On 2 August 1944, in the wake of the complete destruction of the German Army Group Centre in Belorussia, Winston Churchill mocked Adolf Hitler in the House of Commons by the rank he had reached in the First World War. 'Russian success has been somewhat aided by the strategy of Herr Hitler, of Corporal Hitler,' Churchill jibed. 'Even military idiots find it difficult not to see some faults in his actions.'
Andrew Roberts's previous book Masters and Commanders studied the creation of Allied grand strategy; Beating Corporal Hitler now analyses how Axis strategy evolved. Examining the Second World War on every front, Roberts asks whether, with a different decision-making process and a different strategy, the Axis might even have won. Were those German generals who blamed everything on Hitler after the war correct, or were they merely scapegoating their former Führer once he was safely beyond defending himself?
In researching this uniquely vivid history of the Second World War Roberts has walked many of the key battlefield and wartime sites of Russia, France, Italy, Germany and the Far East. The book is full of illuminating sidelights on the principle actors that bring their characters and the ways in which they reached decisions into fresh focus.