Since the early stages of World War II, militaries in general, and the U.S. Army in particular, have studied the German way of war, specifically as practiced in the 20th century. While acknowledging that Germany—and before that nation came into existence, Prussia—produced some excellent armies, major problems with the German way of war must not be ignored.
Even the casual observers should have noted that, despite the military prowess of Germany, it lost both of the major wars of the 20th century. This Letort Paper, authored by Dr. Samuel J. Newland, explores the reasons why a nation with such a strong military reputation was unable to win its wars and achieve its goals. He emphasizes that military power, tactical and operational brilliance, and victories in the field can easily be squandered if a nation has failed to set achievable goals and develop strategies to reach them. This failure, which led to Germany’s defeat in these wars, should not be lost on modern nations as they proceed into the 21st century.—Douglas C. Lovelace, Jr., Director, Strategic Studies Institute