Actions speak louder than words. In the days to come, the Goddess of Victory will bestow her laurels only on those who are prepared to act with daring. (Heinz Guderian) Heinz Wilhelm Guderian was one of the most respected commanders and theoreticians of World War II. An innovative tank commander, he was a pioneer of German Blitzkrieg tactics and therefore a hugely influential figure in the way the war was fought. Guderian´s profile was not always what might have been expected for a man of his abilities and influence, due to the shape of his career. As a German commander during the war, Guderian fought for one of the most appalling regimes in history, so while his skills are respected, it is hard to celebrate a man who led the troops of the Reich, especially to such success. Erwin Rommel, the legendary Desert Fox, managed to somewhat sidestep this stigma through his glamour and remarkable achievements spanning the length of the war, but Guderian was out of power for over a year, and when he returned, it was not to a position of battlefield command, giving him fewer opportunities than Rommel to build his reputation in the eyes of the Western media. The reasons for Guderian´s time out of command are tied to the reason for his lower profile - he was a traditional German career officer rather than an ideologically driven Nazi, willing to challenge Adolf Hitler´s opinions on military matters. This, together with his outspoken attitude, led to his loss of favor and dismissal from command. At the same time, being a career military man rather than a Nazi officer also meant Guderian was not as directly involved in the atrocities of the war, and he did not gain the infamy of his SS contemporaries. 1. Language: English. Narrator: Colin Fluxman. Audio sample: http://samples.audible.de/bk/acx0/094459/bk_acx0_094459_sample.mp3. Digital audiobook in aax.
The French Army crumbled swiftly under the powerful blows delivered to it in 1940 by Adolf Hitler´s self-confident Wehrmacht. Launching a massive feint into Belgium to lure mobile French armies and the British Expeditionary Force (BEF) away from the actual point of attack, the weakly protected Ardennes Forest, the Germans struck past the Maginot Line. In a lightning campaign, Guderian´s panzers punched through to the coast, dividing Allied forces with a steel cordon across France and forcing the evacuation of the BEF from the port of Dunkirk. Not all French people proved willing to surrender to the Nazi invaders, however. While large numbers collaborated – working for German or Vichy companies to provide for themselves or their families – and some wholeheartedly backed the new regime out of opportunism, fascist conviction, or other motivations, a courageous minority operated in secret to resist their conquerors and the quisling state at Vichy: ´´De Gaulle described them as being bound together by a taste for risk and adventure [...] national pride sharpened by the suffering of their nation and ´an overwhelming confidence in the strength and cunning of their own plot´. [...] ´With him, it is [...] serving the Resistance and national honour, uncompromisingly demanding,´ wrote one. ´With him, we would have to get used to breathing the rarefied air of the summits.´´´ (Fenby, 2012, 109). The French Resistance never grew into a single unified organization. Rather, it remained divided in several major and numerous minor factions, each with their own philosophy and agenda. While these factions all shared the same goal – opposition to the Germans their Vichy pawns – they viewed each other with some suspicion and sometimes cooperated only grudgingly. During the war years, however, the Resistance kept the spirit of an independent and defiant France smoldering under the surface of Nazi domination, waiting for the opportunity to emerge again, 1. Language: English. Narrator: Kevin Kollins. Audio sample: http://samples.audible.de/bk/acx0/074168/bk_acx0_074168_sample.mp3. Digital audiobook in aax.
Blitzkrieg, or ´´lightning war´´, describes the Third Reich´s invasion strategy during its 1940 conquest of France not only due to the speed of the Wehrmacht advance but also its devastating effect on its ill-prepared adversaries. Mired in the paralyzing muck of plodding staff college military doctrine and demoralized as a nation by their appalling losses during World War I, the French succumbed in a few weeks to German skill and vigor. Moreover, after being lured into Belgium by a large-scale German feint, the British Expeditionary Force and over a million French soldiers found themselves cut off by the main Wehrmacht thrust. Heinz Guderian and Irwin Rommel, among others, led their panzers on an 11-day dash from the Ardennes Forest to the coast, trapping vast numbers of Allied soldiers in Belgium and northeastern France. The surrender of more than 1,200,000 isolated troops followed, yet in the midst of this disaster, the Allies contrived one coup that took even the victorious Wehrmacht aback: the evacuation of over 300,000 soldiers from the port of Dunkirk. 1. Language: English. Narrator: Scott Clem. Audio sample: http://samples.audible.de/bk/acx0/076973/bk_acx0_076973_sample.mp3. Digital audiobook in aax.
In the warm predawn darkness of June 22, 1941, three million men waited along a front hundreds of miles long, stretching from the Baltic coast of Poland to the Balkans. Ahead of them in the darkness lay the Soviet Union, its border guarded by millions of Red Army troops echeloned deep throughout the huge spaces of Russia. This massive gathering of Wehrmacht soldiers from Adolf Hitler´s Third Reich and his allied states - notably Hungary and Romania - stood poised to carry out Operation Barbarossa, Hitler´s surprise attack against the country of his putative ally, Soviet dictator Josef Stalin. At precisely 1:00 am that morning, the radios of command and headquarter units all along the line crackled to life. Officers and generals heard a single code word: ´´Dortmund´´ for Army Group North, and ´´Wotan,´´ the name of the one-eyed pre-Christian god of knowledge, war, and runes, for Army Group South. In answer to shouted orders and tactical-level radio transmissions, men threw aside camouflage nets, truck, halftrack, and panzer engines started with a throbbing rumble, and artillerists prepared their weaponry for the terrific barrage generally preceding a Wehrmacht assault. Soldiers swarmed onto trains, and the propellers of thousands of German aircraft, including the still-formidable Stuka dive-bombers, roared amid the nighttime stillness on dozens of airfields throughout Eastern Europe. The Soviets were so caught by surprise at the start of the attack that the Germans were able to push several hundred miles into Russia across a front that stretched dozens of miles long, reaching the major cities of Leningrad and Sevastopol in just three months. The first major Russian city in their path was Minsk, which fell in only six days. In order to make clear his determination to win at all costs, Stalin had the three men in charge of the troops defending Minsk executed for their failure to hold their position. This move, along with unspeakable atrocities by th 1. Language: English. Narrator: Kenneth Ray. Audio sample: http://samples.audible.de/bk/acx0/076195/bk_acx0_076195_sample.mp3. Digital audiobook in aax.
This is audiobook #4 in the Casca Series. It was easy for Casca to go along with some of the basic premise behind the Nazi war machine. These men were soldiers, hard fighting men born of the same militaristic outlook that had sustained him since that fateful day at Calvary. Inevitably, the high sounding ideals of the Third Reich revealed hidden horrors. In the background is always The Brotherhood. Discovering this hidden organization, and as the war begins going badly for the Nazis, Casca loses faith in the Fuhrer and other leaders. Finally, Casca has no choice but to visit the bunker in Berlin, a visit perhaps more important to the world than any other act he has ever committed. 1. Language: English. Narrator: Gene Engene. Audio sample: http://samples.audible.de/bk/bimo/000391/bk_bimo_000391_sample.mp3. Digital audiobook in aax.
April, 1945. Während die Alliierten ihren letzten und entscheidenden Vorstoß in den Kriegsschauplatz von Europa wagen, kommandiert ein kampferprobter Army Sergeant namens Wardaddy einen Sherman Panzer und dessen fünfköpfige Besatzung auf einer tödlichen Mission hinter den Feindeslinien. Zahlen- und waffenmäßig weit unterlegen, müssen sich Wardaddy und seine Männer gegen überwältigend große Widerstände behaupten, während sie versuchen, mitten im Herzen von Nazi-Deutschland zuzuschlagen.
Berlin, Frühjahr 1945. Tag und Nacht ist Bombenalarm. Die Nazi-Führung gibt Durchhalteparolen aus, Hitlerjungen werden gegen russische Panzer eingesetzt, und auch das Haus Ackerstraße 37, in dem die Gebhardts wohnen, wird bitter verteidigt. Dann ist der Krieg zu Ende, und die sowjetische Armee besetzt die Stadt. Für die zwölfjährige Änne ist es besser, sich von ihrer Großmutter die Zöpfe abschneiden zu lassen und als Junge herumzulaufen. Doch im Gegensatz zu Dieter und den Kuckuckskindern, die niemanden mehr haben und in einer Ruine hausen, geht es ihr noch gut. Eines Tages steht ein Mann vor der Tür, den Änne noch nie gesehen hat und an den sie sich gewöhnen muss: ihr aus dem KZ befreiter Vater. - Ein bewegender Roman über das Ende des Zweiten Weltkriegs und die Hoffnung auf einen Neuanfang.