Hitler's Panzers East: World War II Reinterpreted

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University of Oklahoma Press, 1991 - History - 272 pages
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How close did Germany come to winning World War II?  Did Hitler throw away victory in Europe after his troops had crushed the Soviet field armies defending Moscow by August 1941? R.H.S. Stolfi offers a dramatic new picture of Hitler’s conduct in World War II and a fundamental reinterpretation of the course of the war.

Adolf Hitler generally is thought to have been driven by a blitzkrieg mentality in the years 1939 to 1941. In fact, Stolfi argues, he had no such outlook on the war. From the day Britain and France declared war, Hitler reacted with a profoundly conservative cast of mind and pursued a circumscribed strategy, pushing out siege lines set around Germany by the Allies. Interpreting Hitler as a siege Führer explain his apparent aberrations in connection with Dunkirk, his fixation on the seizure of Leningrad, and his fateful decision in the summer of 1941 to deflect Army Group Center into the Ukraine when both Moscow and victory in World War II were within its reach.

Unaware of Hitler’s siege orientation, the German Army planned blitz campaigns. Through daring operational concepts and bold tactics, the army won victories over several Allied powers in World War II, and these led to the great campaign against the Soviet Union in summer of 1941. Stolfi postulates that in August 1941, German Army Group Center had the strength both to destroy the Red field armies defending the Soviet capital and to advance to Moscow and beyond. The defeat of the Soviet Union would have assured victory in World War II. Nevertheless, Hitler ordered the army group south to secure the resources of the Ukraine against a potential siege. And a virtually assured German victory slipped away.

This radical reinterpretation of Hitler and the capabilities of the German Army leads to a reevaluation of World War II, in which the lesson to be learned is not how the Allies won the war, but how close the Germans came to a quick and decisive victory?long before the United States was drawn into the battle.


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Hitler's panzers east: World War II reinterpreted

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These two books represent entirely different approaches to the history of the World War II German war machine. Lucas, author of Storming Eagles: German Airborne Forces in World War II (Sterling, 1989 ... Read full review

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I purchased this book several years ago and I find it a refreshing and well documented book. There are too many naysayers out there who will come up with reasons that Hitler never could have won the war. One decision in August of 1941 decided the entire war. Stolfi's research is impecable. Worth the read! 


Hitler and the Opening Battles of Three Great Blitz
Barbarossa North the Great Opportunity in
Hypothesized German positions based on offensive
June 1941
Army Group Center Destroys the Soviet Field Armies
Red Army forces committed to the defense of
Comparing the Fight in France with that in White
German and Soviet casualties compared 22 June
Could the Germans Support
Barbarossa German concentration of forces
Soviet casualties 22 June10 October 1941
The German Führer Driven by a Siege
Barbarossa the Hinge of Fate?

Reevaluating the German Advance Through White
Soviet prisoners and booty BialystokMinsk 22 June
The German Capability to Advance on Moscow
Soviet collapse at Vyasma and Bryansk losses largely

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About the author (1991)

By R.H.S. Stolfi was Professor of Modern European History at the Naval Postgraduate School in Monterey, California. With the distinguished German military writer, Frederick William von Mellenthin, he co-authored NATO Under Attack.

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