Excerpt from No End Save Victory by Stephen Ambrose, Robert Cowley, plus links to reviews, author biography & more

Summary |  Excerpt |  Reviews |  Readalikes |  Genres & Themes |  Author Bio

No End Save Victory

Perspectives on World War II

By Stephen Ambrose, Robert Cowley

No End Save Victory
  • Critics' Opinion:

    Readers' Opinion:

     Not Yet Rated
  • Hardcover: Apr 2001,
    704 pages.
    Paperback: Mar 2002,
    704 pages.

    Publication Information

  • Rate this book

Buy This Book

About this Book

Print Excerpt

The fact that Adolf Hitler was one of Guderian's earliest converts to mobile-armored tactics did not help to win the panzer leaders' friends in the army high command. Attending one of Guderian's first panzer maneuvers, Hitler stated emphatically, "That's what I need. That's what I want to have." The issue was as yet a bit more complicated than that, and the development of first-class German tanks took much longer than Guderian would have liked. But the führer's support was both of immense value to the development of armor and an irritant to many of Guderian's superiors.

Such was the state of the senior German officer corps that was assigned, in April 1939, the task of preparing for the invasion of Poland: reluctant, politically disdainful (and because of that, distanced from the overwhelming majority of the German people), and finally divided on the future development of weapons and tactics. Fortunately for the Germans, the actual job of planning Case White fell to a small group of officers whose insight allowed them to make use of all the resources and talented men at their disposal - whether "old school" or new - in preparing a plan that was at once quintessentially Prussian and daringly advanced.

Overall responsibility for design and coordination of the attack was left, as was customary, to the commander in chief of the army, General Brauchitsch, and to the director of operations of the general staff, General Halder. Their design of the assault could well have come out of the pages of nineteenth-century Prussian history. Accepting the risks involved in stripping their western border of trained combat troops, Brauchitsch and Halder concentrated forty-two divisions into two army groups along the lengthy border around Poland and Slovakia to Pomerania. Army Group North was to cut the Polish Corridor and then advance southeast; Army Group South would engage the main Polish forces-hopefully before they could retreat behind the Vistula River-and then move to link up with Army Group North. This massive pincer thrust from north to south was centered on Warsaw. To achieve it, the Germans accepted the further risk of leaving their own center exposed to possible counterattack.

In the Moltke tradition, General Halder did not exclude field commanders and their staffs from contributing to Case White. Suggestions for the actual deployment and composition of armies were accepted (some willingly, others less so) from army group, army, and corps headquarters.

Command of Army Group South was given to General Gerd von Rundstedt, one of Germany's best-loved soldiers. Already in his mid-sixties, Rundstedt was a true aristocrat but even in appearance had a penchant for idiosyncrasy. In the words of his chief of operations, General Günther von Blumentritt, he "did not wear a general's or a field marshal's uniform, but preferred the simple jacket of the commander of an infantry regiment, with a marshal's shoulder badges and the regimental number 18. It often happened that young officers thus mistook him for a colonel and did not know that it was the field marshal who was standing before them, which Runstedt always accepted good-humoredly." Rundstedt was primarily interested in the movement of troops in actual battle. Peacetime staff planning and details held little fascination for him. Such an attitude placed immense responsibility on both his chief of staff and his chief of operations.

These posts had been secured by two of the most intellectually gifted officers in the Wehrmacht. Rundstedt's chief of staff was Erich von Manstein. The son of a Prussian artillery general, Manstein had been adopted in his infancy by his aunt and uncle - the latter a Prussian infantry general of noble lineage. Thus by blood and upbringing, Manstein was steeped in the Prussian military code. Behind his thin, penetrating eyes and beaklike nose worked a prodigious mind, one that would later spawn the remarkable German plan for the invasion of France and contribute significantly to Germany's early successes in Russia.

Reprinted from No End Save Victory Edited by Robert Cowley by permission of G.P. Putnam's Sons, a member of Penguin Putnam Inc. Copyright (c) 2001 Edited by Robert Cowley. All rights reserved. This excerpt, or any parts thereof, may not be reproduced in any form without permission.

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" backstories
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year
  • More about membership!
Member Benefits

Join Now!

Check the advantages!
Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year

    • FREE
    • MEMBER
    • Range of media reviews for each book
    • Excerpts of all featured books
    • Author bios, interviews and pronunciations
    • Browse by genre
    • Book club discussions
    • Book club advice and reading guides
    • BookBrowse reviews and "beyond the book" back-stories
    • Reviews of notable books ahead of publication
    • Free books to read and review (US Only)
    • Browse for the best books by time period, setting & theme
    • Read-alike suggestions for thousands of books and authors
    • 'My Reading List" to keep track of your books
Sign up, win books!

Editor's Choice

  • Book Jacket: Take This Man
    Take This Man
    by Brando Skyhorse
    "A chorus of six men calling me Son might sound ludicrous to you, but to me it's the sound of ...
  • Book Jacket: The Hundred-Year House
    The Hundred-Year House
    by Rebecca Makkai
    Rebecca Makkai's sophomore novel The Hundred-Year House could just have easily been titled ...
  • Book Jacket
    The Valley of Amazement
    by Amy Tan
    "Mirror, Mirror on the wall
    I am my mother after all!"

    In my pre-retirement days as a professor ...

First Impressions

Members read and review books ahead
of publication. See what they think
in First Impressions!

Books that
expand your

Visitors can view a lot of BookBrowse for free. Full access is for members only

Find out more.

Book Discussions
Book Jacket

The Arsonist
by Sue Miller

Published Jun. 2014

Join the discussion!

  1.  132Tomlinson Hill:
    Chris Tomlinson

All Discussions

Win this book!
Win The Angel of Losses

The Angel of Losses

"Family saga, mystery, and myth intersect in Feldman's debut novel." - Booklist


Word Play

Solve this clue:

E C H A Silver L

and be entered to win..

Books thatinspire you.Handpicked.

Books you'll stay up all night reading; books that will whisk you to faraway places and times, books that will expand your mind and inspire you -- the kinds of books you just can't wait to tell your friends about.