A great image catalog from the wartime archives depicting the Nazi’s struggle against the vastly superior Russian tanks, armor formations, and soldiers at the Eastern Front. Hitler invaded the USSR despite advice from his top generals that invading Russia before Britain could be a major tactical error. Hitler was confident that the Blitzkrieg tactics which had steam rolled almost the entire Europe in the first phase of the war would have the same effect in Russia. It was economically unnecessary. Strategically risky. There was no clear benefit. But it is important to understand Hitler’s mentality. Hitler was a man of a huge sense of his own destiny but who had been humiliated personally and nationally after Germany’s defeat in WW1. This was tied to his personal identity and his nationalist identity as a German speaker. He transformed his personal narcissism into a policy of German racial supremacy which as an antidote to the humiliations of the Treaty of Versailles (and it was humiliating) not surprisingly made him popular in Germany.
The author does an excellent job of capturing images from the Wartime Archives related to the German fight on the Eastern Front. Upon first engagement the German forces performed and fought with inspiration and vigor. The vaunted SS units formed into a Corps and performed up to expectations at the beginning of the war. Historians will always say that had they been properly supplied, reinforced and backed with artillery support and mobility support they would have been able to push through to Moscow and beyond. However, fate played her cards and the German leadership were not up to the challenge of providing them the support needed. A huge failure at the top that will forever be remembered right beside Napoleon’s failure to reach Moscow. War is hell and history is written by the victors. This collection of images provides a great catalog for historians and casual readers alike. The author does a great job of graphically detailing the struggles and battles of the German Eastern front. The chapters included cover Kursk, the fighting withdrawals, Winter warfare, and the last battles of the war in the east as the war came to an end. The appendices which cover the equipment, uniforms and order of battle of the German forces are second to none.
The SS units were a great group of elite soldiers but did not receive the support needed. Their leadership failed them when they most needed them. At the front! A huge, regrettable failure at the top that will forever be remembered as the beginning of the end of the Third Reich.