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The Blitzkrieg Myth: How Hitler and the Allies Misread the.


The 1940 German campaign against France and the concept of blitzkrieg have exerted a powerful influence over modern perceptions of warfare. The 1940 campaign is frequently cited in discussions of strategy and operations and in publications about the "Revolution in Military Affairs" (RMA). Proponents of the RMA have argued that blitzkrieg was the product of technological and conceptual advances during the interwar period. They have also claimed that the 1940 campaign demonstrates how such advances can quickly change the conduct of warfare.

The concept of blitzkrieg as it is now understood was not developed by Hitler and the German General Staff. Rather, it was formulated for public consumption. The term appeared occasionally in the literature between 1936 and 1940 and was the subject of a Time magazine article after France’s defeat. At this time, blitzkrieg simply meant a knockout blow in contrast to the trench warfare of World War I. The Germans, for example, employed the term to refer to a short war. No theorist used it to refer to a combined offensive by armored forces and aircraft to deliver a knockout blow against an adversary.

Airpower was important in the 1940 campaign and German ground forces would not have been successful without the air support provided by the Luftwaffe. The Luftwaffe achieved air superiority, established a protective umbrella over advancing German columns, and facilitated the crossing of the Meuse by German forces. German air attacks also confused French commanders about the location of advancing forces and contributed to the collapse of the French 55th Division defending the Meuse. However, German airpower accounted for little of the destruction on the ground nor did its use in the 1940 campaign mark the advent of a fundamentally new way of warfare.

Colonel Robert Doughty heads the Department of History at the U.S. Military Academy. He received his Ph.D. in History from the University of Kansas. Colonel Doughty has written two books about the French military in World War II, The Breaking Point and Seeds of Disaster. He is currently working on a book on French military strategy and doctrine in World War I.

The 1940 German campaign against France and the concept of blitzkrieg have exerted a powerful influence over modern perceptions of warfare. The 1940 campaign is frequently cited in discussions of strategy and operations and in publications about the "Revolution in Military Affairs" (RMA). Proponents of the RMA have argued that blitzkrieg was the product of technological and conceptual advances during the interwar period. They have also claimed that the 1940 campaign demonstrates how such advances can quickly change the conduct of warfare.

The concept of blitzkrieg as it is now understood was not developed by Hitler and the German General Staff. Rather, it was formulated for public consumption. The term appeared occasionally in the literature between 1936 and 1940 and was the subject of a Time magazine article after France’s defeat. At this time, blitzkrieg simply meant a knockout blow in contrast to the trench warfare of World War I. The Germans, for example, employed the term to refer to a short war. No theorist used it to refer to a combined offensive by armored forces and aircraft to deliver a knockout blow against an adversary.

Airpower was important in the 1940 campaign and German ground forces would not have been successful without the air support provided by the Luftwaffe. The Luftwaffe achieved air superiority, established a protective umbrella over advancing German columns, and facilitated the crossing of the Meuse by German forces. German air attacks also confused French commanders about the location of advancing forces and contributed to the collapse of the French 55th Division defending the Meuse. However, German airpower accounted for little of the destruction on the ground nor did its use in the 1940 campaign mark the advent of a fundamentally new way of warfare.

Colonel Robert Doughty heads the Department of History at the U.S. Military Academy. He received his Ph.D. in History from the University of Kansas. Colonel Doughty has written two books about the French military in World War II, The Breaking Point and Seeds of Disaster. He is currently working on a book on French military strategy and doctrine in World War I.

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A bold reinterpretation of some of the most decisive battles of World War II, showing that the outcomes had less to do with popular new technology than old–fashioned, on–the–ground warfare.

The military myths of World War II were based on the assumption that the new technology of the airplane and the tank would cause rapid and massive breakthroughs on the battlefield, or demoralization of the enemy by intensive bombing resulting in destruction, or surrender in a matter of weeks. The two apostles for these new theories were the Englishman J.C.F. Fuller for armoured warfare, and the Italian Emilio Drouhet for airpower. Hitler, Rommel, von Manstein, Montgomery and Patton were all seduced by the breakthrough myth or blitzkrieg as the decisive way to victory.

John Mosier is the author of The Myth of the Great War. He is full professor of English at Loyola University in New Orleans, where, as chair of the English Department and associate dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, he taught primarily European literature and film. His background as a military historian dates from his role in developing an interdisciplinary curriculum for the study of the two world wars, a program funded by the National Endowment for the Humanities. From 1989 to 1992 he edited the New Orleans Review. He lives in Jefferson, Louisiana.

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Secondly, he spends a lot of time defending Montgomery, one of the most disliked British generals in the war. This is not a fault, as Mosier goes far to prove that Montgomery was one of the most misunderstood generals. But sometimes he overemphasizes it, going out of his way to clear the maligned general's name. Thankfully, he does acknowledge Montgomery's shortcomings, especially when it comes down to Operation Market Garden, the ill-advised plan to drop airborne troops in Holland to take a bunch of bridges and then have an armored spearhead drive up the road to meet them. That's what makes this a minor fault rather than a major one.

All in all, The Blitkrieg Myth is a fascinating book if you are at all interested in World War II. Even if you aren't convinced, it will make you think and re-evaluate what you know about the war. Give it a try.

The 1940 German campaign against France and the concept of blitzkrieg have exerted a powerful influence over modern perceptions of warfare. The 1940 campaign is frequently cited in discussions of strategy and operations and in publications about the "Revolution in Military Affairs" (RMA). Proponents of the RMA have argued that blitzkrieg was the product of technological and conceptual advances during the interwar period. They have also claimed that the 1940 campaign demonstrates how such advances can quickly change the conduct of warfare.

The concept of blitzkrieg as it is now understood was not developed by Hitler and the German General Staff. Rather, it was formulated for public consumption. The term appeared occasionally in the literature between 1936 and 1940 and was the subject of a Time magazine article after France’s defeat. At this time, blitzkrieg simply meant a knockout blow in contrast to the trench warfare of World War I. The Germans, for example, employed the term to refer to a short war. No theorist used it to refer to a combined offensive by armored forces and aircraft to deliver a knockout blow against an adversary.

Airpower was important in the 1940 campaign and German ground forces would not have been successful without the air support provided by the Luftwaffe. The Luftwaffe achieved air superiority, established a protective umbrella over advancing German columns, and facilitated the crossing of the Meuse by German forces. German air attacks also confused French commanders about the location of advancing forces and contributed to the collapse of the French 55th Division defending the Meuse. However, German airpower accounted for little of the destruction on the ground nor did its use in the 1940 campaign mark the advent of a fundamentally new way of warfare.

Colonel Robert Doughty heads the Department of History at the U.S. Military Academy. He received his Ph.D. in History from the University of Kansas. Colonel Doughty has written two books about the French military in World War II, The Breaking Point and Seeds of Disaster. He is currently working on a book on French military strategy and doctrine in World War I.

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If you're a seller, Fulfillment by Amazon can help you increase your sales. We invite you to learn more about Fulfillment by Amazon .

A bold reinterpretation of some of the most decisive battles of World War II, showing that the outcomes had less to do with popular new technology than old–fashioned, on–the–ground warfare.

The military myths of World War II were based on the assumption that the new technology of the airplane and the tank would cause rapid and massive breakthroughs on the battlefield, or demoralization of the enemy by intensive bombing resulting in destruction, or surrender in a matter of weeks. The two apostles for these new theories were the Englishman J.C.F. Fuller for armoured warfare, and the Italian Emilio Drouhet for airpower. Hitler, Rommel, von Manstein, Montgomery and Patton were all seduced by the breakthrough myth or blitzkrieg as the decisive way to victory.

John Mosier is the author of The Myth of the Great War. He is full professor of English at Loyola University in New Orleans, where, as chair of the English Department and associate dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, he taught primarily European literature and film. His background as a military historian dates from his role in developing an interdisciplinary curriculum for the study of the two world wars, a program funded by the National Endowment for the Humanities. From 1989 to 1992 he edited the New Orleans Review. He lives in Jefferson, Louisiana.

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