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Cambridge University Press
The German Army and the Defence of the Reich: Military Doctrine and the Conduct of the Defensive Battle 1918-1939

The German Army and the Defence of the Reich: Military Doctrine and the Conduct of the Defensive Battle 1918-1939

by Matthias Strohn


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Historical research on the German army of the interwar period has concentrated on the development of the so-called 'Blitzkrieg'. However, Matthias Strohn shows that for most of the time the German army, restricted by the terms of the Versailles Treaty, was too weak to launch an offensive war or even effectively repel an invader. Accordingly, the army focused instead primarily on planning a defensive war against superior enemies, especially France and Poland. Making extensive use of German archival sources, Strohn explores the development of military thought and doctrine for the defence of Germany and shows how these ideas were tested in war games and staff rides. His findings comprehensively revise our understanding of the German army in this period, shedding new light on the ideas of leading figures in the German military and how events, such as the occupation of the Ruhr in 1923, influenced military planning.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780521191999
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Publication date: 11/11/2010
Series: Cambridge Military Histories
Pages: 292
Product dimensions: 6.10(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.80(d)

About the Author

Matthias Strohn was educated at the Universities of Münster, Germany, and Oxford where he obtained a Masters degree and a doctorate. He teaches military history to British army officer cadets and officers at the Royal Military Academy, Sandhurst. He currently holds the rank of Captain in the German armed forces (Bundeswehr) reserve and is attached to the German staff college where he lectures on military history to international staff and German general staff officers.

Table of Contents

Introduction and definitions;
Part I. The Foundations of Defensive Warfare in the Inter-War Period: 1. Defence doctrine before the First World War;
2. The lessons of the First World War;
3. Military planning in the aftermath of the First World War;
Part II. The Seeckt Era: Years of Ignorance: 4. Hans von Seeckt and the rebirth of the offensive;
5. The manual Führung und Gefecht der verbundenen Waffen and the conduct of the defensive battle;
Part III. Adapting to Reality 1923-1933: 6. Military thought after the occupation of the Ruhr;
7. Civil-military co-operation;
8. The manual Truppenführung and the increased importance of defence;
Part IV. Defensive Warfare in the Third Reich 1933-1939: 9. Political ideology versus military reality: defensive warfare 1933-1936;
10. The rebirth of offensive warfare 1936-1939;
Conclusion: the defensive battle in the Second World War and beyond.

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