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bookwoman_cat said:
***** stars. Many of us accepted with equanimity the recent books and films about the plot to kill Hitler led by the German war hero Claus Von Stauffenberg and other men of high position in the military staff. Of course, we reflected, it was reasonable for the military to try to kill Hitler and take over the government; he was a madman who was leading his country to destruction. To appreciate the boldness of their plot, imagine the attempted assassination as taking place in the United States. The equivalent would have found the Joint Chiefs of Staff murdering Franklin Delano Roosevelt and setting up a military government because they believed the best strategy after Pearl Harbor was to attack Japan, not Germany. Unimaginable!!! Yet this was the ultimate act that some members of the German General Staff were willing to attempt in order to negotiate for peace and try to save their country..... This book looks at the demise of one of the most historically admired and elevated classes in Germany, that of the traditional military elite. The German general staff controlled all aspects of army operations, the movement, quartering, engagement and mobilizing of troops, and thus the conduct of war. With its roots in the Prussian army, it was manned by Germany's best and brightest officers. Few could ascend to its ranks. Of the 400 or so officers annually admitted to the war college for general staff training, only the top 10 or 12 were selected for promotion. What the general staff failed to adequately prepare for and prevent was being shunted aside in favor of Heinrich Himmler, the SS, the Gestapo and ultimately Hitler himself. The German general staff knew that fighting a two front war was nearly impossible to win and that Germany was not prepared to invade Russia when it did. Given the fact of Operation Barbarossa, if the General staff had been in charge, the soldiers would have been supplied with winter gear, the invasion would not have outrun its supply lines, strategic retreats may have led to victories, and the 6th army at Stalingrad would have broken free instead of fighting until their numbers were so depleted that surrender was the only recourse. It is disconcerting to find oneself wishing that Hitler had left the strategy to his General Staff as this would have prolonged the war, caused more allied casualties, and provided more time for the holocaust. Of course, you don't really want this, but seeing the increasingly egomaniacal, insane Hitler sacrifice his military for the goals of ethnic cleansing and the rule of the SS and SA is painful. This is not to say that the German General Staff were all noble & anti-nazi, but many were simply attempting to make the best military decisions for their country. One might admire Patton and Guderian for their military skills and still hate everything that a German Nazi believed. This book is a terrific analysis of the death of the General Staff at the hands of the Nazi powerful. Highly recommend to lovers of WWII history.
posted Sep 3, 2013 at 2:20AM
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