Review published on August 7, 2017.
One of the biggest military mistakes during the Second World War was when Hitler decided to turn against his ally and war enabler the Soviet Union. This encompassed many mistakes, from spreading the invading forces to thin, not having the correct equipment or clothing and not taking into account the mistakes of previous invaders where Russia and the weather is concerned.
In the north towards St Petersburg, or as it was Leningrad, where starving Russians still managed to hold the Germans at bay, encircled and dying the Germans never took the city. Trying to take Moscow, and like Napoleon being turned around, but one of the biggest battles was for Stalingrad. The Russians would fight to death to protect the city given their leader’s name at all costs, and they were not afraid to fight for every house on every street to protect that city.
General Friedrich Paulus had been tasked by Hitler to take the city at all cost, the price was clearly to high as the German Army was encircled and Paulus was captured by the Russians, the day he heard he had been promoted to Field Marshall. Hitler believed that Paulus was do the honourable thing and commit suicide rather than fall in to the hands of the Russians; he was wrong.
This account is a from the pen of Paulus’ ADC at the time, Colonel Wilhelm Adam, who was his side throughout the war and into captivity and eventually release in to the East German Army. Written by Adam after the death of Paulus and his retirement from the East German Army, we are given an eyewitness account of the battle. It is a rare insight into the battle from those who were directing it, the problems they had and the perceptions of those in command, all the way up to Hitler.
For lovers of history who want an inside track and a German viewpoint on the battle, this is an ideal book that gives you a view often overlooked here in the West. Not only that we see their captivity, the turning on the German High Command and what happened after the war. This really is a fascinating account from someone who was there that scholars and the general reader will refer to for many years.
This is a brilliant eyewitness account of one of the bloodiest, stupidest battles that the German’s undertook during the Second World War.
Paul Diggett 5/5
With Paulus at Stalingrad by Wilhelm Adam and Otto Rhle
Pen & Sword Military 9781473898981 pbk Apr 2017
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