With Terror in the Balkans: German Armies and Partisan Warfare
(Harvard University Press, 2012), Ben Shepherd
, a Reader at Glasgow Caledonian University, offers us insight into the complex and harrowing history of the German Army's occupation of the former Yugoslavia from 1941-1943. By analyzing the command structures at the divisional and regimental level, Shepherd helps to explain how and why the violence ebbed and flowed in the various occupied regions. But he also looks further down, to see how the behavior of specific units was shaped by the vagaries of terrain, supply, the character of the opposition, and even certain commanders' backgrounds and experiences. Always cautious not to make claims beyond the limits of his evidence, Shepherd nevertheless draws important conclusions about how history, personality, and National Socialist ideology shaped the behavior of the German Army in the Second World War. For that and for illuminating in clear and concise prose the foggy and chaotic political and military environment in the Balkans during those years, Shepherd should be congratulated.