Military history


Though for this book, as for all others that I have written, I have done my own research and planning, I owe a great deal to a number of persons and institutions for their generous help during the five years that this work was in the making.

The late Jack Goodman, of Simon and Schuster, and Joseph Barnes, my editor at this publishing house, got me started and Barnes, an old friend from our days as correspondents in Europe, stuck it out over many ups and downs, offering helpful criticism at every turn. Dr. Fritz T. Epstein, of the Library of Congress, a fine scholar and an authority on the captured German documents, guided me through the mountains of German papers. A good many others also came to my aid in this. Among them were Telford Taylor, chief counsel for the prosecution at the Nuremberg war crimes trials, who already has published two volumes of a military history of the Third Reich. He loaned me documents and books from his private collection and proferred much good advice.

Professor Oron J. Hale, of the University of Virginia, chairman of the American Committee for the Study of War Documents, American Historical Association, led me to much useful material, including the results of some of his own research, and one hot summer day in 1956 did me a signal service by yanking me out of the manuscript room of the Library of Congress and sternly advising me to get back to the writing of this book lest I spend the rest of my life peering into the German papers, which one easily could do. Dr. G. Bernard Noble, chief of the Historical Division of the State Department, and Paul R. Sweet, a Foreign Service officer in the Department, who was one of the American editors of the Documents on German Foreign Policy, also helped me through the maze of Nazi papers. At the Hoover Library at Stanford University, Mrs. Hildegard R. Boeninger, by mail, and Mrs. Agnes F. Peterson, in person, were generous of their aid. At the Department of the Army, Colonel W. Hoover, acting Chief of Military History, and Detmar Finke, of his staff, put me on the track of German military records, of which this office has a unique collection.

Hamilton Fish Armstrong, editor of Foreign Affairs, took a personal interest in seeing me through this book, as did Walter H. Mallory, then executive director of the Council on Foreign Relations. To the Council, to Frank Altschul and to the Overbrook Foundation I am grateful for a generous grant which enabled me to devote all of my time to this book during its final year of preparation. I must also thank the staff of the Council’s excellent library, on whose members I made many wearisome demands. The staff of the New York Society Library also experienced this and, despite it, proved most patient and understanding.

Lewis Galantière and Herbert Kriedman were good enough to read most of the manuscript and to offer much valuable criticism. Colonel Truman Smith, who was a U.S. military attaché in Berlin when Adolf Hitler first began his political career in the early Twenties and later after he came to power, put at my disposal some of his notebooks and reports, which shed light on the beginnings of National Socialism and on certain aspects of it later. Sam Harris, a member of the U.S. prosecution staff at Nuremberg and now an attorney in New York, made available the TMWCNuremberg volumes and much additional unpublished material. General Franz Halder, Chief of the German Army General Staff during the first three years of the war, was most generous in answering my inquiries and in pointing the way to German sources. I have mentioned elsewhere the value to me of his unpublished diary, a copy of which I kept at my side during the writing of a large part of this book. George Kennan, who was serving in the U.S. Embassy in Berlin at the beginning of the war, has refreshed my memory on certain points of historical interest. Several old friends and colleagues from my days in Europe, John Gunther, M. W. Fodor, Kay Boyle, Sigrid Schultz, Dorothy Thompson, Whit Burnett and Newell Rogers, discussed various aspects of this work with me—to my profit. And Paul R. Reynolds, my literary agent, provided encouragement when it was most needed.

Finally I owe a great debt to my wife, whose knowledge of foreign languages, background in Europe and experience in Germany and Austria were of great help in my research, writing and checking. Our two daughters, Inga and Linda, on vacation from college, aided in a dozen necessary chores.

To all these and to others who have helped in one way or another, I express my gratitude. The responsibility for the book’s shortcomings and errors is, of course, exclusively my own.

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