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History Of The German General Staff, 1657-1945 Paperback – August 23, 2007

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 544 pages
  • Publisher: Kessinger Publishing, LLC (August 23, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0548385718
  • ISBN-13: 978-0548385715
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 1.2 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.7 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,349,300 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews


“Acknowledged to be the standard work on its subject.”–New Yorker --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Language Notes

Text: English, German (translation) --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Customer Reviews

Very one-sided, far from objective, superficial.
And the reader will surely understand why the German army was one of the best organized, well-trained and well-commanded military forces in the history of warfare.
Daniel Bennett
The hardcover and paper cover editions are still available and lack the poor Arellano editing.
Te Bada

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

12 of 12 people found the following review helpful By j. copper on August 5, 2000
Format: Hardcover
"The History of the German General Staff" by Walter Goerlitz is a concise and well written account of that greatest of war planning and making bodies, the Prussian and German General Staff.
Goerlitz begins his history in the days of Federick the Great, tracing the origins of the staff to the supply officers and royal aides attached to the royal person. Goerlitz continues through the 1700's, tracing the rivalries between royal offices tasked to supply and direct the royal army.
Goerlitz gives excellent attention to the creators of the modern General Staff, Scharnhorst, Gneisenau, and the philosopher of war, von Clauswitz. He describes the early efforts at reform, and the eventual reaction, culminating in the revolution of '48.
Next, the author writes on the Age of Bismarck, and the wars of unification. Von Moltke, von Waldersee, and the sucession to the German throne are all put together to describe the byzantine political world of Imperial Germany.
World War I and Hindenburg and Ludendorff come next. The author describes the roles the two generals played in the war, as they became virtual dictators of Germany. Also described is the unique relationship between the figurehead Hindenburg and unstable Ludendorff. Goerlitz talks about the war and its effects on the Army. This leads to the formation of the Republic and the creation of the new 100,000 man army under von Seeckt. Then come the Nazis and the General Staff's war to survive in the "gangster" world of Hitler. Finally, World War II and the destruction of the General Staff.
Goerlitz concludes that the German General Staff, having learned the lethality of a two front war in World War I, was not responsible for World War II.
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Kevin F. Kiley on June 11, 2001
Format: Hardcover
This is the standard study of the German General Staff and it has stood the test of time. It is a solid history of this famous military organization, that has been made the bugaboo of much of Germany's twentieth century misdeeds, but was (is), in fact, just another army staff, albeit probably better trained both individually and as a group.
This work takes the reader from the beginnings in the seventeenth century through its rudimntary development and use under Frederick the Great, to its renovation and use after the reform of the Prussian army after Jena, and to its final form under the elder Moltke until its demise, after it sold its soul to Hitler by way of the infamous 'Hitler oath', at the end of World War II.
The story is fascinating, is great history, and the book is a good read. It is easy to follow, the author's references are impeccable, and it is a thorough history of the general staff. The weaknesses, though, tend to hurt to overall presentation and are at the beginning of the book. The early, formative beginnings of the staff are actually glossed over, and there is little substantive information given for this period. The critical portion of the development of the general staff, in my opinion, during the Napoleonic period, both before and after Jena debacle in 1806, are done too quickly, and the origins and influences for the staff, particularly the French ones used by Scharnhorst from 1800 onwards, are not chronicled in any detail, and there is only one brief reference to Napoleon's very capable chief of staff, Berthier, in the book. Some of his early staff work and innovations were liberally borrowed by the Prussians, and this important influence by the first great chief of staff in modern military history is unfortunately overlooked.
However, this is an important work and is highly recommended.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Kay's Husband on October 4, 2008
Format: Paperback
Since reading military history in the early 1960s I've heard of this book, remember when it was a selection in various book clubs. Yet I never ordered a copy, not did I seek to find one. So, perusing the books at our local Goodwill recently found this unlikely book among the selections for a very, very low price.

I've come to feel that if one reads on German military history, this book is somewhat of a mandatory book for the home library shelves. My hardcover copy is a 17th printing by Frederick A. Praeger Publishers originally published in 1953, with reprints up through the middle 1960s. The dust jacket is black with a large iron cross on the spine. I suspect my copy to be a book club edition as its binding is in black and gold, while the publisher's I believe were bound in red and green. Truly resembling the colors of the generals of the German General Staff.

The book opens with 8 pages of paintings or pictures of the various members of the German General Staff from the beginning down through WWII.
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