Free Republic
Browse · Search
General/Chat
Topics · Post Article

Skip to comments.

US Mag Prints List of 'top 10 German Generals'
The Local ^ | 13 Nov 12

Posted on 11/21/2012 3:39:46 PM PST by nickcarraway

A US military history magazine has published a controversial list of the "top ten German generals," including three who fought under Adolf Hitler, causing some consternation in Germany.)

"Only an American could ask a question like this," German newspaper Die Welt wrote on Tuesday, in response to a list published in US magazine The Quarterly Journal of Military History. The list was sparked by a reader's question about the greatest German military minds.

It was answered by historian Robert M. Citino, professor for European history at the University of North Texas, and author of the book The German Way of War. Though the list leaves out major Nazi military figures like Erwin Rommel, it does include Heinz Guderian, who is said to have developed modern German tank strategies during World War II, as well as two other Nazi generals.

Such lists are considered highly suspect in Germany. "The actions of a general in the German-Soviet war is today exclusively judged on how many civilians and prisoners of war were killed or starved to death within his remit," military historian Johannes Hürter said in Die Welt. "Against that, hardly anyone asks about their military performance."

Two of Hitler's generals who made it onto Citino's list - Erich von Lewinski, known as Manstein, and Eberhard von Mackensen - were later convicted of war crimes. Manstein was sentenced to 18 years in prison and Mackensen was sentenced to death, though both were eventually pardoned.

The list largely concentrates on Prussian-German military history, and includes two actual Prussian rulers - Frederick the Great himself and Frederick William I, King of Prussia from 1713 to his death in 1740.

The pre-Nazi-era generals on the list include Count Hellmuth von Moltke, Gebhard Leberecht von Blücher, Prinz Friedrich Karl of Prussia, Friedrich Wilhelm von Seydlitz, and Georg Freiherr von Derfflinger. Except for Guderian, the entire list is made up of members of aristocratic Prussian families.

But the newspaper could not resist a swipe at the academic value of such exercises. "Such debates are limited to hobby historians in Germany," Die Welt wrote. "If you want to reduce war history to lists, you have to go to America."


TOPICS: History; Hobbies; Military/Veterans
KEYWORDS: godsgravesglyphs
Navigation: use the links below to view more comments.
first 1-5051-74 next last

1 posted on 11/21/2012 3:39:50 PM PST by nickcarraway
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | View Replies]

To: nickcarraway

A list of generals made by a college professor?

Hang on, I’m working on my list of great fashion designers right now.

(Maybe a list made by Norman Schwarzkoph I might take seriously.)


2 posted on 11/21/2012 3:46:37 PM PST by I cannot think of a name
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: I cannot think of a name
I don't see the Desert Fox at the top of that list.

/johnny

3 posted on 11/21/2012 3:48:14 PM PST by JRandomFreeper (Gone Galt)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 2 | View Replies]

To: nickcarraway

“were later convicted of war crimes”

Which means nothing in itself, except that they were on the losing side.


4 posted on 11/21/2012 3:49:47 PM PST by Tublecane
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: JRandomFreeper

My 11th grade social studies teacher was a fan of Erwin Rommell.


5 posted on 11/21/2012 3:50:02 PM PST by Nowhere Man (I miss you Muffin! (8-21-1987 - 7-09-2004). Take care, pretty girl!)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 3 | View Replies]

To: I cannot think of a name
"A list of generals made by a college professor?"

Now, now...just because a lot of academia is bent, doesn't mean all profs have been corrupted, and there are a handful that do take their jobs seriously. I would wager that one contributing to a military history magazine at least has a case to make.

Would you discount a list of ancient generals compiled by Victor Davis Hanson just because he's a professor? How about a list of 19th Century American Generals by Dr. Jay Luvaas, or British Generals by John Keegan?

6 posted on 11/21/2012 3:55:02 PM PST by Joe 6-pack (Que me amat, amet et canem meum)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 2 | View Replies]

To: JRandomFreeper

Rommel supposedly took part in the conspiracy to kill Hitler in 1944—and was forced to commit suicide as a result. If so, he deserves to be on the list.


7 posted on 11/21/2012 3:56:12 PM PST by rbg81
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 3 | View Replies]

To: nickcarraway

“If you want to reduce war history ti lists, you have to go to America”

Nothing wrong with taking a good swipe at pop-history and top ten lusts in general, but come on. No German publication ever ranks historical figures in like fashion? If that’s true I’ll eat my hat.

By the way, there’s nothing wrong with being deductive persay. A good aphorism like “power corrupts...”can tell us what we need to know better than a full multivolume set. When we call something deductive, of course, we mean falsely reductive, as to “rationalize” means to be irrational. Probably this list and the accompanying story are reductive in a bad way. I’m just saying.


8 posted on 11/21/2012 3:57:06 PM PST by Tublecane
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: nickcarraway

“If you want to reduce war history ti lists, you have to go to America”

Nothing wrong with taking a good swipe at pop-history and top ten lusts in general, but come on. No German publication ever ranks historical figures in like fashion? If that’s true I’ll eat my hat.

By the way, there’s nothing wrong with being reductive persay. A good aphorism like “power corrupts...”can tell us what we need to know better than a full multivolume set. When we call something deductive, of course, we mean falsely reductive, as to “rationalize” means to be irrational. Probably this list and the accompanying story are reductive in a bad way. I’m just saying.


9 posted on 11/21/2012 3:57:20 PM PST by Tublecane
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Tublecane

deductive equals reductive


10 posted on 11/21/2012 3:58:03 PM PST by Tublecane
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 9 | View Replies]

To: nickcarraway

This seems like another case of Germany becoming filled with “consternation” when anybody tries to analyze it’s military history.

Note to Germany : Discussing the greatest German military minds in history is not an endorsement of whatever ideology they served. It’s okay to analyze the military brilliance of the Nazis, despite atrocities that were committed, even during warfare.

We can, and should, discuss these matters in an objective way, and without fear.


11 posted on 11/21/2012 3:58:12 PM PST by Viennacon
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: nickcarraway

I saw a filmed interview of a German general years ago. He was in prison at the time for war crimes.

He was asked who were the best allied generals and he simply said “Patton and Montgomery”. He didn’t mention Zukov or any other allied generals.

I wasn’t surprised at Patton but thought to myself that Montgomery must have been a little better than history portrays him.


12 posted on 11/21/2012 3:58:45 PM PST by yarddog (One shot one miss.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: nickcarraway
"Only an American could ask a question like this," German newspaper Die Welt

Yeah, because we're free thinkers. We don't have to conform to the whims of those in power, don't have to hide from the past. There is nothing wrong with recognizing military brilliance - even in an adversary (past, present, or future). To close your mind based on politics invites military defeat.

Though it is hard to take this seriously. As others say, this is made up by a college professor. History buff? Military buff? I don't know, if he doesn't have Rommel on the list it is hard to take him seriously. I'd like to hear his justification for leaving him off the list.

13 posted on 11/21/2012 3:58:49 PM PST by ThunderSleeps (Stop obama now! Stop the hussein - insane agenda!)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: JRandomFreeper

Relatively speaking, Rommel was mediocre.
The Eastern Front Generals did most of the Reich’s heavy lifting and lasted, despite Hitler’s interference, for a remarkably long time...


14 posted on 11/21/2012 3:58:56 PM PST by Little Ray (I have VOTED AGAINST Obama in the General.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 3 | View Replies]

To: Nowhere Man

I don’t know about being a “fan’ of him? It’s somewhat unfair to cast him as a Nazi, and he later participated in an assassination attempt against Hitler. That doesn’t necessarily absolve him of any responsibility for fighting for them.


15 posted on 11/21/2012 3:59:06 PM PST by nickcarraway
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 5 | View Replies]

To: Nowhere Man
The guy was good. If he'd been on the Allied side without all the nazi convoluted crap....

/johnny

16 posted on 11/21/2012 3:59:32 PM PST by JRandomFreeper (Gone Galt)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 5 | View Replies]

To: nickcarraway

Ask Hitler what he thought of his generals.

What he should have done was liquidate all the high ranking officers, as Stalin did!


17 posted on 11/21/2012 3:59:46 PM PST by KC_Lion (Build the America you want to live in at your address, and keep looking up.-Sarah Palin)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: nickcarraway

Yeah, Moltke. Too bad they didn’t stick to the plan.


18 posted on 11/21/2012 4:05:52 PM PST by TheRhinelander
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: nickcarraway

Came to see Guderian on the list. Left satisfied.


19 posted on 11/21/2012 4:10:56 PM PST by 1rudeboy
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: rbg81

Whether or not Romnel deserves to be on the list has nothing to do with the plot to kill Hitler, unless you consider gentlemanly opposition to tyranny one of the chief qualities of great generals, which is a possibility. But then he’d be in line behind several other anti-Hitler generals.

By the way, one reason among many that the Nuremberg trials were such a travesty of justice is that here we are, 70 years later, giving the benefit of the doubt to Nazi generals as monsters unless demonstrated otherwise. I might ask what genocide Rommel committed that he needed to be saved by joining the plot? Or why various Nazis were convicted for the exact same acts for which no one slapped British, American, and especially Russian hands? Or why some went to prison despite being demonstrably more restrained than allied generals?

The guilty until Provence innocent standard might be fun and instructive, if not just. But only if applied equally to Sherman, for instance, as men who happened to be German in 1939.


20 posted on 11/21/2012 4:11:12 PM PST by Tublecane
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 7 | View Replies]

To: rbg81
Rommel supposedly took part in the conspiracy to kill Hitler in 1944—and was forced to commit suicide as a result. If so, he deserves to be on the list.

Only after the war began going badly for Germany. .

21 posted on 11/21/2012 4:11:55 PM PST by holymoly ("A lot" is two words.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 7 | View Replies]

To: JRandomFreeper
I don't see the Desert Fox at the top of that list.

Rommel was basically a corps commander.

22 posted on 11/21/2012 4:13:01 PM PST by fso301
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 3 | View Replies]

To: nickcarraway

I didn’t see v. Nitwitz or v. Efwitz on the list either.


23 posted on 11/21/2012 4:14:16 PM PST by RitchieAprile (the obsteperous gentleman..)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: nickcarraway

Rommel was a Nazi...? That is COMPLETELY ridiculous.

He was profoundly apolitical and showed great respect to POW’s, etc.

In fact you can argue that he was executed BECAUSE he was not a Nazi.


24 posted on 11/21/2012 4:17:16 PM PST by gaijin
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Little Ray

“The Eastern Front Generals did most of the Reich’s heavy lifting”

While true, it doesn’t speak against Rommel. He couldn’t give the British and Americans more weapons and bodies or make Africa more strategically important by his generalship.

“despite Hitler’s interference”

Das Fuhrer’s incompetence has been exaggerated, partly by the old favorite ploy of generals blaming civilian leadership. But where Hitler made hus biggest mistakes, Stalingrad for instance, Rommel was affected too. You don’t think men and supplies got to Africa by magic. Hitler rightly prioritized the east over Africa, but bungling the east left Afrikacorp high and dry.


25 posted on 11/21/2012 4:19:44 PM PST by Tublecane
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 14 | View Replies]

To: nickcarraway
general Schwarzkopf
26 posted on 11/21/2012 4:20:36 PM PST by traumer
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: holymoly

“Only after...”

Yeah, but he did lose his life for it. I’d hate to trivialize treason because it “only” was done to save your country from ruin, instead of being against tyranny from the beginning and getting chucked in a camp before all but uniquely prescient people knew the stakes. Von Stauffenberg “only” joined after seeing the horrors of the Eastern Front, by the way, which wasn’t Rommel’s post.


27 posted on 11/21/2012 4:25:19 PM PST by Tublecane
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 21 | View Replies]

To: TheRhinelander

Napoleon III and Marshall Bazaine sure thought so.


28 posted on 11/21/2012 4:30:11 PM PST by gusty
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 18 | View Replies]

To: TheRhinelander

Napoleon III and Marshall Bazaine sure thought so. Add Franz Joseph and General Benedek to that list, they found out four years earlier.


29 posted on 11/21/2012 4:31:17 PM PST by gusty
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 18 | View Replies]

To: Viennacon

Gamal Abdul Nasser found out the hard way about the objective analysis of military history. Not once, but twice the principles of Heinz Guderian was unleashed on him to destroy his army. The opponent who studied the armoured blitzkrieg, the IDF.


30 posted on 11/21/2012 4:34:42 PM PST by gusty
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 11 | View Replies]

To: nickcarraway

A couple years from now, the German magazine will probably publish a list of “Top 10 Gay-American Generals” and be proud of their article.


31 posted on 11/21/2012 4:40:42 PM PST by Bryanw92 (Sic semper tyrannis)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: gusty

There is probably not much new in military strategy.

I always felt that Patton learned much from Confederate Guerrilla leader John Mosby who was often a house guest of the Pattons. Patton would ride with Mosby around their ranch and learn lessons of war. George JR. was only a boy at the time but already determined to be a general.

One of Patton’s Grandfathers was a Confederate General and the other a Confederate Colonel.


32 posted on 11/21/2012 4:42:30 PM PST by yarddog (One shot one miss.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 30 | View Replies]

To: Tublecane

I agree that the High Command liked to blame stuff on Hitler to cover their own mistakes (after all everybody hated him AND he was conveniently dead), but there was still a awful lot of legitimate blame for him.

Hitler might have won in the East if threw the Italians in Greece and Balkans to the wolves and went straight in; he might have STILL pulled it out if he had condemned the attack by the Japanese upon the American Fleet in Pearl Harbor instead of declaring war in support of the Japs.

And there is no telling how much damage Hitler did mucking around in war production (imagine the Germans fielding a T-34 clone instead of the overly-complicated Panther or ME-262s fighters deployed in 1943...). His like of giant weapons wasted a lot of material.

There were better Field Marshals, Manstein comes to mind, on the Eastern Front. Rommel just got good press in the West because we were fighting him!


33 posted on 11/21/2012 4:42:43 PM PST by Little Ray (I have VOTED AGAINST Obama in the General.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 25 | View Replies]

To: nickcarraway

Listing of military generals should be solely based on their abilities as force multipliers, not whether they fought on good or evil. Every General fights to further his Nations cause. Who was that German who led the Romans into an ambush that wiped out an entire legion?


34 posted on 11/21/2012 4:45:36 PM PST by MattinNJ (Col. West in 2016!!!!!!!!)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: nickcarraway

Soon the only commanders Germans can praise will be the likes of Mohammed, Suleman, Mehmet, etc.


35 posted on 11/21/2012 4:47:24 PM PST by Dagnabitt (The USA - Fun while it lasted.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: nickcarraway

The Germans used to be so army-centric that they named all their naval battlecruisers after Prussian generals, many on this list.

Seems that PC has killed that strain in the current Germany. Good thing we aren’t staring at a horde across the Fulda Gap anymore.


36 posted on 11/21/2012 4:49:28 PM PST by Rinnwald
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Little Ray

Well, the issue of oil dwarfs all else. Without that, the best generals in the world didn’t have a chance.


37 posted on 11/21/2012 4:51:13 PM PST by nickcarraway
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 33 | View Replies]

To: Tublecane

War crimes trials are mostly political rather than just.

I remember that Japanese General Tomoyuki Yamashita was ordered executed despite the fact that he had ordered his troops to not commit the acts of brutality which they did.

I think McArthur said his crime was not keeping control of his men. The odd thing about Japanese soldiers and officers is they often disobeyed their commanders orders, doing things which would never have been allowed in American or German armies.

I have read that they would often choose to commit suicide rather than retreat when ordered to do so.


38 posted on 11/21/2012 5:03:14 PM PST by yarddog (One shot one miss.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 20 | View Replies]

To: nickcarraway

https://www.youtube.com/watch?NR=1&v=nxxSIX3fmmo&feature=endscreen


39 posted on 11/21/2012 5:07:17 PM PST by hosepipe (This propaganda has been edited to include some fully orbed hyperbole..)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: gaijin
Rommel was a Nazi...? That is COMPLETELY ridiculous. He was profoundly apolitical

Rommel commanded Hitler's military bodyguard during the occupations of Austria, the Sudetenland and the balance of Czechoslovakia, and during the Polish Campaign, as well as serving as the Army liaison officer with the Hitler Youth. You didn't get put in charge of keeping Shicklegruber alive if they had any doubt about you loyalty to National Socialism. That was one reason Rommel joining the conspiracy was such a shock -- he had been the guy in charge Hitler's Army Bodyguard. It is also probably a big reason he was allowed to commit suicide. Goebbels had built him up as a National Socialist General, and Rommel turning on Hitler could not be dismissed as the action of some reactionary monarchist, as Goebbels tried to do with the guys with "von" in front of their names.

40 posted on 11/21/2012 5:08:36 PM PST by Pilsner
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 24 | View Replies]

To: nickcarraway

Georg Freiherr von Derfflinger was an Austrian Protestant who made a naem for himself fighting for Saxony, Sweden and fianlly Brandenberg Thirty Years War. He was not Prussian.


41 posted on 11/21/2012 5:13:45 PM PST by rmlew ("Mosques are our barracks, minarets our bayonets, domes our helmets, the believers our soldiers.")
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: rmlew

I forgot, Graf von Moltke the elder, was Danish. He served Prussia but was not Prussian. His nephew of the same name was Prussian, but no one would put him on a top 10 list.


42 posted on 11/21/2012 5:24:03 PM PST by rmlew ("Mosques are our barracks, minarets our bayonets, domes our helmets, the believers our soldiers.")
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 41 | View Replies]

To: Pilsner

You forget, there were some people whose lack of fidelity to Nacism were overlooked by Hitler because of his respect for their abilities. Take Ernst Junger for example. And how do you explain Canaris lasting as long as he did?


43 posted on 11/21/2012 5:28:18 PM PST by nickcarraway
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 40 | View Replies]

To: I cannot think of a name

Ever heard of Victor Davis Hanson? The childish comments of the German journo are laughable-and typical of someone who thinks war is an unenlightened thing of the past.


44 posted on 11/21/2012 6:01:14 PM PST by Amberdawn
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 2 | View Replies]

To: rbg81

What does any of that have to do with his military acumen?


45 posted on 11/21/2012 6:06:06 PM PST by wideawake
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 7 | View Replies]

To: MattinNJ
Who was that German who led the Romans into an ambush that wiped out an entire legion?

That was Hermann, whom the Romans called Arminius. His victory over the Romans at the Teutoburg Forest in AD 9 convinced them not to push the northern boundary of their empire beyond the Rhine.

46 posted on 11/21/2012 6:06:48 PM PST by Fiji Hill (Deo Vindice!)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 34 | View Replies]

To: Little Ray

Rommel wasn’t sullied by service in the East, as well.


47 posted on 11/21/2012 6:07:53 PM PST by Amberdawn
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 33 | View Replies]

To: rbg81
Henning von Tresckow
48 posted on 11/21/2012 6:11:55 PM PST by dfwgator
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 7 | View Replies]

To: nickcarraway
You forget, there were some people whose lack of fidelity to Nacism were overlooked by Hitler because of his respect for their abilities.

I don't forget that all. My point is that Rommel wasn't one of those guys. He was a fan of National Socialism for years, and popular with the Nazis. Geobbels made a propagand movie about his campaign in France.

49 posted on 11/21/2012 6:12:53 PM PST by Pilsner
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 43 | View Replies]

To: Pilsner

Rommel, like most military men, liked Hitler, feeling that AH would do very well by the Army and understood their needs. This, however, does not make one a Nazi.


50 posted on 11/21/2012 6:14:03 PM PST by Amberdawn
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 40 | View Replies]


Navigation: use the links below to view more comments.
first 1-5051-74 next last

Disclaimer: Opinions posted on Free Republic are those of the individual posters and do not necessarily represent the opinion of Free Republic or its management. All materials posted herein are protected by copyright law and the exemption for fair use of copyrighted works.

Free Republic
Browse · Search
General/Chat
Topics · Post Article

FreeRepublic, LLC, PO BOX 9771, FRESNO, CA 93794
FreeRepublic.com is powered by software copyright 2000-2008 John Robinson