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Allan R. Millett is Professor of History and Director of the Eisenhower Center for American Studies at the University of New Orleans. Peter Maslowski is professor of history at the University of Nebraska, Lincoln.
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This book is for the WW2 history buff, political history pro, and military professional. General readers will find it a useful soporific. Assessing military capability is far more than simply counting aircraft, ships, men under arms, etc. It also involves assessing the effectiveness of the weapons, training and doctrine of those forces, making an accurate "net assessment". This books introduces the concept and practice of net assessments along with case histories of each of the major powers involved in WW2. We find that the British had the best system for making net assessments, but that didn't prevent grievous errors, such as over-estimating Luftwaffe combat power prior to Munich. The dictatorships were courts rather than governments so the staff officers there had special handicaps in presenting accurate net assessments and getting them heard. The German military suffered particularly in this respect and was culpable for conceding far too much ground to Hitler in strategic analysis, where proper net assessment might have led to less grandiose grand strategy. Interestingly, the Italian military had a pretty good idea exactly how poorly they matched up to the other great powers, but Mussolini made a political determination that if he didn't join the Germans in 1940, he would miss out on hitching his fortunes to the temporarily ascendant Germans.
In summary, this is a good introduction to the topic of net assessment and offers a rich set of case studies on the use and mis-use of this technique as an adjunction to national grand strategy. It is also a good detailed look in how the various interwar military organizations viewed their respective capabilities. However, this is a niche topic for specialist readers and is rather too narrow to sustain the interest of general readers.