A fascinating and enlightening new study of the structure, effectiveness and conduct of the German high command prior to and during World War II, analysing its strengths and weaknesses, trials and tribulations.
David Stone is a former infantry officer whose military service over 35 years included a diverse range of command, staff and active postings all over the world. Much of his service was in Germany, affording him a unique opportunity to research and write on the German experience of war.
Twilight of the Gods represents an important contribution to the
study of the Second World War. Stone provides the best overall
account of the German General Staff since Walter Goerlitz s classic
study of the early 1950s. It is therefore both timely and
recommended. * RUSI Journal *
This is a masterly account of the turbulent relationship between, on the one hand, a superbly-trained General Staff inbued with Prussian tenets of effectiveness and honour, and, on the other, a cold-blooded entirely pragmatic political regime led by Hitler and Himmler, careless of honour and fatally ambitious...Strongly recommended * Pennant Magazine *
This is both a clever book and a compelling one. It is clever in the way that David Stone winds many different perspectives on the German General Staff around the central theme of its eventual and inevitable demise in the last disastrous days of the Third Reich. It is compelling in that the narrative and the analysis are blended together in a way that demands that the book is not easily put down until the last page has been turned. Even the casual student of military history will be aware of the reputation of the great German General Staff, and therefore the tragedy of its professional disintegration in the face of increasingly manic political control provokes an intense fascination. In tracing both the rise and fall of the German General Staff, David Stone gives credit where it is due and points criticism where appropriate, but achieves both, sometimes through the eyes of individual members and at others as a critique of the whole staff system. It may be simplistic to record that the defining chapter of this historic account flows from the events of the failed assassination attempt on Adolf Hitler on 20th July 1944. The attention to detail and clarity of thinking that defined the German General Staff collapsed in tatters, in confusion and indecisiveness during the hours that followed the failed bombing. David Stone describes not only how reputations were shattered but also how retribution was swift the great General Staff had finally lost its influence and the tragic fate of Germany was sealed. Never has a politician so misunderstood the military excellence that he had at his disposal. Had Adolf Hitler achieved a different relationship with his military professionals then the course of world history might have been very different. David Stone leaves that agonizing perhaps, awful thought as a possibility on which the reader is left to ponder. -- Richard Dannat, General the Lord Dannatt GCB CBE MC DL