A challenging reassessment of the military history of World War II
The great myth of the First World War was that defense was all-powerful. In the inter war years, a new myth appeared -- that the new technology of the airplane and the tank would result in rapid and massive breakthroughs on the battlefield, with the enemy being destroyed in weeks.
John Mosier shows how Hitler, Rommel, von Manstein, Montgomery, and Patton were all equally seduced by the breakthrough myth, or blitzkrieg, as the decisive way to victory. He 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 rethinking of the strategy and tactics of World War II by the author of the highly praised The Myth of the Great War.
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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.From Publishers Weekly:
In this revisionist history, Mosier (Myth of the Great War) attempts to debunk the conventional understanding of European theater warfare during World War II by declaring that Blitzkrieg-style assaults occurred less often and were less effective than commonly believed. Mosier's reassessment of the military importance of Blitzkrieg-where an army rapidly breaks through its enemy's defenses with a coordinated barrage of ground and air artillery-is certainly worthwhile, and the English professor and amateur military historian presents his case with breezy confidence. But despite a detailed bibliography and notes for each chapter, noticeable omissions undercut Mosier's argument. In the chapter on the fall of France, for example, he does not mention French officer and historian Marc Bloch's classic, firsthand account and analysis Strange Defeat. Mosier also lifts lesser-known commanders, like English general Montgomery, to the exalted heights of Rommel, Patton and Eisenhower (he extols Montgomery as a master of conventional tactics that he considers generally more effective than Blitzkrieg). Although an admirable project, this revision demands that the reader suppose a new, half-baked "historical truth" in lieu of much of the previous literature on Blitzkrieg warfare and WWII. No doubt this will spark plenty of controversy. 10 b&w photos and 11 maps.
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