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Hitler's Commanders: Officers of the Wehrmacht, the Luftwaffe, the Kriegsmarine, and the Waffen-SS Paperback – October 16, 2012

ISBN-13: 978-1442211537 ISBN-10: 1442211539 Edition: Second Edition

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 380 pages
  • Publisher: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers; Second Edition edition (October 16, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1442211539
  • ISBN-13: 978-1442211537
  • Product Dimensions: 5.8 x 0.8 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,039,424 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

Mitcham and Mueller, retired history professors who both taught at Henderson State University, have put together an encyclopedic collection of brief profiles of the careers of the lesser-known German military men—true Nazis, skeptics, and patriotic soldiers who tried to focus on the battlefield and ignore the horrors that Hitler unleashed on Europe. This new edition adds a chapter on the men who led the panzer (tank) troops. Every branch of the German military eventually confronted what one officer called the 'unholy disorder of Hitler’s leadership.' The Fuehrer constantly micromanaged his commanders’ tactics, leaving them hamstrung in pivotal confrontations, like the battle of Stalingrad, one of the most ignominious defeats in military history. Some men followed his dubious commands to the letter; others knew that defying Hitler could cost a man his career if not his life. A sterling introduction for anyone interested in how the men who fought for Hitler ticked. (Publishers Weekly)

In this book, the distinguished historians Samuel W. Mitcham Jr. and Gene Mueller analyze a selection of Nazi Germany’s commanders through a series of concise and insightful biographies. The book describes a surprisingly broad gamut of German officers, especially regarding their competence and loyalty to Nazi ideology. This study contributes to our understanding of the commanders’ individual personalities and processes of decision-making. (Michael Perri, Texas A&M University, Texarkana)

Hitler’s Commanders is an engaging introduction to the leaders of Germany’s war machine during World War II. Mitcham and Mueller, by exploring the lives, personalities, ambitions, and careers of the Third Reich’s military leaders, reveal that these men actually consisted of a diverse group of soldiers rather than just fanatical Nazi robots in lockstep with the Führer. Bringing to light the careers of lower-ranking and lesser-known Wehrmacht officers makes for compelling reading and sheds valuable light on the complexities of the German military command during World War II. (Steven Carter, Henderson State University)

About the Author

Samuel W. Mitcham, Jr., (retired) was professor of history at Henderson State University, Georgia Southern University, and the University of Louisiana at Monroe, and a visiting professor at West Point. Gene Mueller (retired) was professor of history at Lewis & Clark University, Henderson State University, and Texas A&M.

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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Michael OConnor TOP 500 REVIEWER on October 20, 2012
Format: Paperback
Mitcham and Mueller's HITLER'S COMMANDERS; OFFICERS OF THE WEHRMACHT, THE LUFTWAFFE, THE KRIEGSMARINE AND THE WAFFEN SS was originally published in 1991. It offered comprehensive biographies of various Third Reich military leaders. This 2012 Rowman & Littlefield release is a revised, expanded edition of the original, the difference being two new chapters.

The 2012 edition divides the various individuals into chapters such as 'The Generals of the High Command,' 'The Warlords of the Eastern Front,' 'The Commanders of the West,' 'The Lords of the Air' and 'The Naval Officers.' New chapters include 'The Generals of Stalingrad' and 'The Panzer Commanders.' The men profiled were chosen for "the diversity of their characters and careers, the availability of information and (Mitcham and Mueller's) own interests."

HITLER'S COMMANDERS is a somewhat eclectic bag with 'the usual suspects' (Jodl, von Bock, von Leeb, Heinrici, Paulus, Sperrle, von Manteuffel, Guderian, Goering, Milch, Raeder, Hausser, etc.) and other less well-known but ranking commanders (Fritz Fromm, Otto von Sponeck, Rudolf Stegmann, Wilhelm Marschall, etc.). It also includes individuals who were top tank commanders (Michael Wittmann), fighter aces (Erich Hartmann) and U-boat skippers (Erich Topp).

The biographies are comprehensive and informative, ranging in length from a half-page to five or more. Keitel, for example, rates seven-and-a-half pages; Sepp Dietrich, five-and-a-half and so on. While I enjoyed the book, I found the mix somewhat off-putting. To my mind, the title HITLER'S COMMANDERS implied men who held high-level positions and not some commander of a Tiger tank...but that's just me.

In any case, HITLER'S COMMANDERS is a useful, insightful survey of 60-odd Third Reich military leaders. Recommended.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Nichidoku on May 1, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is a quite good book which I found largely satisfying and a pleasure to read. It is clear, informative, crisp and readable, with interesting and enlightening tidbits of knowledge with which I am not familiar. The content of the book is well-classified about which the previous reviewer Mr. O'Connor has given a very concise and clarified explanation so I see no need to add anything further. I would like instead to point out something that particularly impressed me as well as a shortcoming which I also felt during my reading of the book.

The figures introduced in this book which cover every branch of the German armed force in WWII including the three branches of the Wehrmacht i.e. the Heer, the Luftwaffe and the Kriegsmarine and the separate and parallel existence of the Waffen SS, who are mostly high-ranking generals and also a few mid to low ranking officers and front line soldiers with distinct personalities and characteristics. For each of them, his birth, military career development, major feats and contributions to the war, and the way of ending one's life are all covered. After reading their stories, I was deeply moved by the battlefield bravery, fervent patriotism and dedication to the fatherland and/or the ideology and the leader, and the heroic and shining military exploits of those great Teutonic warriors. I was especially moved and inspired by the story of Waffen SS officer Helmut Becker for his great moral courage and stiff backbone as exemplified by his relentless intrepidity in the Soviet captivity. He never gave up to the Soviet demand despite all the cruelty and mistreatment he received from the reds and because of this unbending and uptight attitude he was executed in 1950s.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By a serious reader in on May 22, 2013
Format: Paperback
This was one of the very best books that I have read that provide insight into Hitler's top military commanders, and evaluates their wartime performance. Especially recommended to anyone just getting started with WWII battle histories and/or wanting more information on Hitler's top commanders.

A delight to read, and with extensive footnotes and bibliography, this unique book should please most readers. Highly recommended!!
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on February 23, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I was drawn to this book, because it presented an anaysis of the german military commanders in one text. It not only provides me with the relevant info on what these men did, but it delves into the commanders themselves. It is in my opinion unfortunate that many of these very competent commanders chose to throw in their lot with Hitler. JRV
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More About the Author

Samuel W. Mitcham, Jr. was born in Mer Rouge, Louisiana, in 1949. He was educated at Northeast Louisiana University, North Carolina State, and the University of Tennessee, where he received his doctorate. He was a U.S. Army helicopter pilot during the Viet Nam War, remained active in the reserves, graduated from the U.S. Army's Command and General Staff College, and is qualified through the rank of major general. Following in his mother's footsteps (she was a newspaper editor for 47 years), he is the author of more than 40 books, several of which were History or Military History Book Club Selections.

Dr. Mitcham was a professor at Henderson State University, Georgia Southern University and the University of Louisiana at Monroe, and was a visiting professor at West Point. His works have been translated into several languages, including German, Bulgarian, Italian, Polish, Hungarian, Chinese, Russian, Japanese and Polish, and he has appeared on the BBC and the History Channel, among others.

Mitcham is married and has two children. He lives in Monroe, Louisiana.


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