A riveting account of the origins and development of the German army that breaks through the distortions of conventional military historyAcclaimed for his revisionist history of the German Army in World War I, John Mosier continues his pioneering work in Cross of Iron, offering an intimate portrait of the twentieth-century German army from its inception, through World War I and the interwar years, to World War II and its climax in 1945.World War I has inspired a vast mythology of bravery and carnage, told largely by the victors, that has fascinated readers for decades. Many have come to believe that the fast ascendancy of the Allied army, matched by the failure of a German army shackled by its rigidity, led to the war's outcome. Mosier demystifies the strategic and tactical realities to explain that it was Germany's military culture that provided it with the advantage in the first war. Likewise, Cross of Iron offers stunning revelations regarding the weapons of World War II, forcing a reevaluation of the reasons behind the French withdrawal, the Russian contribution, and Hitler as military thinker. Mosier lays to rest the notion that the army, as opposed to the SS, fought a clean and traditional war. Finally, he demonstrates how the German war machine succeeded against more powerful Allied armies until, in both wars, it was crushed by U.S. intervention.The result of thirty years of primary research, Cross of Iron is a powerful and authoritative reinterpretation of Germany at war.