Guderian: Panzer Pioneer Or Myth Maker?

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Potomac Books, Inc., 2006 - Biography & Autobiography - 160 pages
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Biographers and historians have lionized Heinz Guderian as the legendary father of the German armored force and brilliant practitioner of blitzkrieg maneuver warfare. As Russell A. Hart argues, Guderian created this legend with his own highly influential yet self-serving and distorted memoir, which remains one of the most widely read accounts of the Second World War. Unfortunately, too many of Guderian's biographers have accepted his view of his accomplishments at face value, without sufficient critical scrutiny, resulting in an undeserved hagiography. While undoubtedly a great military figure of appreciable ego and ambition and with a volatile, impetuous, and difficult personality, Guderian was determined to achieve his vision of a war-winning armored force irrespective of the consequences. He proved to be a man who was politically naive enough to fall under the sway of Hitler and National Socialism and yet arrogant enough to believe he could save Germany from inevitable defeat late in the war, despite Hitler's interference. At the same time, Guderian was unwilling either to participate in attempts to remove Hitler or to denounce as traitors the conspirators who did. In the end, he distorted the truth to establish his place in history. In the process, he denigrated the myriad important contributions of his fellow officers as he took personal credit for what were, in reality, collective accomplishments. Thus, he succeeded in creating a legend that has endured long after his death. This brief biography puts the record straight by placing Guderian's career and accomplishments into sharper and more accurate relief. It exposes the real Heinz Guderian, not the man of legend.
 

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Contents

Introduction
3
Chapter 1 Guderians Youth and Early Military Career 18881914
5
Chapter 2 Guderian and the Great War 19141918
9
Chapter 3 From Kaiserheer to Reichswehr 19191929
15
Chapter 4 Guderian and the 1930s Evolution of German Armor
27
Chapter 5 Guderian Goes to War 19391940
50
Chapter 6 Guderian and Operation Barbarossa 1941
68
Chapter 7 Inspector General of Armored Troops 19431944
82
Chapter 8 Guderian and the 20 July 1944 Conspiracy
98
Chapter 9 Guderian as Acting Chief of the General Staff 19441945
103
Chapter 10 Guderians Fate and Legacy
114
Notes
119
Bibliographic Note
135
Index
137
About the Author
145
Copyright

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About the author (2006)

Russell A. Hart is Associate Professor and specialist in modern military history at Hawai'i Pacific University and coauthor of German Tanks of WWII; Weapons and Fighting Tactics of the Waffen-SS; Panzer: The Illustrated History of Germany's Armored Forces in WWII;The German Soldier in World War II; and The Second World War, Part Six: Northwest Europe, 1944-1945.

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