Hitler's Panzer Generals

Guderian, Hoepner, Reinhardt and Schmidt Unguarded

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Pub Date 30 May 2023 | Archive Date 01 May 2023

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Description

Germany's success in the Second World War was built upon its tank forces; however, many of its leading generals, with the notable exception of Heinz Guderian, are largely unknown. This biographical study of four German panzer army commanders serving on the Eastern Front is based upon their unpublished wartime letters to their wives. David Stahel offers a complete picture of the men conducting Hitler's war in the East, with an emphasis on the private fears and public pressures they operated under. He also illuminates their response to the criminal dimension of the war as well as their role as leading military commanders conducting large-scale operations. While the focus is on four of Germany's most important panzer generals - Guderian, Hoepner, Reinhardt and Schmidt - the evidence from their private correspondence sheds new light on the broader institutional norms and cultural ethos of the Wehrmacht's Panzertruppe.

Germany's success in the Second World War was built upon its tank forces; however, many of its leading generals, with the notable exception of Heinz Guderian, are largely unknown. This biographical...


Advance Praise

‘Already renowned for his brilliant studies of the war on the Eastern Front, David Stahel has once again used his forensic skills to great effect. Drawing on original research - notably a treasure trove of intimate correspondence, much of it never before published - Stahel has produced a revelatory portrait of the four Panzer commanders who spearheaded Germany’s invasion of the Soviet Union in 1941. These military giants of historical myth re-emerge as complex, vulnerable and often deeply troubled human beings, who loved their families and their country but were also unswervingly loyal to the Nazi cause. This is revisionist history of the highest order. It is also a superb read.’ Jonathan Dimbleby, author of Barbarossa: How Hitler Lost the War


‘In this penetrating, first-of-its-kind study, David Stahel critically examines the personal letters of the panzer generals. He skillfully strips away the layers of myth and exaggeration to reveal an intimate portrait of the men beneath-their personal lives, quirks, and flaws, as well as their complicity in Hitler’s genocidal project. Readers will come away with a deeper understanding not only of Germany’s command culture but the social world of the Third Reich.’ David A. Harrisville, author of The Virtuous Wehrmacht: Crafting the Myth of the German Soldier on the Eastern Front, 1941–1944


‘Superb. David Stahel has become the foremost historian chronicling the war on the Eastern Front and this new study of four of the panzer generals is a major contribution to our understanding of how and why the German Army fought as it did and the consequences of their approach. Completely original in its study, this marks the first time any historian has so meticulously peeled back the layers of German high command in the war. The result is revelatory, immensely thought-provoking, compelling, and, frankly, eye-opening. It is a quite brilliant piece of work and deserves to be widely read for generations to come.’ James Holland, author of Brothers in Arms

‘Already renowned for his brilliant studies of the war on the Eastern Front, David Stahel has once again used his forensic skills to great effect. Drawing on original research - notably a treasure...


Available Editions

EDITION Hardcover
ISBN 9781009282819
PRICE $29.95 (USD)
PAGES 336

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