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21 of 23 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Stolfi breaks new ground in E- Front historical analysis
Stolfi's analysis is both innovative and excellent. Like Holmes, he notices the clue of the "barking dog in the night." Watson says, "But there was no dog barking in the night." "Precisely," says Holmes.
Stolfi's thesis is that at the end of July the Soviets were on the ropes. There was nothing between the Germans and Moscow which...
Published on 23 Nov. 1998

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15 of 16 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Simplistic and Repetitive
Stolfi's thesis is that Hitler lost the war when he failed to
launch an attack on Moscow in August 1941.
The author argues that (a) Hitler had the capability of attacking Moscow, and that conditions favoured
such an attack: first, the weather problems which Operation Typhoon met in November and December 1941
would not have been present, and (b) Hitler...
Published on 14 Feb. 2005 by Tom MacFarlane


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15 of 16 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Simplistic and Repetitive, 14 Feb. 2005
This review is from: Hitler's Panzers East: World War II Reinterpreted (Paperback)
Stolfi's thesis is that Hitler lost the war when he failed to
launch an attack on Moscow in August 1941.
The author argues that (a) Hitler had the capability of attacking Moscow, and that conditions favoured
such an attack: first, the weather problems which Operation Typhoon met in November and December 1941
would not have been present, and (b) Hitler gave Stalin time to reinforce Moscow's defences.
There can be no argument about the weather, but Stalin only brought Zhukov's Far Eastern troops to the defence of
Moscow in reponse to Operation Typhoon, something he could equally have done in August or September.
Finally, Stolfi pays insufficient attention to the flank problems that might well have threatened an earlier
attack, and which are cited by other authors, such as Heinz Magenheimer in his book "Hitler's War".
I found the constant repetition of his central thesis, without additional support, less than convincing.
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21 of 23 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Stolfi breaks new ground in E- Front historical analysis, 23 Nov. 1998
By A Customer
This review is from: Hitler's Panzers East: World War II Reinterpreted (Paperback)
Stolfi's analysis is both innovative and excellent. Like Holmes, he notices the clue of the "barking dog in the night." Watson says, "But there was no dog barking in the night." "Precisely," says Holmes.
Stolfi's thesis is that at the end of July the Soviets were on the ropes. There was nothing between the Germans and Moscow which could have stopped them. Everyone was champing at the bit to go for the jugular, i.e. Moscow. Take Moscow and the entire Eastern Front would be turned inside-out. The Red armies in the North and South would be on exterior lines, forced to fight on reversed fronts, without direct communications with each other. Continued Russian resistance no doubt depended on continued existence of the hated Communist regime, which was by that time very doubtful. With the Germans reported at Khimki, there were open incidents of rebellion in the streets.
To criticize Stolfi for repetition is to misunderstand the nature and obligations of logical argument and marshalling of evidence. He takes the case from each of several decisive perspectives and determines that no matter how you look at it, the Germans had the Russian campaign won at the end of July -- and with it, WW II. Defeating Russia, and thus obtaining the resources necessary to for the strategic forces buildup which Germany had not completed before 1939 (and these resources would have been secure from Allied bombing), Germany would have been able to turn West again, never fighting on more than one front (which was merely a variation on the classic German strategic theme that it must never fight a war on two fronts). America, preoccupied with the Japanese in the Pacific and faced with a fait accompli in Europe, might never have gotten involved in WW II in Europe anyway.
The only thing which saved Russia was Hitler and his characteristic penchant for snatching defeat from the jaws of victory. His diversion of the attack away from Moscow for two months allowed the dissolving Russian defense to solidify. Even then, even with the mud and the early snow, the Wehrmacht still almost made it. But in the end, the German army's expertise couldn't counteract Hitler's interference again as they had been able to do in the campaign in France in 1940
What Stolfi points out is that the German military were not the simpletons they are often made out to be by the "they could never have defeated the combined industrial might of the Western democracies" crowd of critics. As he very astutely observes, if they won in the very beginning, as they had in France and Norway and the Balkans, then there would never have been a chance for that great might to be deployed. You can't play catch-up ball when the game is over without extra innings.
Stolfi's book is a brilliant exercise of military history, and is very interestedly supplemented by DiNardo's "Germany's Panzer Arm" and van Creveld's "Fighting Power." The German army was specifically designed to do the job it did in France and almost did (and only missed doing by a strategic hair's breadth) in Russia -- i.e. kick butt in the first few weeks and preempt the deployment of the superior strength of the opposition.
Once all is said and done, Stolfi's book is a stunning look at what almost happened to our world. Things would be profoundly different today in ways we can probably never imagine. In the end, his most compelling argument (which he approaches from the many important facets of the problem) is that they damned near did it just the way they said they were going to try to do it.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A very excellent Book, 30 Mar. 1998
By A Customer
This review is from: Hitler's Panzers East: World War II Reinterpreted (Paperback)
This book contains excellently researched supportive material. The eastern front of WWII has been described as one of the most extrodinary wars of all. Labelled 'The Great Patriotic War' by the Russians, much of the USSR statstics have been altered by that government. Mr.Stolfi takes another look at this great and terrible conflict. Statistically and realistically the author examines both The Wehrmact and Red Army's capabilities from the beginning of 'Barbarossa' to the end of 1941. Could Army Group Center of the German Army have marched on Moscow in August, 1941? What would have been the ramifications of this strategy? What are the misconceptions of this conflict? All of these questions are elaborated on in sufficient detail.
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8 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Hard work rewarded, 22 Dec. 2002
By 
Mr. R. J. Jepps "Richard Jepps" (Cambridge UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Hitler's Panzers East: World War II Reinterpreted (Paperback)
On first reading I found this book both heavy going and badly flawed. There is a lot of repetition which obscures the arguments, and the "what if" sections are written in the past tense, which I found both confusing and dangerous when using this work as a reference. For example "By 10 October, the Germans commanded most Soviet territory up to the Volga River. The seizure of Moscow, the advance beyond it, ...". Of course the Germans didn't seize Moscow - so be careful when reading the chapter "Constructing an alternative historical past".
I think the book would be better without this chapter, as it is self-defeating to argue that the Germans could have won, when the rest of the book argues convincingly that Hitler's psychology would prevent the German forces from fully exploiting their advantage in military doctrine that might otherwise have provided the means to achieve final victory.
Having said all this, the book also contains some highly original insights into Hitler's psychology, that provide convincing explanations for those of Hitler's actions that are considered inexplicable blunders in conventional historical thinking.
The repetition has to be forgiven if the book is to survive sustained academic scrutiny. I am not sure that the book's theories will necessarily prevail over the conventional. However, the book did provide a key to unlock Hitler's reasons for confronting the Allied powers and the decisions that provoked the declaration of war in 1939.
I think that for its originality, if not its readability, this book deserves its five stars.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Essential reading, 22 Dec. 2012
This review is from: Hitler's Panzers East: World War II Reinterpreted (Paperback)
Very well researched, analytical and detailed book arguing that the Eastern Front was lost to Germany in 1941, contrary to the conventional "Stalingrad as turning point" view. Whether or not you agree with this view, this text really has to be read to explore all aspects of this conflict.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Passes The Time I Suppose, 2 April 2010
This review is from: Hitler's Panzers East: World War II Reinterpreted (Paperback)
A fair read, an interestingly argued thesis, but as with all 'What If's..' ultimately completely fatuous.
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4 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars ***Fantastic recreation******, 18 Jan. 2001
By A Customer
This review is from: Hitler's Panzers East: World War II Reinterpreted (Paperback)
A must read for all historians - This book gives a graphic account of what might have been had the Germans stuck to their original plan for 'Operation Barbarossa'.
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Hitler's Panzers East: World War II Reinterpreted
Hitler's Panzers East: World War II Reinterpreted by R.H.S. Stolfi (Paperback - 27 Sept. 1993)
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