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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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    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...

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    Launching the War

    Gambling on victory in the 1930s...

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    United Nations: The Axis Allies

    One of the toughest questions a historian of World War II has to answer is, “How did the Germans stay in the field so long?” Their plan to conquer the Soviet Union in a single quick campaign in 1941 came to grief in front of...

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    Trains.

    The lifeline of the Wehrmacht’s multiple-front war was the European rail network, the same system that supported the killing of Jews during the Holocaust....

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    In Defense of… Italian Coastal Divisions?

    Another look at the Italians at the Allied invasion of Sicily....

  • Fire for Effect, Gear

    Just Right: the B-17/P-51 Combination

    Put these two aircraft together and what do you get? You get victory....

  • Fire for Effect, Gear

    Going Heavy: the sIG 33

    I’m a lucky guy. I have a thousand friends. Many are scholars, and they are interesting, educated, and globe-trotting. A lot of them take advantage of the summer to do their research, and they all make sure to post their photos to me on...

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    Going Light: World War II on Facebook

    Military history never sleeps...