A “masterly account” of the juggernaut offensive that conquered France—but also marked the beginning of the end for Nazi Germany in World War II (Kirkus Reviews).
In the spring of 1940, the German forces launched an attack on France that combined superb intelligence, cutting edge strategy, and new technology—the blitzkrieg, or “lightning war.” In just six weeks, it would achieve what their fathers had failed to do in all four years of the First World War. It was a stunning victory.
But here, leading British military historian and academic Lloyd Clark argues that much of our understanding of this victory is based on myth. Far from being a foregone conclusion, Hitler’s plan could easily have failed had the Allies been even slightly less inept or the Germans less fortunate. The Germans recognized that success depended not only on surprise, but also avoiding a protracted struggle for which they were not prepared—making defeat a very real possibility.
Their surprise victory proved the apex of their achievement; far from being undefeatable, Clark argues, the Battle of France revealed Germany and its armed forces to be highly vulnerable. And Hitler dismissed this fact as he planned his next move—and greatest blunder: the invasion of the Soviet Union.
In this eye-opening reassessment, complete with maps and illustrations, Clark “presents a well-balanced narrative that highlights the knife-edge victory of the German forces” and reveals how very close the Nazi war machine came to catastrophe in the early days of World War II (New York Journal of Books).