Blitzkrieg: Myth, Reality and Hitler’s Lightning War – France, 1940 Paperback – 7 Sep 2017
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This genuinely revisionist account of the Battle of France in 1940 proves a deeply shocking fact - we are essentially still in thrall to the view of Blitzkrieg tactics that Adolf Hitler and Joseph Goebbels wanted us to have, even over three-quarters of a century later. Lloyd Clark's brilliant analysis proves that Fall Gelb (the Germans' Plan Yellow) wasn't all about unstoppable, superior panzers and Stukas, but was in fact an audacious, highly risky infantry-based plan that could have gone badly wrong given a different Allied mindset. -- Andrew Roberts Lloyd Clark has written a lucid, intelligent and thought-provoking reappraisal... His groundbreaking, detailed research will make it the seminal work on the fall of France in 1940. The story of the breakthrough unfolds at a fascinating and cracking pace... Blitzkrieg is a remarkable book that will reshape many of the traditional assertions made about this battle. -- Robert Kershaw A breakthrough book, bringing the drama of Hitler's May 1940 offensive in France vividly to life - alongside a major reappraisal of the campaign's significance. Excellent. -- Michael Jones A compelling and fresh retelling of one of the century's most intriguing and significant campaigns. * BBC History Magazine * A masterly account teeming with vivid personalities and the usual mixture of heroism, incompetence, and luck * Kirkus Reviews * In this new volume, acclaimed historian Lloyd Clark . . . paints a very different look at the German victory . . . Clark does an excellent job of describing the first critical five days of the campaign . . . He highlights multiple opportunities the French and British had to stop the German advance at vulnerable moments . . . Lloyd presents a well-balanced narrative that highlights the knife-edge victory of the German forces. * New York Journal of Books *
From celebrated military historian Lloyd Clark comes a riveting and richly detailed reassessment of one of the greatest military victories of the Second World War.See all Product description
Top customer reviews
Popular accounts often make much of a German doctrine of Blitzkreig or Lightning War that the Nazi regime masterfully deployed against the Western powers during the opening stages of WW2. Clark compelling argues that no such doctrine existed before the Battle of France. In fact the picture is much more complicated, with a few elite Panzer divisions forming a spearhead, whilst being supported by non-mechanised infancty divisions who effectively pinned the Allied forces in the Low Countries. Conflict within the German heirarchy gave the Allies space to withdraw at Dunkirk; the German military command initially planned to repeat the strategies of WW1, but only changed tack after repeated pressure from Hitler; meanwhile, France lacked the political willpower to either lead a defence or respond to changes in technology.
In the final analysis - the German army was just better prepared, with a better esprit de corps, to overcome the opposition it faced. There was no Blitzkrieg. But that shouldn't detract from the remarkable victory won by the Nazi forces.
I'd highly recommend this volume as an account of the Battle of France.
Most helpful customer reviews on Amazon.com
As with "Prelude to War," this book is filled with tight, concise writing with a lot of visual aids. While lacking the bounce and zip of "Prelude to War," the writing is also the strong suit of this volume. There are many good photos and a couple of maps, but this is where it would've been nice to have less photos of the many geniuses of Jewish extraction who had to leave Germany thanks to Hitler and less photos of Aryan art (though the inclusion of both is appropriate and fascinating) and more maps -- particularly of the Norway invasion as well as Poland, Demark, Holland, Belgium and France -- not to mention the invasion of Finland by Russia.
This book can stand on its own, but is better bought with the whole 39-volume series (rather than buying them all piecemeal). As exhibited by the text, the valor of the outgunned Poles, Fins, Norwegians, Dutch and Belgians (not to mention the doughty Brits) stands in stark contrast to the lack of fight and defeatism shown by the French, particularly its leadership. Each conflict is dealt with a decent amount of detail, as is the subject of the book -- Blitzkrieg, the use of heavy bombers and dive-bombers followed by tanks to create weaknesses in defenses and motorized infantry to exploit them. Included are anecdotes of such legends as Hans Guderian and Erwin Rommel and his 7th Panzer Division. The book ends with the retreat at Dunkirk, which is where the third volume in this collection ("The Battle of Britain") begins.
For those interested in a deeper, modern one-volume account of this part of World War II, I'd recommend "The Blitzkrieg Legend," by Karl Heinz-Frieser. For my money, the best single-volume work on the European part of the war is William Shirer's "The Rise and Fall of the the Third Reich." For the Pacific theater, John Toland's "The Rising Sun" reigns supreme.
This book, as well as the other 38 volumes in this collection, will serve as a good introductory work on the various theaters and elements of the war. It should serve to stimulate the reader into finding an area of interest and delving deeper into it (or them) by buying deeper works.
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