In 1940, nineteen army and six Luftwaffe field marshals held the highest rank in Germany's military. Their string of victories at the outset of World War II demonstrated to the world their power and ability, and brought much of Europe under the control of Hitler. Yet by the war's last days, only two of these field marshals would still be leading troops in Germany's desperate last battles.
Hitler's Field Marshals and Their Battles documents the rise and fall of the paramount officers of the German war machine. Each chapter examines the life, career, and battles of the Third Reich's leaders on the fields of combat. The portraits comprise a surprising collection of men: Erich von Manstein, hailed as one of the greatest military minds of WWII, intimidated even Hitler with his remarkable ability and ran afoul of Nazi police several times, once for protesting Nazi race laws. Erwin Rommel, the brilliant 'Desert Fox,' had repeated victories against larger and better-equipped opponents. Walter Model went to the most dangerous flashpoints in Europe to 'troubleshoot' for Hitler's army, until, during his last battle, he deliberately tried to get himself shot. Baron von Weichs was a devout Catholic. The aristocratic Ewald von Kleist was a monarchist. Erwin von Witzleben, for attempting to assassinate Hitler, was hanged by his Fuehrer from a meathook. The descriptions of the other field marshals are no less engrossing.
Acclaimed World War II historian Dr. Samuel W. Mitcham Jr. is a graduate of the U. S. Army Command and General Staff College and author of over a dozen books, including Triumphant Fox and Hitler's Commanders (both available from Cooper Square Press), as well as Rommel's Greatest Victory, and Retreat to the Reich. He lives in Monroe, Louisiana.