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A Modern Look Back At War In Europe And Its Effect….

1230 words - 5 pages

Jason BargerstockHist 450 - 54322Essay 57/31/2014"I shall write…."On a June day, not long after the Allied Normandy invasion, a senior signals officer with the 12th SS Panzer Division quipped that "Should we win this war…I shall write a book about why we should have lost it". He spoke those words like a man that knew he was part of the victorious side. History on this subject has already played out and, as we know, the Allies rallied and eventually defeated the Axis powers led by Germany. If only the senior signals officer knew what was to come, he most likely would have said something very different. He might have said "If I survive this losing war, I shall write a book about why we should have won it". Let us suppose what such a book might say.[1: Max Hastings, Overlord: D-Day and the Battle for Normandy (New York: Vintage, 1984) 179]Surely it would contain many stories of bravery and honor. It is true that the German soldier fighting in WW2 was most likely excellently trained in all the most up to date methodology of war. In fact, it was noted by American Brigadier General Williams that the Germans often times adjusted much better to changing conditions than his own side did and that they were "by and large, better soldiers than we were. The Germans liked soldiering, we didn't". A great example of this was the adjustment to changing conditions on the battlefields of Normandy. The Germans correctly assessed the battlefield should an Allied invasion happen there, and developed a plan which used the landscape to their advantage. Seeing that the country would allow for only slow, plodding movement, they developed a plan to work small parties behind Allied positions and turning their flanks. Another example of improvisation would be the use of the German 88mm high velocity anti-aircraft gun against ground targets. Time and time again, Allied attacks were stopped dead in their tracks after coming in contact with a screen of 88mm guns pointed directly at them. It is said that "the unforgettable lightning crack of an 88mm remained implanted in the memory of every survivor of the Normandy campaign". Both examples worked successfully and showed a level of improvisation not shown by the Allies as frequently. [2: Hastings, Overlord: D-Day and the Battle for Normandy, 179][3: Hastings, Overlord: D-Day and the Battle for Normandy, 190]Though it was said that the Germans did not fight uniformly well, history has shown us that time and time again, they performed above and beyond what was expected of them on the battlefield. The Germans seemed to have an inexhaustible well of brave, able and quick thinking colonels masterfully commanding battle groups in critical, front line situations. Aiding in this was a fanaticism stirred up by the massive Nazi propaganda machine and born out in physical form by both the SS and the Hitler Youth. Common among the whole of Germany's Armed Forces was the belief that an unconditional surrender would surely be...

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