Death of the Wehrmacht by Robert M. Citino

Paper Type:  Essay
Pages:  5
Wordcount:  1116 Words
Date:  2021-05-17

Prior to civilization, war seemed the only way to put forward one's interests. Given that people often have diverse interests, the ability of one to win a war was crucial and therefore it was not surprising that a leader's power was primarily determined by the efficiency and strength of the soldiers under his command. Despite the efforts that were often accompanied by significant losses, most leaders lost their territories to their opponents in the long run. Such a scenario has been demonstrated in world war 11, whereby Germans who were the central force behind the war for a considerable period ended up losing almost every territory that they had acquired. What went wrong after years of victory? Moreover, who is to be blamed for such a shameful waste of hard work? Citino attempts to provide answers to such questions in his book Death of the Wehrmacht where he visualizes the world war 11 from the German perspective. Citino's view prevents bias thus giving precise information concerning the aspects that led victory and the eventual defeat of the German in world war 11. The death of the Wehrmacht is a continuation of the author's book, The German way of war. Since Wehrmacht is a German term that integrates the army, navy, and air force, it can be assumed that Citino's second book talks about the shortcomings of the German way of war. This paper reviews the book Death of the Wehrmacht by Robert M. Citino.

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According to Citino, for a conqueror to remain robust, he must find ways to acquire resources from the new territories and be prepared for future changes. In other words, Citino meant that increase in power came with additional responsibilities, as it requires more material wealth as well as newer and better tactics. Therefore, the author believes that the Germans were defeated because of the shortage of resources and ineffective war theoretical frameworks. Although Germans had often turned out victoriously in wars before mid-1941, they started losing to the Soviet Army as well as the rest of their opponents. It should be noted that German had won many wars despite the significant disadvantage brought about by its geographical location. In other words, its a nation surrounded by enemies. However, it still managed to win because of a combination two main factors, advanced technology in vehicles and weaponry and the short wars tactic. The principle behind the latter aspect was to remain unpredictable in a way that would allow them to attack the enemy at the most unexpected time and way. Although the strategy had worked over several years, there was an urgency of adopting better models. However, the Germans continued to focus on their military operations while paying less attention to their economic situation. Is it conceivable to win a war with insufficient resources at your disposal?

Germans' war doctrine seems more concerned with defeating the enemies on the battlefield. Therefore, the quick maneuver technique was well aligned with their objectives; it continuous positive result must have blindfolded the German leaders to believe that if they keep on winning, the enemies will eventually surrender. The rigid nature of such a strategy could not offer other options in case of defeat, and thus, the force had to continue attacking until the other part gives up. On the other hand, other nations identified Germans' weakness; in response, they shifted their focus from the military operations towards economic sustainability. According to Citino, 1942 is a memorable year as it saw a significant change in the Germans' traditional war policies. It should be noted that although the mid-1941 had highlighted weaknesses in Wehrmacht, the leaders were still unwilling to find a better replacement. For instance, upon being surrounded by multiple enemies who had colluded and had more resources, the German military response was to attack one of the enemies and confuse the entire coalition. Such tactics seem reasonable but then, what about when they lacked basic supplies due to the weak economy of their nation. Could they still manage to attack even a single enemy and disperse the rest? The most obvious answer to these questions is just a no.

At this point, it is apparent that Hitler's regime had the potential to achieve its objective; however, the single-minded approach applied in attaining the goal was the course of its failure. For this reason, Citino argues that German defeat in world war 11 cannot be blamed on Hitler alone but rather all the leaders in his regime. For instance in July 1941, Germans Wehrmacht recorded the highest loss ever (pg.42). Nevertheless, Germans pride seemed to have outlived their victories because they still reported fake achievements even after July 1941. Citino notes that the 1941 Germans' defeat was coursed by three main factors. The first one was the soviets resistance to back down even after being defeated several times; this made it unbearable for the Germans to convert their battle victory into plans that could further their agenda. The second aspect was insufficient resources making the nation over depend on its allies; the issue was intensified by the failure of the country to prioritize despite the limited resources. Lastly, Hitler's conflict with his top commander on how to go about with the situation threatened German military long-lived tradition of allowing the leaders to make their own decisions on the battlefield.

It is evident that Germans were good in the war front but poor planners. They placed a lot of emphasis on conquering more regions instead of finding ways of managing the ones they had already managed to acquire. In addition, they were rigid to make changes in their war strategies despite the evidence that it was no longer working. For example, Citino notes that after 1941 the Soviets campaign acted like a dead end for any victory that Germans got in North Africa. Therefore, the Germans got stuck as their efforts were limited to winning in the battlefields. Although they tried to fight Russia, they consistently failed. Since defeat meant the loss of personnel and other resources, the Soviets were steadily depriving the Germans. By this time Hitler knew that his objective of invading Russia was never going to be fulfilled. Another aspect that weakened the Germans military further was the over-extended nature of war. Even though the Wehrmacht still had the capability to turn out victoriously, they could only do this by focusing on a single enemy at a given region at a time. This scenario created a dilemma in that as the military concentrated in a particular territory, its enemies in other regions had time to reorganize themselves; and yet dividing the army meant failure.


Showalter, Dennis. "Death Of The Wehrmacht: The German Campaigns Of 1942 - By Robert M. Citino". Historian 72.1 (2010): 211-212. Web.

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Death of the Wehrmacht by Robert M. Citino. (2021, May 17). Retrieved from

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