HITLER'S WAR by Edwin P. Hoyt


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With authoritative texts from Bullock, Deutsch, Langer, Shirer, Speer, Toland, Trevor-Roper, and other respected annalists still in print or widely available to libraries, does the world need another biography of Adolf Hitler? Not really, perhaps, but the prolific Hoyt (1987's America's Wars and The Death of the U-Boats, et al.) does manage to provide fresh perspectives on the Fuhrer as a WW II strategist. Like many of his predecessors, the author probes Mein Kampf for the details it provides on Hitler's maniacal racial theories. (As Hoyt points out, however, it was Goebbels who ordered Kristalnacht, an initiative Hitler endorsed only after the fact.) Hoyt also focuses on Hitler's relationships with military leaders, who initially were the keystones of his political power. Once Hitler pulled off his Rhineland bluff, however, it became increasingly difficult for the officer corps to restrain him. Nor, Hoyt concludes, could the generals compensate for Hitler's inability or unwillingness to look beyond the initial phases of his Pan-Germanism objectives. Hoyt goes on to examine other miscalculations stemming from Hitler's failure to weigh consequences. Against the high command's advice, for instance, Hitler was willing to wage a two-front war in the mistaken belief that the various peoples of the USSR would flock from the Soviet banner at the first sign of trouble. In like vein, Hoyt estimates that Hitler's gratuitous decision to declare war on the US after Pearl Harbor cost him a respite of two to three years. Notwithstanding some skillfully conducted campaigns in continental Europe, then, Germany's defeat, Hoyt believes, was inevitable as early as 1942. In this context, he argues that if the Allies had relaxed their rigid policy of unconditioned surrender even modestly, V-E Day might have been hastened commensurately. Of necessity, Hoyt covers a lot of familiar ground. He does go, however, with insight and intelligence that, against the odds, make his analysis a genuine contribution to Hitlerian lore.

Pub Date: April 18th, 1988
ISBN: 0815411170
Publisher: McGraw-Hill