Klaus Schmider

Feb 9, 2024

Hitler's Fatal Miscalculation

Why Germany Declared War on the United States

Cambridge University Press 2021

Hitler's decision to declare war on the United States has baffled generations of historians. In this revisionist new history of those fateful months, Klaus H. Schmider seeks to uncover the chain of events which would incite the German leader to declare war on the United States in December 1941. 

In Hitler's Fatal Miscalculation: Why Germany Declared War on the United States (Cambridge UP, 2021), Schmider provides new insights not just on the problems afflicting German strategy, foreign policy and war production but, crucially, how they were perceived at the time at the top levels of the Third Reich. Schmider sees the declaration of war on the United States not as an admission of defeat or a gesture of solidarity with Japan, but as an opportunistic gamble by the German leader. This move may have appeared an excellent bet at the time, but would ultimately doom the Third Reich.

Joe Tasca is a host and a reporter for the NPR affiliate in Providence, Rhode Island.

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