Titans Clashed by Glantz &  Book Review

Excerpt from Book Review :

These are the best that Germany and the Soviet Union have at the same time and, while this is a known fact in most other history books for Germany, the authors of "When Titans Clashed" show better the importance of great generals for the final victory of Soviet Union as well. A new generation of generals, replacing the ones that had died in the purges of the 1930s, show their talents in all the battles of the Eastern front and, subsequently, in the conquest of Berlin. The general acceptance is that these generals could have had even greater success had they not been caught in a political game, where the Commander in Chief, Stalin, was always aware of potential successes that could impact his authority.

The general opinion that the authors seem to share and promote in the book seems to rely on the main idea that, while the Western allies' helped tremendously in terms of supplying equipment and materials for the war and in opening another front in 1944, these elements were not the essential, key ones for the eventual victory of the Soviet forces and conquest of Berlin. In their opinion, this was a secondary factor to others such as the quality of the Soviet generals, the fighting skills of the soldiers, the overall, eventual strategic leadership of Stalin and other additional factors that made the Soviet Army a redoubtable one.

Following this main thesis, the authors present another tacit conclusion of the relations between the main allies of the war (Great Britain, United States and the Soviet Union): the idea that, while the Western allies did support the Soviet Union's war effort, many of their actions, especially towards the end of the war, when Germany's fate was already clear, were actually directed towards deterring Soviet advances and containing the dangers of an expansive Communist force in Europe.

In this sense, one can interpret in that sense the fact that the D-Day and the entire campaign on the Western Front was launched so late (after the Soviet's victory in the East was no longer under question) and that the whole Western allied effort was directed towards covering as much land as possible, so as to limit the Soviet advance in the West. This is certainly a sustainable thesis, as is, however, the idea that the campaign was launched so late because the focus of the Western Allied war effort had been Northern Africa and, subsequently, Italy, as well as the fact that a campaign like the one in Normandy required a minute preparation.

In an objective book review, there are several things worth pointing out. First of all, this is an excellent boo in terms of the information being presented. Glantz makes a point of following his written information with additional graphic information, including maps, charts and tables that are great complements in the context. While military discussions may seem to be less interesting for those who are not experts in this domain, the authors of this book make a point of presenting the objective information in a way that it can be understood by someone who is not a military specialist as well.

All of this information along with the way that it is presented, is targeted towards the same overall goal: making sure that the reader understands both the importance of the Eastern front in the overall development of the war and that he or she understands why the Soviets eventually won the struggle in the East, including because, at the moment of victory, they had more and better resources than the Germans and a good momentum following all their victories of 1943 to 1945.

As a personal opinion, the reader may sometimes see the facts as being presented out of a much larger global and international context, as well as in an international relations framework. The Soviet Union won the struggle in the East also because of its coordination with the Western allies, including in terms of the supplying of equipment and materials that Great Britain and the United States provided. The numerous high-level conferences between the Allied leaders (Teheran, Yalta, Moscow, Casablanca etc.) showed that the coordination at this political level was, in fact, essential for the eventual success both in the East and the West.

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