Death of the Wehrmacht
The German Campaigns of 1942
Robert M. Citino
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.
“This book is a winner across the board. . . . Citino’s concept of Bewegungskrieg (mobile war), elegantly defined and convincingly demonstrated, should become the new benchmark for analysis. . . . Citino’s clarity and perception, his understanding of the operation level of war, informs this work from first page to last.”
“Citino’s well written and thoughtful study will be of great value to experts and novices alike.”
—NYMAS Review, New York Military Affairs SymposiumSee all reviews...
“Citino writes well and makes a persuasive case. Those new to the campaigns of 1942 will find an education in this book. Those familiar with Irwin Rommel’s exploits in Libya and Egypt or Fedor von Bock’s drive to the Volga will find a challenging new interpretation of these famous operations.”
“[This book] establishes Robert Citino as a major figure in the history of the German army in World War II.”
“A winner across the board by one of the masters of operational history. The capstone to a four-volume study on modern mobile warfare, it solidifies Citino’s position among the very best scholars who have written on the ‘German way of war.’ In particular, his treatment of the 1942 Russian campaigns is fully level with the best of David Glantz’s work from the Soviet perspective and restores both Stalingrad and El Alamein to their rightful status as major turning points in the war.”
—Dennis Showalter, author of Patton and Rommel
“There is no better examination of German operations during the crisis year of 1942.”
—Geoffrey P. Megargee, author of Inside Hitler’s High Command
“It is only fitting that the scholar who has traced the distinctive manner in which first Prussia and then Germany fought its wars should now offer a carefully researched and lucidly written account of how that way of fighting led to and ended in disaster in World War II.”
—Gerhard L. Weinberg, author of A World at Arms: A Global History of World War IISee fewer reviews...
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.