The German Wars: A Concise History, 1859-1945
Zenith Press, 2010 (2010)
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Reviewed by Bob Walch
n this fascinating book Michael Palmer investigates what it was about the German Way of War that resulted in a near universal acceptance of the nation's battlefield excellence, and how a nation recognized for military supremacy still ended up losing two world wars.
nswering these questions, the author offers a two-part thesis: '
First, the Germans, unlike the Americans, failed to mature strategically as their nation grew and became more powerful,
' he writes. '
Second, the Germans, along with virtually everyone else, misinterpreted the lessons of their own success against Denmark (1864), Austria (1866), and France (1870) and concluded that they had to and could successfully wage short, decisive wars in the age of industrial warfare.
s history proved, reality caught up with the German military machine during the First and Second World Wars and the country paid a heavy price for that error.
s he develops these ideas, Palmer looks at major battles and the events of every major German war during this period (1859-1945) and offers his insights and analysis to sort out the causes and effects of each conflict.
he book's conclusion makes some interesting observations on today's military. '
The West, with all its power, remains wedded to its self-imposed strictures governing warfare as if it were refighting the Franco-Prussian War,
' explains Palmer, '
whereas assorted non-Westerners, having rejected Western ideals and political and cultural assumptions, follow their own rules and are branded as terrorists.
nyone interested in military history and warfare will find much to mull over in this short (248 pages) but thought provoking book.
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