Though this student looked in Who’s Who and Contemporary Authors,no information on Chester Wilmot could be found. One consideredsearching the Directory of American Scholars, but that would notbe helpful since he is from Australia. In The Struggle for Europe, Wilmot seeks to explain severalpoints.
First, he explores and explains how the western alliessucceeded militarily but failed politically during World War II. He then elaborates on how and why the western allies crushed theNazi regime; yet, they allowed the Soviet Union to overtakeEastern Europe and block the Atlantic Charter from taking effectin those nations. Third, the author discusses Hitler’s defeatand Stalin’s victory. Fourthly, he endeavors on a mission toexplain how the Soviet Union replaced Germany as the dominantEuropean power. Beginning with the Battle of Britain, the book takes the readerthrough the war up to the surrender of Germany.Order now
In this processWilmot touches on Hitler’s alliance with Mussolini, Hitler’sconquest of France, the Lowlands, and the Balkans, and the Nazidictator’s collapse in the expansion of the Soviet Union. Theauthor strategically builds the Allied alliance, through thebook’s course, and he uses the Normandy invasion to illustrateits full effectiveness. Also included are discussions on theconcessions granted to Stalin by the Allies in general, andFranklin D. Roosevelt in particular. President Rooseveltbelieved that Stalin wanted security for his country with noterritorial acquisitions in mind. In order to give the Sovietleader his second front in Europe, FDR also put the Japaneseproblem in the Pacific aside.
By providing the reader with first-hand quotes and writings fromthe Nazi war machine’s hierarchy, Wilmot looks at the externaland internal workings of the German Wehrmacht in meticulousdetail. The U-boat campaign, the inadequacies of the Luftwaffe,and the shortcomings of the Panzer divisions are discussed. Thewar, from April 1940 to May 1945, is expertly covered. Hedetails various meetings of Allied and Axis partners, variousbattles, and various strategies. In this study, the author usedvery readable and easily accessible language. Events aredescribed in good detail and his ideas are well related.
Theemphasis of The Struggle for Europe seems to be on two majortopics that are stated in the preface. The first topic dealsexclusively with the defeat of Germany. The second topic dealswith the alliance between the United States and Great Britain. By covering the defeat of the German armed forces on the western,eastern, and Mediterranean fronts, he gives reasons for theirevery failure. Throughout the book, statistics are givenrepresenting German war production in terms of tanks, planes,guns, vehicles, soldiers, and ships.
The second topic is probed in almost as much detail as thefirst. Wilmot describes the western alliance from very near thebook’s beginning. He details Churchill and Roosevelt’s closefriendship and partnership during the war. He skillfully dealswith the United States being the number two man in the alliance’sbeginning and how the U.
S. slowly emerges as the premier partnertoward the end of the hostilities. The reason these two topicscome to the forefront is due to the fact that the struggle in thewest engrossed the defeat of Germany by the western alliancealong with the Soviet Union. The Struggle for Europe is verywell organized. The book’s organization develops alongchronological lines beginning with the Battle of Britain.
Theauthor proceeds through the work hitting on all the key quotes,speeches, conferences, battles, and decisions that occurredduring the war. Each chapter is organized along the same line asthe course of events happened during the war. Backgroundinformation is insightfully given before and during most eventsdescribed, so that even one with very little WWII knowledge canunderstand the event being discussed. The extra background alsohelps expand the knowledge of the most avid WWII followers.
The Struggle for Europe deals fairly with both the Allied andAxis situations and decisions. Wilmot gives equal discussiontime to both sides in regards to strategy, view point, andmilitary standing. The book’s overall organization exemplifiesitself in terms of its thoroughness and readability. Hetouches on almost every aspect of the European theater in 717pages using many sources gathered from various locations. Thesources used include diaries, primary and secondary books,speeches, German and Russian archive material, U. S.
Governmentrecords, and interviews. His sources were far more thanadequate. The author definitely proves all of his points to somedegree with some ideas being more justified than others. Heproves that the western allies did win the war militarily whilelosing Eastern Europe to the Soviets, politically.
Wilmot alsoshows how the Soviets skillfully maneuvered into the top positionon the European continent after the fall of the Nazis. Withtremendous skill, he also describes the demise of the Germanarmed forces from its height of power in 1941 to its destructionin April 1945. His points are satisfactorily proven with onlytwo flaws. In this reviewer’s opinion, the first flaw pertains to the book’slength of discussion. Unless one is deeply interested indetailed facts and events of the European theater, The Strugglefor Europe might be excessive.
In this regard then, the bookfails for someone seeking a brief overview of the Europeantheater. This is so because it contains so very much. However,for those knowledge of WWII in great depth, this book is ideal. For example, this student could really use the book.
The secondflaw pertains to the beginning of the book. The author totallydisregards the Poland campaign and he only briefly mentions thefall of France. With only a few comments about Poland, he jumpsalmost right into the Battle of Britain with just slight commentabout France. The struggle in Poland is essential to anydiscussion of the European theater.
Outside of those two flaws, with the length of the book not beinga problem, The Struggle for Europe magnificently covers the war. Wilmot succeeds in delivering a thorough history of the war inEurope by all accounts. In conclusion, the book provides a veryfine and accurate description of the intricacies of WWII inEurope. For anyone seeking in-depth knowledge on the Europeantheater, this book is almost a must. The book is further usefulbecause not only does it serve a history of WWII, but as ahistory of warfare in general. He gives great insight topolitical alliances and agreements.
For this student, the bookstands as one of the most informative books written on WWII inEurope.