In this issue we cover:
Monty at Alamein – Genius or Charlatan?
To mark the 70th anniversary of the Battle of Alamein, MHM reassesses Correlli Barnett’s controversial military classic The Desert Generals.
Dark Charisma – Laurence Rees on Hitler
Military History Monthly editor Neil Faulkner speaks to Laurence Rees about his long engagement with the history of Nazi Germany and his new book on the magnetism of its leader.
Nission to Kabul – WWI jihad
Jules Stewart recalls the secret diplomatic war to conjure an Islamic jihad against the British Raj during the First World War.
History of the British Army – Magersfontein, 11 December 1899
Despite three decades of reform, the opening campaigns of the Second Anglo-Boer War exposed glaring weaknesses in the British Army. What had gone wrong? MHM investigates.
1648: Royalists and Radicals – Siege and struggle in the Second Civil War
Jeffrey James recalls the grim ruthlessness with which Englishmen made war on Englishmen in the sodden summer of 1648.
Also in this issue: Back to the Drawing Board, Museum Review, War Zone, War Culture, Book Reviews, and much more.
From the editor
- Neil Faulkner, Editor
How are military reputations made? Who makes the critical assessments? Can we distinguish legend and reality?
This month we mark the 70th anniversary of Montgomery’s victory at Alamein by reviving an old controversy. It has remained unresolved since publication of Correlli Barnett’s The Desert Generals in 1960. It centres on the truthfulness and achievements of Montgomery himself.
For much of the first three years of the war, the Western Desert was the only front on which the British Army was fighting major battles. Imperial prestige was at stake here, and the quality of Britain’s armed forces under the spotlight. Political interference was frequent. Generals came and went, and intrigue often prevailed over sound judgement.
Barnett’s argument was that the Desert War produced a clutch of fine generals who prepared the ground for final victory, but that they were superseded and the laurels seized by a lesser man who was more impresario than great commander. We welcome readers’ letters on the debate.
Another article in this issue concerned with command failure is the latest in our British Battles series. We look at the string of British defeats at the hands of the Boers in ‘Black Week’ in 1899, with a special focus on the disastrous Highland Brigade attack at Magersfontein.
Acclaimed TV history-documentary maker Laurence Rees has given us an exclusive interview as he launches a new series and book on ‘the dark charisma’ of Adolf Hitler. We include full review and chilling extract.
Finally, Jules Stewart reports on the secret German diplomatic mission to Afghanistan to stir up an Islamic jihad against the British Raj in 1915, and Jeffrey James recalls the bitter fighting during England’s Second Civil War of 1648.