In his new book, The First Soldier: Hitler as a Military Leader (Yale University Press, 2018), Stephen Fritz professor of history at East Tennessee State University reexamines Hitler as a military commander and strategist. That Hitler saw World War II as the only way to retrieve Germany’s fortunes and build an expansionist Thousand-Year Reich is uncontroversial. But while his generals did sometimes object to Hitler’s tactics and operational direction, they often made the same errors in judgment and were in agreement regarding larger strategic and political goals. A necessary volume for understanding the influence of World War I on Hitler’s thinking, this work is also an eye-opening reappraisal of major events like the invasion of Russia and the battle for Normandy.
Craig Sorvillo is a PhD candidate in modern European history at the University of Florida. He specializes in Nazi Germany, and the Holocaust. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on twitter @craig_sorvillo.