With an acute eye for detail and his use of clear prose, acclaimed military historian Bevin Alexander goes beyond counterfactual "What if?" history and explores for the first time just how close the Allies were to losing the war. Using beautifully detailed, newly designed maps, How Hitler Could Have Won World War II exquisitely illustrates the important battles and how certain key movements and mistakes by Germany were crucial in determining the war's outcome. Alexander's harrowing study shows how only minor tactical changes in Hitler's military approach could have changed the world we live in today.
How Hitler Could Have Won World War II untangles some of the war's most confounding strategic questions, such as:
Why didn't the Nazis concentrate their enormous military power on the only three beaches upon which the Allies could launch their attack into Europe?
Why did the terrifying German panzers, on the brink of driving the British army into the sea in May 1940, halt their advance and allow the British to regroup and evacuate at Dunkirk?
With the chance to cut off the Soviet lifeline of oil, and therefore any hope of Allied victory from the east, why did Hitler insist on dividing and weakening his army, which ultimately led to the horrible battle of Stalingrad?
Ultimately, Alexander probes deeply into the crucial intersection between Hitler's psyche and military strategy and how his paranoia fatally overwhelmed his acute political shrewdness to answer the most terrifying question: Just how close were the Nazis to victory?
Why did Hitler insist on terror bombing London in the late summer of 1940, when the German air force was on the verge of destroying all of the RAF sector stations, England's last defense?
With the opportunity to drive the British out of Egypt and the Suez Canal and occupy all of the Middle East, therefore opening a Nazi door to the vast oil resources of the region, why did Hitler fail to move in just a few panzer divisions to handle such an easy but crucial maneuver?
On the verge of a last monumental effort and concentration of German power to seize Moscow and end Stalin's grip over the Eastern front, why did the Nazis divert their strength to bring about the far less important surrender of Kiev, thereby destroying any chance of ever conquering the Soviets?
From the Hardcover edition.
In 1940, as Hitler plotted to conquer Europe, only one nation posed a serious threat to the Third Reich's domination: France. The German command was wary of taking on the most powerful armed force on the continent. But three low-ranking generals—Eric von Manstein, Heinz Guderian, and Erwin Rommel—were about to change the face of modern warfare.
By grouping tanks into juggernauts to slam through enemy lines, the blitzkrieg was born. With this aggressive, single-minded plan, the Nazis bypassed the supposedly impenetrable Maginot Line, charged into the heart of France, and alerted the world that the deadly might of Germany could no longer be ignored.
To many, the very question seems absurd. After all, the Confederacy had only a third of the population and one-eleventh of the industry of the North. Wasn’t the South’s defeat inevitable?
Not at all, as acclaimed military historian Bevin Alexander reveals in this provocative and counterintuitive new look at the Civil War. In fact, the South most definitely could have won the war, and Alexander documents exactly how a Confederate victory could have come about—and how close it came to happening.
Moving beyond fanciful theoretical conjectures to explore actual plans that Confederate generals proposed and the tactics ultimately adopted in the war’s key battles, How the South Could Have Won the Civil War offers surprising analysis on topics such as:
•How the Confederacy had its greatest chance to win the war just three months into the fighting—but blew it
•How the Confederacy’s three most important leaders—President Jefferson Davis and Generals Robert E. Lee and Thomas “Stonewall” Jackson—clashed over how to fight the war
•How the Civil War’s decisive turning point came in a battle that the Rebel army never needed to fight
•How the Confederate army devised—but never fully exploited—a way to negate the Union’s huge advantages in manpower and weaponry
•How Abraham Lincoln and other Northern leaders understood the Union’s true vulnerability better than the Confederacy’s top leaders did
•How it is a myth that the Union army’s accidental discovery of Lee’s order of battle doomed the South’s 1862 Maryland campaign
•How the South failed to heed the important lessons of its 1863 victory at Chancellorsville
How the South Could Have Won the Civil War shows why there is nothing inevitable about military victory, even for a state with overwhelming strength. Alexander provides a startling account of how a relatively small number of tactical and strategic mistakes cost the South the war—and changed the course of history.
From the Hardcover edition.
Both timely and timeless, How Wars Are Won illuminates the thirteen essential rules for success on the battlefield that have evolved from ancient times until the present day. Acclaimed military historian Bevin Alexander’s incisive and vivid analyses of famous battles throughout the ages show how the greatest commanders—from Alexander the Great to Douglas MacArthur—have applied these rules. For example:
• Feign retreat: Pretend defeat, fake a retreat, then ambush the enemy while being pursued. Used to devastating effect by the North Vietnamese against U.S. forces during the Vietnam War.
• Strike at enemy weakness: Avoid the enemy’s strength entirely by refusing to fight pitched battles, a method that has run alongside conventional war from the earliest days of human conflict. Brilliantly applied by Mao Zedong to defeat the Chinese Nationalists.
• Defend, then attack: Gain possession of a superior weapon or tactical system, induce the enemy to launch a fruitless attack, then go on the offensive. Employed repeatedly against the Goths by the Eastern Roman general Belisarius to reclaim vast stretches of the Roman Empire.
The lessons of history revealed in these pages can be used to shape the strategies needed to win the conflicts of today.
From the Trade Paperback edition.
The Civil War of 1861–65 pitted the industrial North against the agricultural South, and remains the most catastrophic conflict in terms of loss of life in American history. With triple the population and eleven times the industry, the Union had a decided advantage over the Confederacy in terms of direct conflict and conventional warfare. One general had the vision of an alternative approach that could win the War for the South—his name was Thomas J. “Stonewall” Jackson.
It was Jackson’s strategy to always strike at the Union’s vulnerabilities, not to challenge its power directly. He won a campaign against the North with a force only a quarter of the size of the Union army, and he was the first commander to recognize the overwhelming defensive power of the new rifles and cannons. With most of its military forces on the offensive in the South, the North was left virtually undefended on its own turf. Jackson believed invading the eastern states along the great industrial corridor from Baltimore to Maine could divide and cripple the Union, forcing surrender. But he failed to convince Confederate president Jefferson Davis or General Robert E. Lee of the viability of his plan.
In Such Troops as These, Bevin Alexander presents a compelling case for Stonewall Jackson as a supreme military strategist and the greatest general in American history. Fiercely dedicated to the cause of Southern independence, Jackson would not live to see the end of the War. But his military legacy lives on and finds fitting tribute in this book.
While MacArthur aspired to stamp out Communism across the globe, Truman was much more concerned with containing the Soviet Union. The infamous clash between them was not only an epic turning point in history, but the ultimate struggle between civil and military power in the United States. While other U.S. generals have challenged presidential authority, no other military leader has ever so brazenly attempted to dictate national policy.
In MacArthur’s War, Bevin Alexander details MacArthur’s battles, from the alliances he made with Republican leaders to the threatening ultimatum he delivered to China against orders—the action that led directly to his downfall.
Left-wing critics—both at home and abroad—relish blasting our country for being the world’s sole superpower, or even an “imperialist” power.
But as acclaimed military historian Bevin Alexander shows in How America Got It Right, these criticisms are completely off the mark. Alexander reveals how the United States has done and continues to do exactly the right thing in military and foreign affairs. As the world’s dominant political force and military power, he says, we are the only nation that will actually go into the world and strike down evil. And we must not shirk that responsibility—especially because we cannot rely on our so-called allies to defend our freedoms.
Alexander tells the dramatic and sometimes surprising story of how, from the American Revolution to the War on Terror, America’s core principles and ideals have shaped our march to economic, military, and political supremacy.
How America Got It Right reveals:
•How in the War on Terror we’re simply repeating the process of World War II—going wherever we have to in the world to destroy those who threaten our safety
•How unpatriotic critics of American foreign policy fail to understand the clear threats we now grapple with—but how our leaders get it
•How America boldly—and correctly—asserted this nation’s unique status to the world long before we had the military strength to back up our daring proclamations
•How, at almost every turn, our leaders demonstrated remarkable foresight that enabled America to become the world’s dominant power
•How a policy of securing other people’s freedom is in fact grounded in American tradition, not a dangerous departure from precedent
As Americans debate what our nation’s role in world affairs should be, Alexander shows how—far from overreaching or bumbling into situations in which we shouldn’t be involved—the United States has properly embraced its role as world leader. Covering more than two centuries of history, How America Got It Right refutes those critics who suggest that America has somehow gone off course or overextended itself.
Indeed, according to Alexander, our government has got it right. America’s critics have got it wrong, because what they are hoping for—peace without a price—will never come to pass.
We saw early in our colonial history that—because of our isolation from Europe, and because of the immense wealth and bounty of our land—we had the opportunity to build the greatest, freest, and most prosperous nation ever to arise on earth. We spent the first century and a quarter of our independent existence in creating this great nation. But to protect this treasure, we found that we needed to establish the world’s paramount military structure and become the world’s preeminent political power. This book is the story of America’s march to economic, military, and political supremacy, and the ideals that have guided us along the way. —From How America Got It Right
From the Hardcover edition.