This week we’re continuing our focus on the Second World War, as our guest author, Jorg Muth, chats about his recent book Command Culture: Officer Education in the U.S. Army and the German Armed Forces, 1901-1940, and the Consequences for World War II (University of North Texas Press, 2011). Muth’s book, which has recently been selected for the U.S. Army Chief of Staff’s Professional Reading List, is a provocative analytical comparison of the respective cultures of officership in the US Army and the German armed forces in the first half of the twentieth century. In setting up his comparison, Muth pulls few punches in his critique of the flaws resident in both institutions. Yet while the American army managed to overcome these flaws, Muth notes that the Wehrmacht ultimately fell victim to its own hubris and ossified culture inherent in its origins. He continues to offer valuable insights as to how these institutional problems and successes continue to shape the culture of officership in the US Army today. I especially recommend reading Muth’s book in tandem with one of our earlier choices, Michael Matheny’s Carrying the War to the Enemy: American Operational Art to 1945; taken together, the two books present an interesting debate on the subject of American military culture in the Second World War.
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