Sunday, April 10, 2016

Ernest May, Strange Victory

I'm still plugging along with Nicholas Stargardt, The German War.

Actually I was able to plow through the first couple hundred pages, but this week's been my vacation week, and my repetitive stress injury's getting better. I've been blogging like my old self.

The Stargardt book had a brief section on Nazi Germany's Blitzkrieg invasion of France. Not very long, but the discussion, particularly on early German expectations for a much more difficult campaign, reminded me of Professor Earnest May's classic volume, Strange Victory: Hitler's Conquest of France.

Strange Victory photo 12938241_10209554251396139_4276170611258614652_n_zpsvkowqotq.jpg

A dramatic narrative-and reinterpretation-of Germany's six-week campaign that swept the Wehrmacht to Paris in spring 1940.

Before the Nazis killed him for his work in the French Resistance, the great historian Marc Bloch wrote a famous short book, Strange Defeat, about the treatment of his nation at the hands of an enemy the French had believed they could easily dispose of. In Strange Victory, the distinguished American historian Ernest R. May asks the opposite question: How was it that Hitler and his generals managed this swift conquest, considering that France and its allies were superior in every measurable dimension and considering the Germans' own skepticism about their chances?

Strange Victory is a riveting narrative of those six crucial weeks in the spring of 1940, weaving together the decisions made by the high commands with the welter of confused responses from exhausted and ill-informed, or ill-advised, officers in the field...

And I'll have more blogging tonight. I think I'll rest my blogging forearms and read for a while.