Book Review: Hitler's Commanders: Officers of the Wehrmacht, the Luftwaffe, the Kriegsmarine, and the Waffen-SS

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by Samuel W. Mitcham Jr. & Gene Mueller

Lanham, Md.: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, 2012. Pp. xiv, 352. Illus., appends, notes, biblio., index. $19.95 paper. ISBN: 1442211539

Biographic Profiles of German Commanders

Mitcham, author of the earlier Hitler’s Field Marshals, and Mueller, author of Wilhelm Keitel: The Forgotten Field Marshal, team up to give us a second, revised edition of their 2000 book of their short biographies of nearly 70 German officers, including some notable airmen and U-boot commanders.  On the whole, the authors try to write more about lesser known commanders than about the more famous ones, and the officers are grouped according to their principal service or theatre of activity. 

The Army officers get five chapters, respectively on those who served primarily in the high command, on the Eastern Front, Stalingrad, in the West, and in the Panzer force s, and among others,  Keitel, Jodl, Leeb, Heinrici, Falkenhausen, Paulus, Manteuffel, Bayerlein, Guderian, and many others.  

There then follow chapter s on each of the other military services. The Luftwaffe chapter gives us Milch, the often overlooked Wever, Galland, and others.  Naval – Kriegsmarine – officers include several submarine aces, such as Prien, Hartmann, and Kretschmer,  with more senor officers such as Doenitz, Ciliax, and Carls. Waffen-SS officers covered include such officers as Becker, Eicke, Deitrich, and others.

The six appendices cover comparative ranks, general staff positions, technical details ontanks, Luftwaffe organization, abbreviations, and acronyms.

The treatment for each officer range from one or two pages to eight or so, depending on his role in the war. Most of the entries provide on the officer’s family history, his early military experiences, his career during the Weimar Republic and the early Nazi years, his activities during the war , and his postwar life. Where possible, the authors give us some idea of each officer’s character, political views, and particularly his relationship to the Nazi movement, and idiosyncrasies and occasional anecdotes

While Hitler’s Commanders does not offer a definitive treatment of the life of any of these offices , for most of these men the book provides the only biographical treatment available in English, making it very useful for anyone studying the war.

 

Note: Hitler’s Commanders is also available as an e-Pub, $18.99, ISBN 978-1-4422-1154-4

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Reviewer: A.A. Nofi, Review Editor   


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