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3.8 out of 5 stars
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on 20 May 2003
If you have an interest in the Second World War than this book is a must. It has a number of scenarios where various battles and campaigns that germany did badly in, went well for them. For example, what if Hitler had been in the German navy in WW1? For WW2, he might have realised that the key to making Britain keep out of the war was to cripple the Royal Navy.
Or what if Hitler had made sure to keep all the German nuclear physicists that fled for Britain and the US? Might he have developed the atom bomb before he was defeated and used it on London and Moscow?
What makes the book effective is that each scenario is written as if it were a history book and that is what happened. It never uses the words 'what if' - it pretends that the scenario is what happened. Only at the end does it say what really happened and how.
A brilliant book in my opinion and a must-read for anyone with an interest in WW2
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on 14 July 2010
As a history buff for some fifty years, I have until relatively recently avoided these 'alternative' histories on the basis that they are mere fantasy, often driven by the ideological sympathies of the writer, but a chance purchase of Sid Meier's splendid computer game [[ASIN:B0002LIAJK Civilization III Deluxe Gold Edition: Civilization III + Play The World + Conquests + Fan Kit changed my opinion completely. Having now spent several highly enjoyable years attempting to build a civilization (Roman, Greek, British Empire, Soviet etc... that will 'stand the test of time', I am now clearly aware that chance events have sometimes influenced human history enormously; just one real-life example being the discovery of steam power in Roman times, and its rejection as 'economically unviable' in the slave based economy of those times!

When read from this viewpoint, 'Third Reich Victorious' raises some very interesting questions indeed. I now quote the summary printed on the cover:- "This book is a stimulating and entirely plausable insight into how Hitler and his generals might have defeated the Allies, and a convincing sideways look at the Third Reich's bid at global domination in World War II.
What would have happened if, for example, the Germans had managed to capture the whole of the BEF at Dunkirk? Or if the RAF had been defeated in the Battle of Britain? What if the Red Army had really been shattered in the summer of 1941 or if Axis forces had achieved the conquest of North Africa?"

The ten scenarios are:-

1. The Little Admiral, 1939.
2. Disaster at Dunkirk, 1940.
3. The Battle of Britain 1940.
4. The Storm and the Whirlwind.
5. The Hinge.
6. Into the Caucasus.
7. Known Enemies and Forced Allies.
8. Luftwaffe Triumphant.
9. Hitler's Bomb.
10.Rommel versus Zhukov.

Obviously World War II was a highly industrialized war, and as other reviews make clear, long term strategic economic/production decisions taken during the 1930's were crucial, with Britain's development of the Spitfire fighter and long range bomber fleets, Russian research into tank design and America's construction of a 'two ocean navy' all being of major significance to it's course and outcome. This makes some scenarios more plausable than others, but each is followed by a section detailing 'the reality' on which it is based. To my mind the most plausable are 2, 3, 4 and 8; which back up the points made by David Hoffman in How Hitler Lost the War [DVD] [Region 1] [US Import] [NTSC].

To conclude; this well written and highly entertaining book illustrates just how close Nazism came to emerging victorious from WWII; but Hitler and his generals misplayed the hand Fate had dealt them, with effects that have changed Western society irrevocably and for ever.
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on 26 March 2010
So much has been written and yet so little is understood about military decisions in the Second World War. What if Hitler had been in the Navy? What if Rommel had served in the East? The Classic and misunderstood reasons for the German loss in Normandy; Hitler's faults and Rommel's restrictions? All of it silly and poorly understood. One might as well ask, What if England had a land boarder with France in 1940? Surely the Germans would have won then?

All of the chapters miss one crucial point; realism. Peter Touras wrote a book called Disaster at D-Day, in which he changed very little, save for a few key decisions on the Allied, rather than German, side. And this is the point. Authors focus far too much on what the Germans did or don't do rather on their capabilities. Could the Germans have carried out Sealion even if the Luftwaffe won the Battle of Britain. No. As the complicated tests as Sandhurst showed in 1974 (which used the eaxct plan and former German CAS').

Would Rommel have won the war in the East? No. Once agin the public's perception of Rommel, as with most German Generals, is a German genious undermined by his Fuhrer. Yet, for all Rommel's tactical ability, he was vey bad at operational art (logisitics and intelligence) and evn worse at formulating military strategy. This is perhaps why the German GS referred to him as "the best battalion commnader the German Army ever had".

Could he have defeated the Allies at Normandy? No. He might have contained them had he been given the appropriate forces, by Allied air, material and naval superiority would have seen the Germans defeated, as shown during very complicated re-runs of the senario in various military academies around the world. The Panzers would have been obliterated by Naval artillery (as at Anzio) if they had attempted to 'crush' the beachheads.

Could the Germans have won the battle of the Atlantic? Yes. But would this have saved the Third Reich in the East? No.

The German failures, both industrial, in terms of military strategy, and politically, was the core product of the defeats in 1914-1918 and 1939-1945. Failure sof production until 1944, failures in prioritising theatre of operations, failure in weapon procurement (producing specialised heavy tanks like the Tiger and Panther, instead of focusing on cheap Mk IV Panzers), failure to produce heavy bombers or have a U-Boat fleet fit for purpose by 1939), were all key.

In reality, the decisions were made in 1933-39. The Germans had lost the war before in had begun. This author, as with most others, seems to believe wars are fought and won purely on the Battlefield. It depends on whether the Germans turned south instead of east at Kiev, or south instead of east at Rostov. Tis is not the case. Alternate realities deserve more than this. Much more.
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on 22 April 2002
Imagine opening a history book, and rather than reading about the victories of Montgomery and the allies, you learn that Hitler won. This is how this book works. Each chapter tells a different story in a historical syle.
So you learn how German pilots won the Battle of Britain. In a way it's very dramatic and brings home to you how close we came to losing.
Of course, as with all "fake history" there's the issue of could this really happen. Example: if Hitler had joined the navy in WW1, would he really have won WW2?
As long as you don't take this too seriously it's a fascinating read, and at times quite gripping.
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on 3 September 2013
An excellent collection of WWII what-ifs. If you have ever played Hearts of Iron you will recognize that many of the options from the Technology Tree. This basically allows you to change the strategy of the axis by changing their research emphasis to other areas such as Naval, Air and Nuclear. Most of the strategies in this book are built around changes in technology direction or changes in leadership.

However having played loads of war games here are my tips for German Victory. 1. Don't Invade Russia - wait for them to come to you. 2. Build lots of fighter aircraft and naval bombers, take down the RAF and then bomb the royal navy to dust then invade, 3. give Rommel more troops in the desert and let him take the Middle East.
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on 11 August 2015
Alternate histories of the results of battles and wars can be very good or bad. They are good if they are based on facts before veering off into a lane of a plausible difference. Furthermore, while that difference can be based on some action taken by a military or political leader, it cannot include any actions by some single or small group of supersoldiers. People knowledgeable of the history must also read the alternate and have no reason to dispute the premise that it could have happened, albeit unlikely.
Of course, the simplest scenario whereby Hitler emerged victorious in World War II was the early development of nuclear weapons by Germany. That is one of the ten scenarios and even though it was a predictable inclusion it was well done. However, it is not the best of these scenarios.
The most plausible scenario is the one where the smallest number of men made the greatest difference, in the Battle of Britain. The Germans made some fundamental mistakes in their air attacks that could have led to RAF fighter command being overwhelmed, leading to German overwhelming air superiority in southern England. If that had happened, then Germany could have successfully invaded England if Hitler had any understanding of sea power.
I enjoyed reading these stories, while they deviate from what actually happened, they all retain enough reality so that you think, “That could have happened.” This is a great book and I am now interested in tracking down Tsouras’ other alternate history collections.
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VINE VOICEon 6 October 2006
It used to be that historians looked down upon anybody who dared to write a 'what if' scenario for the public. They thought this was a mere parlour game; the domain of journalists and other hacks who'd failed (in their eyes) to become 'proper' academic scholars.

Now of course the boot is on the other foot, and such counter-factual writings (to give their posh title) or 'what ifs' are very much in vogue.

Third Reich Victorious is nice romp through World War 2 (mainly the European theatre of operations) with separate chapters on a whole range of battles and campaigns, and how things might have turned out differently. What I liked about this book is that the scenarios were not too outlandish, and the authors stuck to what would have been within the range of possibilities - much better than, say, giving Nazi Germany super-weapons in 1941 and watching them stomp all over Europe.

Some chapters are stronger than others, but the nice thing is that they are essentially short. The authors generally limit themselves to a particular battle or campaign -- and assess from there what might have resulted. Naturally with these musings, the further you go from the point of departure from real history, the harder it is to work out what might have happened. This is why these collections by Greenhill work so well. In my opinion, when these scenarios are written out at book-length, they tend to drag a little in comparison.

If you like alternative history, then this is for you
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on 22 August 2011
The book is essentially a what if look at if the Nazis or Allies had taken different decisions and those are then used to help play out certain scenarios such as Operation Sealine which is one of the Non-events that is covered, the book was written by Peter G Tsouras who in turn received advice by military historians and military leaders to forge the chapters within the book.
All in all i would say that this book is a very good read and the book itself arrived on time in perfect condition.
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on 31 March 2015
when history as we know it at present, is given a remake, to change the outcome , I think in some of the history re-writes the selected outcome chosen is dictating some very improbable sequence of events taking place. eg Hitler being shot and killed at the time of the Munich uprising in the 1920's, then in all probability, there would be no world war two.Or if he had been permanently blinded by gas in the first world war. It would be very interesting if some one could write a history, of what, the world would be like today, if there had never been a second world war. Makes you wonder.
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on 5 December 2010
I read all the stories in one go (on a plane). I thought some of them were a bit far fetched, but on the whole I really enjoyed them. Small decisions that could change so much.... Got goose bumps a few times.
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