Summary and Info
If World War 1 was characterized, certainly on the Western Front, by the endless miles of trenches and the remarkable lack of mobility in the front line during more than four years of war, those military strategists who expected a similar war of attrition in any second conflict were to be confounded. World War 2 was to witness the triumph of offense over defense, with the awesome power of tank armies and air forces deployed to devastating effect. Whilst the French may have perceived their Maginot Line as impregnable; its rapid breaching in the spring of 1940 emphasized how far German military thinking had developed as opposed to that amongst its potential opponents. The theory of Blitzkrieg - lightning war - had developed during the interwar years, but its true potential was only to be revealed in the autumn of 1939 when the German forces swept into Poland. For the next three years, in all theaters of the war, the German forces proved supreme, as their superiority of equipment, training and strategy resulted in a rapid series of victories that culminated in them reaching to the very gates of both Moscow and Cairo; victory in either of these theaters would, probably, have resulted in the ultimate German triumph. Hindsight, however, now enables us to see that, at the moment of these triumphs, the might of the German military machine was so overstretched that the final victory eluded them. Although, with the benefit of hindsight, it is clear that the British victory at El-Alamein was one of the turning points of the war, just as Stalingrad was on the Eastern Front, war in the desert was by no means concluded. The rapid German advance in the period before El-Alamein was seriously to threaten the Allied position in Egypt and the all-important Suez Canal; little seemed capable of holding the German assault and, if the Axis forces had not been regarded by their command as representing a sideshow and therefore denied the necessary reinforcements, the history of the Desert War could have been very different. Under Rommel, the Germans had proved themselves capable of decisive military strikes that all but eradicated Allied power in North Africa. Ultimately, however, the lack of reinforcements and the long logistical routes of resupply fundamentally undermined Rommel's position and, when faced by war on two fronts after Operation Torch, the German and Italian position proved hopeless, with some 150,000 men surrendering the mid-1943. For all military historians, the new 'Blitzkrieg' series will be an essential addition to their library, explaining as it does how the various stages by which the strategy evolved during the war.
More About the Author
Will Fowler (born 1969) is an artist based in Los Angeles.
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