How Hitler Could Have Won World War II

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Most of us rally around the glory of the Allies' victory over the Nazis in World War II. The story is often told of how the good fight was won by an astonishing array of manpower and stunning tactics. However, what is often overlooked is how the intersection between Adolf Hitler's influential personality and his military strategy was critical in causing Germany to lose the war.

With an acute eye for detail and his use of clear prose, acclaimed military historian Bevin Alexander goes beyond counterfactual "What if?" history and explores for the first time just how close the Allies were to losing the war. Using beautifully detailed, newly designed maps, How Hitler Could Have Won World War II exquisitely illustrates the important battles and how certain key movements and mistakes by Germany were crucial in determining the war's outcome. Alexander's harrowing study shows how only minor tactical changes in Hitler's military approach could have changed the world we live in today.

How Hitler Could Have Won World War II untangles some of the war's most confounding strategic questions, such as:


For seven years Adolf Hitler gained many victories by striking at weakness and avoiding strength. In 1940, however, he abandoned this policy and commenced his own destruction.

Chapter 1: Germany’s Opportunity for Victory

After his victory in the 1940 campaign in the West, Hitler had an opportunity for victory, but turned away from it to plan a frontal assault on the Soviet Union and carry out his schemes to destroy Jews and other peoples he hated.

Chapter 2: The Campaign in the West: 1940

Description of the origin and acceptance of Erich von Manstein’s stunning proposal of a feint into Holland and northern Belgium to veil the decisive panzer thrust through the Ardennes.

Chapter 3: The Defeat of France

Description of the battles in the West. The German breakthrough at Sedan and Guderian’s turn of his panzers directly westward to the English Channel.

Chapter 4: Hitler’s First Great Error

His decision to launch an aerial war against Britain and his inability to secure air supremacy to cover an invasion of the British isles.

Chapter 5: The Fatal Turn to the East

Hitler decides to invade Russia before the aerial Battle of Britain is ended. He refuses to consider a major thrust through North Africa to secure Suez and the Middle East. Description of the German seizure of Yugoslavia and Greece.

Chapter 6: Attacking the Wrong Island

Description of the German descent on Crete and Hitler’s refusal to attack Malta, which was by far a more important target.

Chapter 7: Rommel’s Unappreciated Gift

Description of Erwin Rommel’s astonishing early victories in North Africa. How his military genius overcame vastly superior British forces. How Hitler refused to capitalize on Rommel’s victories.

Chapter 8: Barbarossa

Description of the overambitious aims of Hitler in his planned attack on the Soviet Union.

Chapter 9: Falling between Two Stools

How Hitler’s demands for seizure of Leningrad in the north and the industries and farmland of the Ukraine in the south left insufficient power to capture Moscow in the center.

Chapter 10: Failure before Moscow

Description of the final abortive “flight to the front” to seize Moscow before the depth of winter, and how this spelled the end of German military supremacy.

Chapter 11: To and Fro in the Desert

Description of the intense tank battles in Libya and Egypt in 1941 and early 1942. How Rommel gained much with few forces.

Chapter 12: No Change in Strategy

After the Japanese attack Pearl Harbor and the United States enters the war, Hitler refuses to alter his priorities. He remains committed to destruction of the Soviet Union.

Chapter 13: The Drive to Alamein

Description of Rommel’s last desperate effort to seize the Suez Canal, and the British success in stopping him at Alamein, sixty miles from Alexandria, on June 30, 1942.

Chapter 14: Stalingrad

Hitler’s insistence on two contradictory objectives in 1942: Stalingrad on the Volga River and the oilfields of the Caucasus. How this division of strength led to disaster.

Chapter 15: Manstein Saves the Army

Description of Erich von Manstein’s brilliant strategy that kept the Russians from destroying all German armies in the south after the loss of the 6th Army at Stalingrad.

Chapter 16: The Western Allies Strike

Description of the landings of the British and Americans in Morocco and Algeria in November 1942 and the failed race to seize Tunisia before the Germans can respond.

Chapter 17: Kasserine and the End in Africa

Description of Rommel’s plan to drive behind the Allied armies in Tunisia and force them to withdraw in 1943. How envy of another German general and incompetence of the Italian high command led to its failure.

Chapter 18: The Invasion of Sicily

The refusal of the Allied command to strike at the toe of Italy and avoid a direct assault on Sicily in July 1943.

Chapter 19: The Citadel Disaster

Hitler insisted on a frontal assault to eliminate the Kursk salient in Russia in July 1943, leading to a stunning defeat and a massive Soviet offensive that drives the Germans far to the west by the end of 1943.

Chapter 20: The Assault on Italy

Description of the invasion at Salerno and the tip of Italy in September 1943 and the grueling, slow advance up the Italian boot.

Chapter 21: Normandy

Description of the Allied invasion on June 6, 1944, of the failure of the Germans to devise an adequate defensive plan, and of the battles in Normandy

Chapter 22: The Liberation of France

The breakout from Normandy, Patton’s brilliant streak across France, the liberation of Paris, and the failure of the British to secure Holland.

Chapter 23: The Battle of the Bulge

The story of Hitler’s last gamble, to try to split the British in the north from the Americans to the south. Patton’s rush up from the south liberates Bastogne and causes the offensive to collapse.

Chapter 24: The Last Days

The story of Hitler’s final paranoia, his suicide in a Berlin bunker, the rush of Allied forces across Germany, and the final destruction of the Thousand-year Reich.


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