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Erich von Manstein

(1887–1973)

FIELD MARSHAL Erich von Manstein is included here because he has been rated as the greatest German commander of World War II by his fellow German generals, his opponents, and military historians.1 He planned the blitzkrieg against France in 1940. Then he fought in Russia for most of the war, under conditions more terrible than in any other theater. Manstein did not have the magnetism of Rommel, but he led from the front, never spared himself, and took care of his men, who respected his judgment. Throughout, whatever Hitler ordered, he refused to allow his troops to execute civilians. In 1943 and 1944,he saved the lives of uncounted German troops by blatant disobedience to Hitler’s orders to “stand or die” in ...

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