Why the Axis Lost

An Analysis of Strategic Errors

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About the Book

The factors leading to the defeat of the Axis Powers in World War II have been debated for decades. One prevalent view is that overwhelming Allied superiority in materials and manpower doomed the Axis. Another holds that key strategic and tactical blunders lost the war—from Hitler halting his panzers outside Dunkirk, allowing more than 300,000 trapped Allied soldiers to escape, to Admiral Yamamoto falling into the trap set by the U.S. Navy at Midway.
Providing a fresh perspective on the war, this study challenges both views and offers an alternative explanation: the Germans, Japanese and Italians made poor design choices in ships, planes, tanks and information security—before and during the war—that forced them to fight with weapons and systems that were too soon outmatched by the Allies. The unprecedented arms race of World War II posed a fundamental “design challenge” the Axis powers sometimes met but never mastered.

About the Author(s)

John Arquilla is a distinguished professor of defense analysis at the United States Naval Postgraduate School, located in Monterey, California. He is the author of several books and many articles on a range of topics in military affairs, and has served as adviser to senior leaders in conflicts ranging from Desert Storm to the Kosovo War, as well as in several post-9/11 actions.

Bibliographic Details

John Arquilla
Foreword by Victor Davis Hanson

Format: softcover (7 x 10)
Pages: 223
Bibliographic Info: 19 photos, notes, bibliography, index
Copyright Date: 2020
pISBN: 978-1-4766-7452-0
eISBN: 978-1-4766-3952-9
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments viii
Foreword by Victor Davis Hanson 1
Preface 5
1. Paths to Victory (or Defeat) 11
2. From Versailles to the Vistula 25
3. Rising Tide, Early Reverses 43
4. At the Flood 61
5. Turning Points 81
6. The Brink of Catastrophe 101
7. Last Chances 118
8. Cataclysm 138
9. Why the Axis Lost 157
10. How World War II Still Guides Strategic Design 176
Chapter Notes 191
Works Cited 205
Index 213