Skip to comments.US Mag Prints List of 'top 10 German Generals'
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."
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.
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.
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?
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.
What does any of that have to do with his military acumen?
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.
Rommel wasn’t sullied by service in the East, as well.
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.
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.
I know my military history reasonably well, and WWII history in particular, and had no idea who Eberhard von Mackensen was. Weird list just on that.
Oh, and there is no doubt Guderian created the doctrine for combined arms built around tanks, mechanized infantry, self-propelled artillery, and close air support that came to be known as Blitzkrieg. No “said to have developed modern German tank strategies” about it, it is absolutely so. He owed a lot to a Brit named Fuller, but Guderian was able to get Hitler and the Wehrmacht to listen to him.
Messed up my original link
Henning von Tresckow
Who studied the Germans closely, as would be expected of a serious professional. Sam Donaldson interviewed him in the command bunker during Desert Shield/Storm. In his monk’s cell of a room was a copy of von Mellenthin’s Panzer Battles, which he had clearly been re-reading.
Not a bad list. As for the most recent names, they were good at executing what they had been taught, but who taught them? Look at their teachers.
"Before Alamein we never had a victory. After Alamein, we never had a defeat." - Winston Churchill.
The same thing was true of Midway. Before Midway we hardly won a battle. After Midway we hardly lost one.
One thing Adolph Galland mentioned in his book was that they didn’t all run around snapping to attention and yelling “heil Hitler”.
In fact he said when they see Germans doing this in movies they all laugh.