Hitler's War Directives 1939-1945by Hugh Trevor-Roper
Although the aims he sought to achieve were old nationalist aspirations, the fact that the policy and strategy for their realization were
The Second World War was Hitler’s personal war in many senses. He intended it, prepared for it, chose the moment for launching it, planned its course, and, on several occasions between 1939 and 1942, claimed to have won it.
Although the aims he sought to achieve were old nationalist aspirations, the fact that the policy and strategy for their realization were imposed so completely by Hitler meant that if victory had come, it would have been very much a personal triumph: the ultimate failure was thus a personal one too.
This book presents all of Hitler’s directives, from preparations for the invasion of Poland (31 August 1939) to his last desperate order to his troops on the Eastern Front (15 April 1945), whom he urges to choke the Bolshevik assault ‘in a bath of blood’. They provide a fascinating insight into Hitler’s mind and how he interpreted and reacted to events as they unfolded. The book also has detailed notes which link the Fuhrer’s orders and explain the consequences of his directives and how the Allies responded to them.
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Hitler¿s War Directives is a reprint of a reference work first made available in 1964. Eighty of Hitler¿s major directives are included here, and all are ably edited, annotated, and commented upon by one of England¿s more noted and sometimes controversial historians. This book can, in a few nights reading, give anyone a good, concise view of Hitler¿s thinking throughout the war. Indeed, the short introduction by Trevor-Roper gives an economic and admirable summary of Hitler¿s planning as well as reflections on Hitler¿s approach to developing situations. As one reads his directives, one is struck occasionally by the grotesque deception (¿all political possibilities of peaceful settlement have been exhausted¿ opens his directive to attack Poland in 1939) and the absurd optimism (¿our military mastery of the European continent after the overthrow of Russia will make it possible to considerably reduce the strength of the Army¿), but much more often can be seen Hitler¿s surprisingly well reasoned grasp of even deteriorating circumstances. His image in the bunker notwithstanding, he did not always manipulate non-existent battalions. This volume is useful for advanced readers and essential for beginning students of the war.