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Fire for Effect

Robert M. Citino, author of The Path to Blitzkrieg and The German Way of War, takes a closer look at World War II’s most riveting battles, leaders, weapons, and tactics.




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    Diversion

    It’s a familiar figure of speech: “What if they gave a war, and no one came?” I am old enough to recognize this slogan. I was born in 1958, the youngest of five, with my older siblings in college. I grew up during the...

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    Why Anvil Gets No Respect

    Last time out, I wrote about a forgotten campaign: the Allied landing in the south of France in August 1944. The planners first called it Operation Anvil, then renamed it Dragoon just days before it took place. By any accounting, it should...

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    No Respect

    Life isn’t fair, and neither is history. Indeed, some historical events—no matter how vast or significant—seem destined to be forgotten. And World War II is full of them. Let’s say you are launching a complex amphibious...

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    Typo

    I am all thumbs. Put me at a computer keyboard, and I am trouble. I am the lord of the typo. Put my on an iPhone and things get exponentially worse. Put me on an iPhone with that quaint function known as autocorrect, and I am capable of...

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    Oh What a Lucky Man, III

    The theme of this column lately has been the way that Americans are keeping alive the memory of World War II. The results are in, and the verdict is “wow!” The recent exhibit at the Museum of Fine Arts of Houston entitled...

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    Oh What a Lucky Man, II

    Last week I told you about the incredible photo exhibit at the Museum of Fine Arts of Houston. “War/Photography:  Images of Armed Conflict and its Aftermath” was a jaw-dropper, featuring images that went well beyond the...

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    Oh What a Lucky Man I Am

    I’ve said it many times: I’m a lucky guy. Beautiful wife. Wonderful family. I get to live in Texas. (No offense to the other states. I’ve lived in a few and they’re not bad at all.) Another way I’m lucky is...

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    Hollywood’s War: Beginnings and Endings

    I have been writing this column for years, and if your attention hasn’t drifted, you probably know that I am not that fond of war movies. I say it every year at this time. Don’t like them, don’t watch them, don’t...

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    Unique: the Pacific War, Part 2

    Last week I made a startling claim about the uniqueness of the Pacific War. Well, startling for me, anyway. I’ve come up in a school that distrusts the very word “unique.” Most historians eschew the concept. Indeed, the...

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    Unique: the Pacific War

    No historian is supposed to use the word “unique.” After all, everyone knows that nothing is completely unique. Human beings have been living on planet earth for a long time, and every historical event hearkens back to...

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    Maggie

    Last weekend, I met a hero. Oh, I know, “hero” is a cliché of military history. I’ve always been skeptical of the term. How do you judge a hero? What is the qualification? Do you have to blow up a tank with your bare...

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    Niwi: Nine Men

    Last week, I wrote a teaser about the 1940 campaign. For most military historians, the German victory in France remains a kind of gold standard: a rapid, decisive, and relatively bloodless victory that smashed the French army and drove the...

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    Niwi: The Fog of War

    Military historians love to emphasize the planning process. They like to talk about “perfect plans,” showing how the genius of the great commander can manifest itself even before the shooting starts. A good plan, we argue, can...

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    Ugly: A Last Note on the Ethiopian Campaign

    Over the last few weeks, I’ve been writing about the Italian campaign in Ethiopia (1935–36), one of the many wars between the two world wars. We often speak of the “interwar” period, but in fact it was chock full of...

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    Sitting in Judgment: the Ethiopia Campaign

    Last week I wrote about the Italian campaign in Ethiopia (or Abyssinia, as many in the world still called it) in 1935–36. It barely registers in the western historical consciousness today. After all, there are two things that military...

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    One Tough Campaign

    Last week I had some fun here, talking about a mighty warlord of the 1930s deciding to launch a war against a smaller and weaker adversary, and in the process precipitating World War II. Trying to be clever, I saved what television...