Losing the War
December 28, 2004 1:40 PM Subscribe
Losing the War, an insightful memoir by writer and journalist Lee Sandlin. Note: It's not about Iraq. Or is it? "A year later, in the second winter of the invasion, as the army inched forward on a final, desperate push into Stalingrad, a daring joke began making the rounds in Germany, a mock dispatch from Stalingrad HQ: 'Today our troops captured a two-room apartment with kitchen, toilet, and bathroom. They have succeeded in retaining two-thirds of it despite fierce counterattacks by the enemy.' Few of the tellers realized just how accurate this description was. John Keegan, in his book The Second World War, quotes a German officer's description of the fighting in the city: 'We have fought for fifteen days for a single house with mortars, grenades, machine-guns and bayonets. Already by the third day fifty-four German corpses are strewn in the cellars, on the landings, and the staircases. The front is a corridor between burnt-out rooms; it is the thin ceiling between two floors.' This was where Hitler's vision of the world finally foundered. After striding like a colossus over a continent, the German army was in the end unable to force its way up a flight of stairs."
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