>From Patton’s bolder knockout engagements could have

>From the hedgerows of Normandy to the overrunning of Germany, Stephen E. Ambrose tells the real story of World War II from the perspective of the men who fought it.By explaining the story of the “GIs, junior officers and enlisted men” (Ambrose 14) who, in 1944 and 1945, proved Hitler wrong by driving his Wehrmacht back from the beaches of Normandy to the heart of Germany. As the name implies, Citizen Soldiers is not so much a study on tactical moves as it is on the citizen soldier from all parts of the United States. The book concentrates on the American GI Joe and not the Allies as a whole.The epic drama of the European Theater of Operation (ETO) is told by Ambrose by following, almost step by step, various individuals and outfits among the tens of thousands of young Allied soldiers who broke away from the deadly beaches of Normandy and swept across France to Ardennes, fought the Battle of the Bulge, captured the bridge at Remagen, and crossed the Rhine to final victory in Europe.

Ambrose observes that the U.S. broke the Nazi war machine with massive aerial bombing, artillery, and the great mobility of attacking tanks and infantry. But, he argues, it was not technology but the bravery and character of the young GIs that ultimately proved too much for the German forces.While generally approving of Allied military leadership, Ambrose blames Eisenhower and Bradley of being to conservative and believes adopting Patton’s bolder knockout engagements could have reduced the accretion of deaths to U.S. solders at the cost of victory. He imparts by of inadequately trained18-year-olds as replacements on the front lines, where they suffered much higher casualty rates than the foxhole-wise GI veterans.

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The troops fought under the worst possible conditions at Ardennes, during the worst winter in 40 years; Ambrose describes “the long, freezing snowy nights; the wounds, frostbite, and trench foot; and the fatigue and the tensions of fa…

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