REVIEW: Richard L. DiNardo, Germany and the Axis Powers: From Coalition to Collapse
H-NET BOOK REVIEW
Published by: H-German (July, 2006)
Richard L. DiNardo, Germany and the Axis Powers: From Coalition to Collapse. Lawrence: University Press of Kansas, 2005. 282 pp. Index, bibliography. $34.95 (cloth), ISBN 0-7006-1412-5.
Reviewed by:Michael Anklin, Department of History, Indiana University.
Why the Axis Lost
Richard L. DiNardo's book will be of great interest to military and other historians, as well as the general public. Interest in World War II and especially Nazi Germany's war conduct remains at an all-time high. Some consensus on why the Allies won and the Axis lost has been reached in the wake of an innumerable quantity of studies. It is clear, for example, that the United States simply outproduced the Axis and that the sacrifice of the Red Army contributed significantly to the Allied victory. However, numerous details and questions remain open to debate. DiNardo addresses such an issue: Nazi Germany's method of conducting coalition warfare. DiNardo skillfully dissects the structure of the Axis coalition forces during World War II and presents a detailed analysis of Germany's flawed relationship with its European military allies.
DiNardo agrees with Jürgen Förster that the Axis was "hardly a coalition at all," but comes to what he calls "a slightly more nuanced conclusion" (p. 192). The main reason for the failure of Axis strategy, according to DiNardo, was "that each service conducted coalition warfare a little differently from its sister service" (p. 192). The Luftwaffe, the German army and the navy all operated along different lines. In DiNardo's view, the navy was the most successful and the army failed most miserably in their conduct of coalition warfare (p. 192). Among the problems preventing the successful execution of Axis coalition warfare were unnecessarily complex command structures, the often arrogant attitude (with some exceptions) of Germans toward their allies and the failure of Germany to share military technology appropriately with partners. The outcome was often the fighting of "parallel wars," which severely weakened the overall war effort ...