Lecture: This Is Berkeley
June 4, 2008: Ten Years Ago on Grasping Reality

Tactics and operations, yes. But also logistics and strategy...

Tactics and operations, yes. But also logistics and strategy. Bobby Lee lost in Pennsylvania, Maryland, and Virginia. Erwin Rommel lost in North Africa and Normany: Adam Tooze (2016): Blitzkrieg manqué or a new kind of war? Interpreting the Allied Victory in the Normandy campaign1 Adam Tooze: "Given the scale of the violence that they were dealing out in the final stages of the war, it is not surprising that at least some people spoke out in protest...

...Opposition to the destruction being wrought ranged from outraged ethical criticism in the House of Lords to the shock of a corporal in the 4th Dorsets who later recalled the incongruity of bursting into a French home during house to house fighting: ‘There we were, wrecking this house, and I suddenly thought–“How would I feel if this was mine?” In 1940 the British Expeditionary Force in France had been under strict instructions to avoid all damage to French property, including a prohibition on knocking loopholes in brick walls so as to create firing positions. Now the Allied forces were reducing entire cities to rubble. But horrific as the bombardments clearly were, research on the British side does not suggest that revulsion was the general response. The war had to be won and if firepower kept Allied soldiers out of harms way, so be it. Few allied soldiers apologize for the material preponderance they commanded. Many of them clearly relished the spectacle. For the commanders the war might be an end in itself, an opportunity to write their names into the annals of military history. For the vast majority of their troops it was a job to be accomplished. The Germans were to be defeated with whatever means and manpower was available to crush them. In so doing, the Allies may not have matched the military skill of the Wehrmacht. But it was not merely brute force. The Allied war effort had its own logic – political, strategic, operational, tactical and technical. Rescuing this logic from the damning but tightly circumscribed judgments of the “military effectiveness” literature, has been the purpose of two decades of revisionist scholarship...