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The German Way of War: From the Thirty Years' War to the Third Reich (Modern War Studies) [Englisch] [Taschenbuch]

Robert Michael Citino
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Kurzbeschreibung

4. September 2008 Modern War Studies
For Frederick the Great, the prescription for warfare was simple: kurz und vives ("short and lively")--wars that relied upon swift, powerful, and decisive military operations. Robert Citino takes us on a dramatic march through Prussian and German military history to show how that primal theme played out time and time again. Citino focuses on operational warfare to demonstrate continuity in German military campaigns from the time of Elector Frederick Wilhelm and his great "sleigh-drive" against the Swedes to the age of Adolf Hitler and the blitzkrieg to the gates of Moscow. Along the way, he underscores the role played by the Prussian army in elevating a small, vulnerable state to the ranks of the European powers, describes how nineteenth-century victories over Austria and France made the German army the most respected in Europe, and reviews the lessons learned from the trenches of World War I. Through this long view, Citino reveals an essential recurrent pattern--characterized by rapid troop movements and surprise attacks, maneuvers to outflank the enemy, and a determination to annihilate the opposition--that made it possible for the Germans to fight armies often larger than their own. He highlights the aggressiveness of Prussian and German commanders--trained simply to find the enemy and keep attacking--and destroys the myth of Auftragstaktik ("flexible command"), replacing it with the independence of subordinate commanders. He also brings new interpretations to well-known operations, such as Moltke's 1866 campaign and the opening campaign in 1914, while introducing readers to less familiar but important battles like Langensalza and the Annaberg. The German way of war, as Citino shows, was fostered by the development of a widely accepted and deeply embedded military culture that supported and rewarded aggression. His book offers a fresh look at one of the most remarkable, respected, and reviled militaries of the past half millennium and marks another sterling contribution to the history of operational warfare.

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The German Way of War: From the Thirty Years' War to the Third Reich (Modern War Studies) + Mythos und Wirklichkeit. Die Geschichte des operativen Denkens im deutschen Heer von Moltke d. Ä. bis Heusinger
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Produktinformation

  • Taschenbuch: 428 Seiten
  • Verlag: Univ Pr of Kansas (4. September 2008)
  • Sprache: Englisch
  • ISBN-10: 0700616241
  • ISBN-13: 978-0700616244
  • Größe und/oder Gewicht: 22,8 x 16,1 x 2,3 cm
  • Durchschnittliche Kundenbewertung: 5.0 von 5 Sternen  Alle Rezensionen anzeigen (1 Kundenrezension)
  • Amazon Bestseller-Rang: Nr. 74.685 in Fremdsprachige Bücher (Siehe Top 100 in Fremdsprachige Bücher)

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Pressestimmen

"Takes the reader on a sweeping march through 300 years of Prussian/German military history and operational thought as Citino explains the 'why' of the German style of waging operational war. He does an exceptional job explaining the operational conduct of the German army during both world wars and how its style of fighting eventually contributed to the defeat of the Third Reich." - Armor "This book combines colossal scholarship with massively entertaining material. It is all here: the great captains from Frederick the Great to Erich von Manstein, the great theorists and planners from Clausewitz and Moltke to Schlieffen, Seeckt, and Guderian, the pivotal battles that shaped European history, and a humanist's splendid recreation at every turn of the ambiance - sometimes delightful, sometimes odious - of the German army and Central Europe." - Geoffrey Wawro, author of The Franco-Prussian War "Citino is one of the most insightful historians of operational warfare working today, and his gifts for narrative and puckish myth-busting do not fail him here. This is a fascinating and important book that challenges many conventional ideas and suggests others that are worthy of debate and future study." - Journal of Military History"

Synopsis

For Frederick the Great, the prescription for warfare was simple: kurz und vives ("short and lively") - wars that relied upon swift, powerful, and decisive military operations. Robert Citino takes us on a dramatic march through Prussian and German military history to show how that primal theme played out time and time again. Citino focuses on operational warfare to demonstrate continuity in German military campaigns from the time of Elector Frederick Wilhelm and his great "sleigh-drive" against the Swedes to the age of Adolf Hitler and the blitzkrieg to the gates of Moscow. Along the way, he underscores the role played by the Prussian army in elevating a small, vulnerable state to the ranks of the European powers, describes how nineteenth-century victories over Austria and France made the German army the most respected in Europe, and reviews the lessons learned from the trenches of World War I. Through this long view, Citino reveals an essential recurrent pattern - rapid troop movements and surprise attacks, maneuvers to outflank the enemy, and a determination to annihilate the opposition - that made it possible for the Germans to fight armies often larger than their own.

He highlights the aggressiveness of Prussian and German commanders - trained simply to find the enemy and keep attacking - and destroys the myth of Auftragstaktik ("flexible command"), replacing it with the independence of subordinate commanders. He also brings new interpretations to well-known operations, such as Moltke's 1866 campaign and the opening campaign in 1914, while introducing readers to less familiar but important battles like Langensalza and the Annaberg. The German way of war, as Citino shows, was fostered by the development of a widely accepted and deeply embedded military culture that supported and rewarded aggression. His book offers a fresh look at one of the most remarkable, respected, and reviled militaries of the past half millennium and marks another sterling contribution to the history of operational warfare. -- Dieser Text bezieht sich auf eine vergriffene oder nicht verfügbare Ausgabe dieses Titels.


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5.0 von 5 Sternen Sehr gutes Buch für den interessierten Laien 18. Februar 2013
Format:Taschenbuch|Verifizierter Kauf
Hier hat ein Fachmann für interessierte Laien geschrieben. Das Buch ist spannend und anschaulich.
Citino behandelt das Thema "Warum haben deutsche Armeen seit ca. Friedrich dem Großen so überdurchschnittlich gut gekämpft?"
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Amazon.com: 4.1 von 5 Sternen  21 Rezensionen
52 von 55 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
4.0 von 5 Sternen or Why the Germans Fight Like They Do 26. März 2006
Von Ian B. Leary - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Format:Gebundene Ausgabe
Robert Citino takes a foundational view of Prussian (later German) way of seeing warfare that has led to the war fighting patterns observable over the past 400 years. Specific viewpoints based in the economic and population base of the Prussian state of 400 years ago led to a way of fighting that is recognizable throughout the history since.

Citino looks to Frederick William I as the progenitor of the Prussian way of war in the modern era. Frederick ruled a nation "on the periphery of the Holy Roman Empire" which had a very limited economy and a small population. It was impossible to field and maintain a large army for an extended war. Therefore, the Prussians had to fight to win very short, violent wars. The only way to do this was to attack the enemy with the utmost aggression. The best way to attack was to maneuver onto the enemy's flank or into his rear and destroy him.

According to Citino, this thinking is the basis for Prussian/German organization, training, and operation from Frederick's time forward. The author provides us with many examples of this modus operendi in action covered the era from Frederick William I to Operation Barbarossa. The author also points out where the Prussian way of war is deficient--logistics and intelligence being among the most important shortcomings.

I found this book superb. Seeing German military history through the lens of Prussian military philosophy makes what has been previously mysterious understandable. Despite years of reading WW2 history, I still could never get my head around certain concepts. Why were the Germans so unprepared for the end of the campaign season in 1941? Why were they so reluctant to go into winter positions when they had time? Why was the logistical effort so poorly planned and executed compared to the operational effort? Various authors have made various claims which never really satisfied me. Seen through the lens of Prussian bias, the events of the 1941 campaign make perfect sense. The Germans made every effort to finish the war in a single campaign. They were so strongly temperamentally disinclined (especially Hitler) to go to the defensive with the enemy still in the field against them that the Germans pushed until they literally ran out of strength. The WW1 experience only reinforced their determination not to go into prepared positions until the offensive options had been exhausted. Ultimately, there was no rational reason for the Germans to refuse to get themselves ready for Winter 1941-1942. They simply couldn't bring themselves to do it because doing so went against everything they believed.

This book would be a valuable addition to any library with a section for military history.
43 von 45 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
5.0 von 5 Sternen A Brilliant Concept! 30. Dezember 2005
Von Christopher M. Pierson - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Format:Gebundene Ausgabe
Imagine that you are in command of an army. You are marching your troops toward the enemy, when suddenly you find yourself under attack. You do your best to hold them off and might even find yourself starting to experience some success. Suddenly, you become surrounded in a giant cauldron of fire from a direction that you never would have imagined possible. You were prepared for a long, bloody, and drawn out war, but find yourself completely incapable of fighting within a matter of days, or even hours. You have just been defeated by the German/Prussian army. Relax, you were not the first.

This, according to Robert Citino, is the German way of War, "short and lively." For over three-hundred years, armies from the kingdom of Prussia and later, Germany had devised a method of fighting conducive to their geographic location and manpower. The only way an army from this region could be successful in war was to win them quickly. Any bogging down of this army (stellungskrieg) would put a massive strain on their resources. In other words they were unable to fight a prolonged campaign. The solution: fight a war of movement (bewegungskrieg). This war of movement was designed, tested, and perfected over the course of three-hundred years of intercontinental fighting between random European nations and Prussia/Germany. Names like Frederick the Great, Blucher, Helmuth von Moltke, Schlieffen, Guderian, and a host of others are all mentioned along with their contributions to the German way of War.

The German Way of War is a remarkable book. Compelling from beginning to end, it is filled with information on every major German conflict since the Thirty Years' War. The thesis of the book is that despite rapidly improving technology, and an ever-growing population, the Germans style of fighting remained constant. Keep the wars "short and lively," find the enemy and attack, attack, attack. Pin down your enemy with accurate firepower and maneuver onto his rear, forming a huge cauldron (kesselschlacht). Although it sounds easy, only the Germans managed to perfect it, over and over again. While Citino does give attention to Germany's successes, he also discusses their failures, and why they occurred. This is a great book for anyone interested in modern European warfare. The chapters on the Napoleonic wars and World War II are outstanding. There are not too many books in English that tell the story of the Napoleonic wars from the Prussian point of view.

Overall, The German Way of War is recommended for anyone interested in modern European or operational warfare. The only criticism is that does not have nearly enough maps for the amount of battles analyzed. An inherent knowledge of the European landscape is required to fully understand many of the battles discussed, unless you want to keep a map of Europe handy while reading. This, however, is a minor criticism of an otherwise excellent book.
23 von 26 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
3.0 von 5 Sternen Disappointing 9. März 2008
Von Richard Peterson - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Format:Gebundene Ausgabe|Verifizierter Kauf
After reading Robert Citino's excellent books "Quest for Decisive Victory" and "Blitzkrieg to Desert Storm", I was excited to read his latest book. Unfortunately, it turned out to be a disappointment. Citino reduces the German way of war down to a few basic concepts: the limited resources of the Prussian state created a need to keep wars "short and lively" (kurz und vives) which, in turn, led to a focus on operational maneuvers (bewegungskrieg) to achieve decisive victories, preferably by flanking or better yet encircling the enemy (kesselschlacht). Subordinate commanders were given wide latitude and could even flout orders with few or no consequences (the independence of subordinate commanders). For someone who echoes Moltke's disdain for catchphrases, he uses them a lot.

He makes the point that the German army's shortcomings were mostly the flipside of their virtues, although he doesn't discuss this in much detail. He also puts forth the idea that the independence of subordinate commanders derived from the unique social contract between the Junker class and the monarchy. It is an interesting, if not entirely convincing, argument. After all, as he explains, many of the best (and most independent-minded) officers of the 17th, 18th and even early 19th centuries were not Junkers, but foreign mercenaries.

His evidence is also a bit one-sided: it is easy enough to come up with a list of cautious and/or defensively-minded generals to put against his litany of aggressive "attack dogs" (his phrase). Which does not invalidate the truth or value of his conclusions: they help make clear many choices by German generals that otherwise seem inexplicable. But once you get this far, there's no more to say. Citino just keeps pounding away at these few points over and over again, as if we were third graders being taught the multiplication table. If I never see the phrase "kurz und vives" again, it will be too soon. Is there nothing more to the "German Way of War"?

It would have been more interesting if he had explored some other aspects of the German army's performance; particularly such contradictory points as its excellence in defense when its doctrine was so focused on the attack. At the least, he needed to explain better how these doctrines were transmitted down the generations. Saying that it was bred into their genes is a singularly useless metaphor. Certainly Frederick the Great thoroughly imbued these ideas into his army; his comment that the Prussian army only attacks sums up much of Citino's thesis. But only British subsidies allowed him to replace the soldiers his doctrine killed off. His victory at Rossbach did not keep the French off his back, a British-Hannoverian army did that. This is hardly a resounding endorsement. Geriatric generals who began their careers under Frederick help explain the disasters at Jena and Auerstadt. But why, after such clear proof that it was not a panacea, was it still treated as dogma in 1866, 1870, 1914 and 1939?

The book has its strong points. It's basic thesis is clear and well (overly?) supported, if a bit simplistic. Citino does a first-class job of describing many interesting campaigns and battles from 1656 to 1941; although this is rather spoiled by the few and sketchy maps. He does a better job at bringing to life the key characters: the Great Elector (Grosser Kurfurst), Seydlitz, Derfflinger, Frederick the Great, Clausewitz, Moltke and Schlieffen. It is fascinating, but totally irrelevant, how many of these names ended up on German battleships and battlecruisers. The footnotes (as always with Citino's books) do an excellent job of pointing you to further reading on every topic or event discussed.

His final conclusion, that by 1941 the independence of command crucial to the German Way of War had been rendered obsolete by advances in technology, rings hollow. Certainly Rommel, Manstein, Patton and others were prepared to flout orders when they saw the need, right up to the end of the war. Ultimately, in spite of its strengths, I found this book disappointing.
15 von 16 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
5.0 von 5 Sternen Excellent Work -- Explains Many Otherwise Unresolved Questions Concerning German Strategy 27. September 2008
Von David M. Dougherty - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Format:Taschenbuch|Verifizierter Kauf
This is another excellent book by author Citino who consistently maintains a very high level of scholarship and analysis in all his works.

Although the sub-title is "From the Thirty Years' War to the Third Reich", the Thirty Years War was from 1618 to 1648 and this book really starts with 1675 and the birth of the Prussian Army. Some may criticize Citino's thesis because it does not look at other German states like Hannover and Bavaria, but the Prussian dominance from 1870 onwards renders other studies relatively meaningless to understand why the Germans did what they did in World Wars One and Two (militarily.)

The central theme is that the German Army was organized and constructed for a very rapid mobilization of well-trained troops able to drive a single campaign through to the defeat of the enemy. However, the infrastructure of the German economy was left relatively intact, so long wars caused unacceptible stresses and defeat. The three Prussian wars in the 19th century proved the validity of the quick war, and the strategy for defeating the Entente in World War I followed the same line. Unfortunately for the Germans, the campaign of 1914 against the French and British did not achieve victory, and in some respects, its failure doomed German aspirations.

In World War II, Hitler, the OKH and OKW all constructed plans for rapid campaigns, and initially in Poland, Holland, Belgium and France they were successful. Barbarossa did not achieve its ends in Russia, however, and the turning point was reached according to Halder and other high-ranking officers following the setbacks before Moscow. A single chance remained -- that of defeating the remaining Soviet armies in the summer offensive of 1942, but by July (well before Stalingrad) the handwriting was on the wall.

The German logistical concepts were also oriented towards quick campaigns, and both in the winter of 1914/15 and 1941/2 the German armies experienced severe supply problems. What had gone wrong was simply that a long campaign was not planned for, and commanders were forced to improvise to an extreme degree. Some writers have even characterized the German Army of 1940/41 as a Schaufensterarmee (show window army), all for show instead of being a well-supplied, long term military machine. Following France's defeat in 1940, Hitler even reduced military equipment production -- an act in hindsight that appears to be the untimate in folly.

A second major point in Citino's work is the development of the officer corps and its Auftragstaktik (mission-oriented tactics) and the issuing of orders specifying the mission and leaving execution up to the field commanders. Bolstering this was the Army's excellent training of officers, both in staff and line functions, and the pushing of authority and responsibility for accomplishing the mission all the way down to the squad leader and assistant squad leader level. Although American films like to present German officers and men as blindly following orders, in actual reality German officers and NCOs enjoyed more freedom in decision-making than American officers. Not surprisingly, after World War II the American Army adopted German training and testing methods on a wholesale basis.

With respect to discipline and ruthlessness, Citino noted that the German Army carried out 22,000 death sentences in World War II as compared to only 48 in World War I. These are undebated statistics, but the vast majority of death sentences were carried out on the Eastern Front while the Wehrmacht was in retreat, and commanders such as Schoerner and Model consistently resorted to draconian methods to maintain effective resistance. It is quite possible that such methods were necessary, since the two commanders named were better able than others to halt the Soviet advances late in the war.

At any rate, this is a thought-provoking and highly interesting book. It is a significant addition to the military historian's library, and I recommend it without qualification. It is difficult for me to understand some reviewers' low ratings. Even if one resists the author's thesis and conclusions, this book is so well done that it deserves a high rating.

The reader would be well advised to read this book in conjunction with Citino's other fine work on German Army doctrine and training, "The Path To Blitzkrieg."
29 von 35 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
5.0 von 5 Sternen Another great book by Robert Citino 11. November 2005
Von 1. - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Format:Gebundene Ausgabe|Verifizierter Kauf
Robert Citino writes the German Way of War consists of finding the enemy and attacking him first. This was seen in battles of Leuthen and Rossbach during the Seven Years War in which the Prussians hit the flanks of their opponents. But these tactics were flawed when the Prussians attacked the entrenched Russian forces at the battle of Zorndorf.The same tactics were used in the Napoleonic Wars during the battles of Eylau and later Lepzig when the Prussian armies constantly hitted at the vulnerable flanks of the French forces. Prince Frederick Charles continued this tradition when attacking the Austrians first at the Battle of Koniggratz. However these aggressive tactics failed during the Battle of Langensalza in which the Prussian army was defeated by entrenched Hannoverian soldiers. Aggresive Prussian tactics also helped to defeat the paralyzed French army during the Franco-German War. The limitations of agressively striking the weak flank of enemy army first was seen in the battles of Namur and Lodz in which smaller units were unable to follow directions by the high command. The Germans solved this problem during the Second World War by using the radio to give out orders and continued their agressive tactics in the Polish and French campaigns successfully. However these tatics failed against the massive and agressive Soviet Army in 1941. The only weakness of this book is that Citino leaves out the German disasters at Verdun and Stalingrad, but otherwise I would highly reccommend this book for anyone who is interested in the faults of the German army.
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