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The Blitzkrieg Myth: How Hitler and the Allies Misread the Strategic Realities of World War IIby John Mosier
Synopses & Reviews
A bold reinterpretation of some of the most decisive battles of World War II, showing that the outcomes had less to do with popular new technology than old-fashioned, on-the-ground warfare.
The military myths of World War II were based on the assumption that the new technology of the airplane and the tank would cause rapid and massive breakthroughs on the battlefield, or demoralization of the enemy by intensive bombing resulting in destruction, or surrender in a matter of weeks. The two apostles for these new theories were the Englishman J.C.F. Fuller for armoured warfare, and the Italian Emilio Drouhet for airpower. Hitler, Rommel, von Manstein, Montgomery and Patton were all seduced by the breakthrough myth or blitzkrieg as the decisive way to victory.
Mosier shows how the Polish campaign in fall 1939 and the fall of France in spring 1940 were not the blitzkrieg victories as proclaimed. He also reinterprets Rommel's North African campaigns, D-Day and the Normandy campaign, Patton's attempted breakthrough into the Saar and Germany, Montgomery's flawed breakthrough at Arnhem, and Hitler's last desperate breakthrough effort to Antwerp in the Battle of the Bulge in December 1944. All of these actions saw the clash of the breakthrough theories with the realities of conventional military tactics, and Mosier's novel analysis of these campaigns, the failure of airpower, and the military leaders on both sides, is a challenging reassessment of the military history of World War II. The book includes maps and photos.
Hitler, Rommel, von Manstein, Montgomery, and Patton were all equally seduced by the idea of breakthrough, or blitzkrieg. The blitzkrieg myth was based on the belief that the new technology of the airplane and the tank would result in rapid and massive advances on the battlefield. The demoralization of the enemy by intensive bombing would cause vast destruction, and lead to surrender in a matter of weeks.
Author and military historian John Mosier shows how the Polish campaign in the autumn of 1939 and the fall of France in the spring of 1940 were not blitzkrieg victories. He also reinterprets Rommel's North African campaigns, D-day, the Normandy campaign, and Hitler's last desperate breakthrough effort to Antwerp in the Battle of the Bulge in December 1944, among others. All these actions saw the clash of breakthrough theories with the realities of conventional military tactics.
The Blitzkrieg Myth is a compelling and original analysis, challenging us to reassess the military tactics of last century's greatest crisis.
About the Author
John Mosier is the author of The Myth of the Great War. He is full professor of English at Loyola University in New Orleans, where, as chair of the English Department and associate dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, he taught primarily European literature and film. His background as a military historian dates from his role in developing an interdisciplinary curriculum for the study of the two world wars, a program funded by the National Endowment for the Humanities. From 1989 to 1992 he edited the New Orleans Review. He lives in Jefferson, Louisiana.
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History and Social Science » Military » General History