First published in 1995 as the official German history of the 1940 campaign, this book goes beyond standard explanations to show that the German victory was not inevitable and that French defeat was not preordained. Contrary to most accounts of the campaign, Frieserâs illustrates that the military systems of both Germany and France were solid and that their campaign plans were sound. The key to victory or defeat, Frieser argues, was the execution of operational plansâboth preplanned and ad hocâamid the eternal Clausewitzian combat factors of friction and the fog of war. He shows why, on the eve of the campaign, the British and French leaders had good cause to be confident and why many German generals were understandably concerned that disaster was looming for them.
This study explodes many of the myths concerning German blitzkrieg warfare and the planning for the 1940 campaign. Frieserâs groundbreaking interpretation of the topic has been the subject of discussion since the German edition first appeared. This English translation is published in cooperation with the Association of the United States Army.
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