Introduction to The German Army on the Eastern Front:
Today I finished a great book called The German Army on the Eastern Front. It was a great analysis of the German Army’s performance in the East during WWII, and why the war turned out the way that it did. It uses a combination of German military reports and analysis to craft a narrative and argument in an interesting way. I would highly recommend it to anyone interested in WWII or military history in general.
Summary of The German Army on the Eastern Front:
The German Army on the Eastern Front mainly addresses the question of the effectiveness of the German Army on the Eastern Front in a novel way. Instead of going chronologically, it focuses on specific areas of the Army and examines the performance of those subsections. In that respect, it is somewhat like Founding Brothers, which also isn’t chronological. For example, one chapter is on the logistical efforts and effectiveness of the Army during the war and another is on the effectiveness of the German Army’s weaponry.
The chapters of The German Army on the Eastern Front are generally internally organized chronologically. Additionally, the book covers most of the Wehrmacht’s experience because of that subdivision. Instead of getting bogged down on a specific area or time period, as most military history books do, this one is able to provide a broad overview of the whole experience. It really helps you understand the terror and vastness of the Eastern Front.
I thought the author did an excellent job of combining Wehrmacht reports from the war years with his own analysis. The book wasn’t weighted too heavily in either direction, so it was both interesting and informative. Reports provided raw details which the author was then able to distill into understandable information.
Additionally, they helped him back up his argument that the pre-1941 German Army had basically collapsed by 1944 due to the stresses of the Eastern Front. I would have been skeptical of that argument had he not provided as many first-hand reports, but the number of and high-quality of those reports convinced me.
I thought it was very well organized and written. Additionally, it was broad-enough that I think it gave me a good understanding of the conflict.
I found The German Army on the Eastern Front quite interesting. Military history and technology has always been an area that has interested me. Because of that interest, I was able to stick with the book even in some of its more dense sections. Certain areas, like the logistics chapter, were interesting but dense. They probably wouldn’t appeal to the average reader as much as they would to the more well-read military historian. However, other areas, such as the section on weaponry, are extremely interesting. The author’s analysis, combined with first-hand Wehrmacht field reports, was an excellent way to delve into the subject and craft an argument.
I think I finished this book with a much better understanding of the Eastern Front. It was a bit dense at times, but otherwise very interesting. The only real problem I had with it is that it didn’t examine the contributions of the Luftwaffe or Waffen-SS.
While not quite as engaging as a Max Hastings book on World War II, such as Inferno: The World at War, or von Manstein’s autobiography of his time on the Eastern Front, Lost Victories, it is interesting and a pretty good comprehensive guide of what life was like for the average German soldier on the Eastern Front. Life was, in the words of Thomas Hobbes in Leviathan, “nasty, brutish, and short.” All because the Nazi socialists that started the war wanted to depopulate a subcontinent.
I think a chapter each on those branches and how they affected the war would have been very interesting and helpful in fully understanding the conflict. Otherwise, it was quite excellent and very illuminating. Even the dense sections were interesting enough to be readable because of how well the chapters tied together. Each one would have been interesting but not really useful on its own. Together, they were excellent and really complimented each other.
This book is one I would highly recommend to certain people. If you are interested in military history or WWII, definitely read it. If you are somewhat interested in a topic I described above, try it but know it is very academic and might not get through it. Hopefully, however, some of you will enjoy it as much as I did!
By: Gen Z Conservative
Buy The German Army on the Eastern Front here, on Amazon: https://amzn.to/2UC7r5S
If you’re interested in a book that covers what it would be like for American troops to fight the Soviets, check out this book: https://genzconservative.com/the-red-line/