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Recent Approaches to the German Army of World War II: Is the Topic More Accessible after 65 Years?

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This article addresses the continued difficulty of assessing objectively the German military experience during World War II. Using five recent works as a framework – Armageddon: The Battle for Germany, 1944-1945 by Hastings; Death of the Wehrmacht: The German Campaigns of 1942 by Citino; Battle for the Ruhr: The German Army's Final Defeat in the West by Zumbro; The Korsun Pocket: The Encirclement and Breakout of a German Army in the East, 1944 by Zetterling and Frankson; and The Myth of the Eastern Front: The Nazi-Soviet War in American Popular Culture by Smelser and Davies – it demonstrates the great difficulty of historical analysis on the topic in English. The article's objective is to highlight why the subject remains extremely difficult despite the distance of several generations and many thousands of historical works. The article clearly demonstrates that although a great deal of serious and effective scholarship has been produced, much historical investigation remains to be conducted. The unparalleled destruction and crimes unleashed by the Third Reich, coupled with the generally superb performance of its military, make the matter both extremely problematic and fascinating.
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Keywords: BLITZKRIEG; COMBAT POWER; EASTERN FRONT; GERMAN ARMY; GERMAN TACTICAL EXCELLENCE; HITLER, ADOLF; HOLOCAUST; NATIONAL SOCIALISM; NAZI; NAZI-SOVIET WAR; SOVIET UNION; THIRD REICH; WAFFEN-SS; WEHRMACHT; WORLD WAR II

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 01 December 2010

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  • Global War Studies (GWS) is the leading international peer-reviewed journal dedicated to the study of the Second World War, 1919-1945. Published three times annually, GWS features articles and book reviews that explore a broad range of topics, including military, air power, naval, intelligence, and diplomatic history. Additionally, the journal publishes original research on weapons technology, geopolitics, home front studies, the Holocaust, resistance movements, and peacekeeping operations.
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