When der Tag came, of course, Germany cashed in on its minute, detailed preparedness, on its advance rehearsals of every movement. The Maginot Line was intended to make a possible war one of position; the German army and air force were able to compel a war of movement. The German plan envisaged two major stages: first, to annihilate, or enforce the capitulation of the Dutch and Belgian armies, at the same time to chase the British expeditionary force off the Continent, and, if possible, to encompass a large part of the French army in this first operation; second, to keep incessantly on the heels of the French army now fighting its battles alone, until it broke down from exhaustion and inability to rally for an organised final stand.

The first great surprise came to the French when the German army broke through the extension of the Maginot Line between Longwy and Sedan on May 15, and before the enemy could as much as catch his breath, ploughed straight through to the coast. The German intelligence service had worked well. The sector between Sedan and Longwy was not only the "Achilles Heel" in the fortifications sytem of the Western Powers. It was also defended by the weakest of the French armies, the Ninth.

The Germans, of course, advanced with a breath-taking rapidity which left no opportunity for the French to rally anywhere for an organised final stand. I never expected to witness such evidences of headlong flight as I saw during three visits to France before and during the capitulation.

There can be no doubt to-day that the prime cause of the French defeat was over-confidence in the Maginot Line. But there were other causes as well: superior German strategy, more careful and detailed Teuton preparation; the greater aggressiveness of the German soldier; and a higher quality and greater modernity of the Reich's weapons. Aside from all that, there was Fifth Column activity on an unbelievable scale.

Perhaps the Westwall has served its purpose; perhaps it will once more serve as Germany's defence against the United Nations. But with our knowledge of the Westwall, plus our superior offensive weapons, we are ready for it.


XV: Bottlenecks

IN attempting to acquaint the reader with the efficiency and strength of the German war machine, particularly with its farreaching attention to detail and careful planning, which leaves

-138-

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What about Germany?
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page 3
  • Foreword 6
  • Contents 8
  • Illustrations 10
  • I: the Modern Genghis Khan 11
  • Ii: Why Hitler? 19
  • Iii. Preparing the Ground 26
  • Iv: Why Wasn't Hitler Stopped? 36
  • V: "Terror is a Wholesome Thing" 44
  • Vi: the Nazis in Control 52
  • Vii: Fat Years Follow the Lean 60
  • Viii: the Birds of Prey 69
  • Ix: Heil Hitler! 77
  • X: Der Führer in Person 84
  • Xi: Observing the War Machine in Action 96
  • Xii: Lessons Learned from the Enemy 112
  • Xiii: More Lessons from the Enemy 120
  • Xiv: the Westwall 132
  • Xv: Bottlenecks 138
  • Xvi: Hitler's Headaches 149
  • Xvii: is There Another Germany? 161
  • Xviii: the Relapse into Barbarism 177
  • Xix: the Secret Press Instructions 191
  • Xx: the Battle of Words 197
  • Xxi: Shaping a People's Mind 208
  • Xxii: the War of Nerves 218
  • Xxiii: the Foreign Press Gets into Trouble 226
  • Xxiv: Sugared Bread and the Whip 234
  • Xxv: Fishing in Troubled Waters 244
  • Xxvi: A Better Place to Live In 253
  • Xxvii: An Abrupt End to a Long Stay 262
  • Xxviii: What Can Topple Hitler? 272
  • Index 281
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