Acclaimed for his revisionist history of the German Army in World War I, John Mosier continues his pioneering work in Cross of Iron, offering an intimate portrait of the twentieth-century German army from its inception, through World War I and the interwar years, to World War II and its climax in 1945.
World War I has inspired a vast mythology of bravery and carnage, told largely by the victors, that has fascinated readers for decades. Many have come to believe that the fast ascendancy of the Allied army, matched by the failure of a German army shackled by its rigidity, led to the war's outcome. Mosier demystifies the strategic and tactical realities to explain that it was Germany's military culture that provided it with the advantage in the first war. Likewise, Cross of Iron offers stunning revelations regarding the weapons of World War II, forcing a reevaluation of the reasons behind the French withdrawal, the Russian contribution, and Hitler as military thinker. Mosier lays to rest the notion that the army, as opposed to the SS, fought a clean and traditional war. Finally, he demonstrates how the German war machine succeeded against more powerful Allied armies until, in both wars, it was crushed by U.S. intervention.
The result of thirty years of primary research, Cross of Iron is a powerful and authoritative reinterpretation of Germany at war.
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.
Mosier shows how the Polish campaign in fall 1939 and the fall of France in spring 1940 were not the blitzkrieg victories as proclaimed. He also reinterprets Rommel's North African campaigns, D–Day and the Normandy campaign, Patton's attempted breakthrough into the Saar and Germany, Montgomery's flawed breakthrough at Arnhem, and Hitler's last desperate breakthrough effort to Antwerp in the Battle of the Bulge in December 1944. All of these actions saw the clash of the breakthrough theories with the realities of conventional military tactics, and Mosier's novel analysis of these campaigns, the failure of airpower, and the military leaders on both sides, is a challenging reassessment of the military history of World War II. The book includes maps and photos.