Rupert Matthews

Hitler: Military Commander

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As Führer of the Third Reich, Hitler was responsible for deciding the German war aims in 1939. As head of the Armed Forces from 4 February 1938 he was also responsible for the overall Wehrmacht strategy intended to achieve these aims.

Hitler: Military Commander examines Hitler's key military decisions during the Second World War, and assesses how far these decisions were militarily justified in light of the intelligence available at the time.

Perhaps most importantly it tackles the larger questions of how a non-German former corporal, albeit the holder of the Iron Cross 1st Class, managed to take personal control of an army with the Prussian traditions of the German Army, appoint, sack and sentence to death its generals at will, to lead it into a World War it was not prepared for, and, ultimately, to destroy it.
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314 printed pages
Copyright owner
Arcturus Digital
Original publication
Publication year
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  • Fkh chaoshas quoted6 years ago
    Falkenhorst dashed to the nearest bookshop where he bought a Baedecker Guide to Scandinavia. Then he found an empty table at a nearby cafe and sat down to prepare his plans. He was back by 6pm with a draft outline, which Hitler approved
  • Fkh chaoshas quoted6 years ago
    He paused. 'Hitler then asked me 'and then what are you going to do?' Hitler was the first person who had thought to ask me this vital question. I replied that I would continue west. The supreme leadership had to decide if my aim was Paris or Amiens. I thought that I should go past Amiens to the English Channel.'
    Hitler merely nodded, but his question had shown once again that he was able to grasp the potential of a new idea faster than his generals. Within a few days of the conference he was demanding that the OKH draw up detailed plans for the invasion of France based on Manstein's ideas. But Hitler added a significant touch of his own. He ordered that the attack should start in the north as originally envisaged, but that this should be merely a feint to draw the French and British deep in to Belgium. Hitler also ordered the Ardennes column to be made even stronger than envisaged by Manstein. Hitler did not see this as merely a strong flank attack. He wanted to encircle the allied armies to the north and destroy them.
    Hitler was enthused by the idea, later dubbed Sichelschnitt, ('Sickle-stroke') and threw himself into the detailed planning even more closely than he had done with the Polish campaign. It was at Hitler's insistence that the Panzer IVs were removed from other panzer divisions and concentrated in those which would make the main drive through Sedan. With his usual detailed grasp of technical detail he realised that the Panzer IVs would be needed in the south while the Panzer IIIs and other models would be quite capable of the less demanding tasks allocated to them in other areas.

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