw and the Atlantic", describing German armoured operations in Poland, the breakthrough in the Ardennes and Calais and Dunkirk campaign. For much of the next 4 years he served in Berlin or in Hitler’s command headquarters. Because he was aware of Colonel von Stauffenberg`s plan to assassinate Hitler, he was sent to command a panzer regiment in a division facing the US advance. In 1963 he was appointment as Nato Commander Land Forces Central Europe.
Biography of Walther Model - Hitler`s youngest field marshal (Article no longer available from the original source)
Walther Model, who at age 53 became Hitler`s youngest field marshal, is the subject of a biography "Hitler`s Commander: Field Marshal Walther Model." Model led a division in the invasion of Poland, and drove a panzer unit into Russia. When the Russians went on the offensive, he gained Hitler`s attention with his rock-ribbed defenses. He restlessly roamed the front, bullying his officers and plugging gaps in the line. He criticized "Operation Citadel," the German offensive at Kursk in 1943, as doomed. When the Russians were victorious at Kursk in the greatest tank battle of the war, his 9th Army suffered heavy losses, but he emerged with his reputation intact.
Rommel: The End Of A Legend by Ralf Georg Reuth (Article no longer available from the original source)
The legend of Field Marshal Erwin Rommel, the Desert Fox, is threefold: he was a simple soldier who did his duty and knew nothing of Nazism; he was a commander of superlative talent in North Africa in 1941-2; he was a leader of resistance to Hitler who gave his life after the failure of the July 1944 plot. Reuth shows that all of these assumptions are false. Rommel was a officer whose ambitions were in perfect harmony with the aims of the Nazis. He colluded in the marketing of his persona by Goebbels, whose newsreels built him up like a movie star. He was mindlessly loyal to the Reich and Führer.
High-ranking german officers knew of Holocaust
High-ranking German officers knew much more about Adolf Hitler`s plans than previously thought. During the Second World War, British intelligence secretly bugged the cells occupied by captured german commanders. The transcripts have recently been made available and show that: Senior Luftwaffe officers mused together at the end of 1943 that millions of Jews had already been killed. General Dietrich von Choltitz admitted that he had been involved in killing Jews; Field Marshal Erwin Rommel had been fully briefed about the 1944 attempt to kill the Nazi leader, and refused to betray the plotters.