Eisenhower's Armies The American-British Alliance during World War II

Review :

Want to learn about the American-British alliance militarily during World War Two This is a book worth reading! The work is fascinating and informative. It is well researched and insightful. However I must say the title of the book isn't fully accurate; it isn't really as much about Eisenhower's "armies" as it is about the British and American trying to work with one another at the level of military generals because Eisenhower doesn't become the Supreme Allied Commander until 76 percent into the book. Despite the title the book is really fascinating read still if you are looking for something about the alliance beyond the personality of Eisenhower.
I love how the book begins with a look at British and American relations way back in history even before World War Two. With so much information this book could have the subtitle "The American and British military alliance in history with particular focus of World War Two." The survey goes way back during the time of the French Indian War in which the British worked with Colonial Americans against the French and Native Americans. Here the book's discussion also changed my view of those colonial military warfare: The author made a point that contrary to the myth that the British is rigid and doesn't change we see that the British army fighting in North America did change and adapted to fight the Native Americans. Then the book also gave an extended look at the British and American relations militarily during World War One. Here I learned a lot from the author as well. For instance I didn't know until reading this book that the American Expeditionary Force was more influenced by the French than the British. Yet that doesn't mean the United States was not reliant on the British. Since America fought World War One for only two hundred days the US was reliant on British supplies because American industrial production and shippage wasn't able to be fully brought to bear in Europe before the War was over.
Of course the largest focus of the book was on World War Two (eighty percent of it). The book explore US and British relations even before the United States formally entered into the war with military industrial cooperation. There's a good discussion about the impasse between the British and Americans on concerns for the configuration on the development for the fighting tank for Britain during the early years of the War before America got involved militarily. The book discusses the various distrust between the two countries and more importantly how key political and military leaders tried to forge the incredible alliance that later became the great legacy to define American and British alliance.
Of importance to military history readers is the author's discussion about the differences between British and American military manners from the strategic outlooks, to the generalship, and also the culture of the fighting men. I learned the difference between the British and American philosophy of military command in which the British had a divided command structure versus the American preference for a singular command structure. The British would often see the Americans as inexperience while the Americans saw the British's way with suspicion since clearly their ways must not be working if they are losing or requiring American support. Soon the Americans got their way of more singular command structure because of the growing American contribution to the war in terms of men and supplies. Marshall, the general who oversaw the entire US military was arguing for one person to command the war effort in the European theatre after America entered the war and was success to get what he requested. That command eventually would be given to Eisenhower who wonderfully handled the various personalities who were American and British generals.
A moving moment in the book for me was the account of D-Day. The book mentioned that the 1st and 29th Infantry Division as part of the first wave received 90 percent causality rates, something that is shocking for modern readers to think of today. The book also talked about the difficulty of General Montgomery with the British and his hubris which not only rub the Americans the wrong but also his fellow British. Eisenhower's patience with Montgomery is incredible and a personal life lesson for me as well with leadership. It's incredible that at the height of the war just the amount of men that fought in World War Two in Europe. There was 62 US divisions and 13 British Divisions. Yet with all the enormous size of the conflict there was modesty with Eisenhower in how he ended the war and didn't want attention to be brought to himself. Towards the end of the book the author argue that despite the book's account of the clash of personalities and disagreements between generals and politicians the legacy and focus should be collaboration and not conflict that made the alliance work and also how we must be careful that our human nature gravitate to focus on conflict as the topic of discussion. Wonderful book.


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