Cover

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Title Page, Copyright

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pp. i-iv

Contents

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p. v

Illustrations

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pp. vi-vii

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Translator’s Note

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p. viii

For his invaluable help with military historical and operational insights, I wish to thank my husband, Colonel (ret.) Clinton J. Ancker III, former assistant professor of military history at West Point and present director of the...

Abbreviations

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pp. 10-13

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Introduction

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pp. 1-6

The era of the Wehrmacht spans only one decade. In the approximately 300 years of Prussian-German military history, the shortest episode involved the army that pledged itself to Adolf Hitler. Neither before nor since has...

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1. The Military in the Totalitarian Führer State

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pp. 7-42

On 16 March 1935 chancellor of the Reich Adolf Hitler proclaimed German “military sovereignty.” To his inner circle he described the enormous inner tension that had preceded his sudden decision and how he had hardly been able...

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2. The Regime’s Armed Forces

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pp. 43-90

Rarely has any army in the world been analyzed and described as often as this one. Never has an army experienced such highs and lows, and never in military history has an army been subjected to such widely varying judgments, including...

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3. Training and Front Experience

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pp. 91-106

During the war, all the major powers strengthened their militaries many times over. The necessary expansion of the Wehrmacht after the start of the war was initially limited due to an elaborate system whereby many were designated...

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4. The Wehrmacht and the Volksgemeinschaft

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pp. 107-122

In the 1930s Germany experienced a comprehensive militarization. Idealized as an ethnic community with a shared heritage, this society would have to maintain itself in the coming war according to Hitler’s expectations. It was to...

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5. The War of the Factories

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pp. 123-138

The First World War showed that in the war of the factories, a nation’s ability to mobilize industrial, technological, and scientific capabilities played a powerful role. This could compensate, to a certain extent, for personnel or material...

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6. Total War and the War of Annihilation

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pp. 139-154

The First World War is commonly viewed as the earliest manifestation of total war; the Second World War, as total war at its peak. The term “total war” refers to an all-out effort for the sake of war, that is, an entire society’s mobilization...

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7. The Wehrmacht and Operations

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pp. 155-198

In the gray dawn of 1 September 1939, the German Wehrmacht attacked neighboring Poland. Unlike in 1914, there had been no declaration of war. Instead, there had been an attack on the German radio station in...

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Epilogue

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pp. 199-204

Despite the Allies’ demand for an unconditional surrender in 1943 and the announcement of the punishment of German war criminals, no one in the Wehrmacht could imagine that this was the end of the 300-year tradition of...

Notes

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pp. 205-210

Bibliography

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pp. 211-218

Index

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pp. 219-236