- ISBN/SKU: 9781591141334
- Binding: Hardcover
- Era: WWII
- Number of Pages: 320
- Subject: History
- Date Available: October 2008
In late November 1944, just a day before Lt. Gen. Jacob Devers' Sixth Army Group was to launch a bold attack across the Rhine into Germany, Gen. Dwight Eisenhower ordered a halt to the operation. Such an unexpected opportunity to cross the river, seal off the German 19th Army, and maneuver behind the German 1st Army fighting General George Patton might have ended the war six months early. Until now, few have ever heard about this lost opportunity, and historians have never fully explained why Eisenhower stopped Devers, nor have they analyzed the possible outcome of such an attack. This book does just that, exploring what might have occurred had Ike allowed Devers to cross the river.
Colley judiciously cites the opinions of many high-ranking generals, including Patton, that the attack would have been a bold and likely successful maneuver that could have saved thousands of lives. In rolling out this alternative historical perspective, the author offers insights about Eisenhower that illuminate the potential consequences of his cautious leadership and his rejection of a man he disliked and whose strategy he lacked confidence in. Colley points to Ike's reliance on old friends, sometimes regardless of ability, and argues that the conduct of World War II in Europe was often determined by personal amities and animosities. It is the only book to be written about the aborted action and how politics and personalities intervened to deny an opportunity to shorten the war. Its premise is certain to engage all interested in World War II and its lessons.
Published in cooperation with the Association of the United States Army.
David P. Colley is an award-winning journalist and author who has written for many national publications, including Army, World War II, American Heritage, and The New York Times. Among his books on military history are The Road to Victory, which received the Army Historical Foundation's Distinguished Book Award in 2000, Blood for Dignity, and Safely Rest. He has appeared on the History Channel and Eye on Books. Colley served in the ordnance branch of the U.S. Army. He lives in Easton, PA.
View the author's website at: http://www.davidpcolley.com/ .
"The Rhine wasn't crossed until March 1945. Had Eisenhower let Devers make his attack, we might now be celebrating the 65th anniversary of a cross-Rhine attack that quickly ended the war in Europe. Instead, we will soon mark the anniversary of the costliest battle in American history, the Battle of the Bulge." -David Colley's New York Times Op Ed Article on 11/22/09
Praise for Decision at Strasbourg
"In Decision at Strasbourg, military historian David P. Colley shows Supreme Commander Gen. Dwight Eisenhower at his worst, blindly rejecting a brilliant plan to stick with the "broad front." At the same time, Colley rescues from obscurity Gen. Jacob Devers, commander of the Sixth Army Group, an unsung hero of the European Theater who just might have delivered the Nazis the decisive blow. This is a fresh look at why the Allies paused and gave the Germans a breather late in 1944 when German defenses on the western front were in disarray." —Armchair General
"A provocative, fresh interpretation of Eisenhower's controversial decision to halt Lieutenant General Jacob Devers's VI Army Group short of the Rhine River. Decision at Strasbourg is sure to lead to a reevaluation of the battle within the Allied High Command and how the war on the Western Front might have ended in 1944. This is contingency history at its best." —Col. Cole C. Kingseed, USA (Ret.), coauthor of New York Times best seller Beyond Band of Brothers: The War Memoirs of Major Dick Winters