Why Germany Nearly Won
A New History of the Second World War in Europe
by Steven D. Mercatante
January 2012, 408pp, 6 1/8 x 9 1/4
1 volume, Praeger

Hardcover: 978-0-313-39592-5
$75, £58, 66€, A103
eBook Available: 978-0-313-39593-2
Please contact your preferred eBook vendor for pricing.

Conventional wisdom explains German defeat during World War II as almost inevitable, primarily for reasons of economic or military brute force created when Germany attacked the Soviet Union in 1941 and entered into a two-front war.

This book offers a unique perspective for understanding how and why the Second World War in Europe ended as it did—and why Germany, in attacking the Soviet Union, came far closer to winning the war than is often perceived.

Why Germany Nearly Won: A New History of the Second World War in Europe challenges this conventional wisdom in highlighting how the re-establishment of the traditional German art of war—updated to accommodate new weapons systems—paved the way for Germany to forge a considerable military edge over its much larger potential rivals by playing to its qualitative strengths as a continental power. Ironically, these methodologies also created and exacerbated internal contradictions that undermined the same war machine and left it vulnerable to enemies with the capacity to adapt and build on potent military traditions of their own.

The book begins by examining topics such as the methods by which the German economy and military prepared for war, the German military establishment’s formidable strengths, and its weaknesses. The book then takes an entirely new perspective on explaining the Second World War in Europe. It demonstrates how Germany, through its invasion of the Soviet Union, came within a whisker of cementing a European-based empire that would have allowed the Third Reich to challenge the Anglo-American alliance for global hegemony—an outcome that by commonly cited measures of military potential Germany never should have had even a remote chance of accomplishing. The book’s last section explores the final year of the war and addresses how Germany was able to hang on against the world’s most powerful nations working in concert to engineer its defeat.


  • Detailed maps show the position and movement of opposing forces during the key battles discussed in the book
  • More than 30 charts, figures, and appendices, including detailed orders of battle, economic figures, and equipment comparisons
Steven D. Mercatante is the founder and editor-in-chief of The Globe at War, a website focused on exploring World War II that has established the author as a respected authority on the subject. He is a corporate tax attorney and is founder and principal of TIR Consulting LLC, a consulting firm specializing in international, federal, state and local tax compliance. Mercatante received his BA from the University of Michigan, a teaching certificate in history and political science from Eastern Michigan University, and a JD from Michigan State University College of Law, graduating with a certificate in international law. His published works include many writings in the legal and historical fields in print and online publications, including the 2008 journal article "The Deregulation of Usury Ceilings, Rise of Easy Credit and Increasing Consumer Debt" published in the South Dakota Law Review.


"This is an intriguing book that will surely be of great interest to students of World War II. It offers a fresh analysis of why Germany was beaten and poses reasons why it should have won."—World War ll History, August 1, 2013

"Offers a fresh perspective on key events like the D-Day landings . . . Mercatante's scholarship is undoubtedly on solid ground, which makes this book a welcome addition to Second World War bibliography."—Military History Monthly, August 1, 2013

"Mercatante (independent scholar) challenges conventional wisdom about Allied success in Europe through an impressive operational overview of Operation Barbarossa and various battles on the Eastern Front, D-Day, and the final drive into Germany. . . . Recommended."—Choice, August 1, 2012

"A thought-provoking book. . . . Mercatante's main purpose is to counter widespread arguments that brute force was the main reason for success in World War II. . . . The Germans, he argues, repeatedly demonstrated that qualitative advantages could be more important than quantitative superiority in men and materiel, and that the Allied armies eventually won because they became better at mobile and combined arms warfare than their enemies. . . . [Mercatante's] case deserves to be heard."—World War II Magazine, November 1, 2012

"Even those familiar with World War II scholarship will find here analyses of economic and technological matters that historians have often glossed over or mentioned only in passing. . . .There is . . . much sound analysis scattered through this book."—Michigan War Studies Review, October 1, 2012

"This provocative work presents a controversial thesis: Nazi Germany lost World War II because the Werhrmacht lost much of its qualitative advantage over the Allies. Mercatante’s arguments and conclusions are certain to be debated. They are too well supported to be ignored."—Dennis E Showalter, Colorado College

"Entertaining, informative, easy to read; a good book that moves at a brisk pace and is full of spirited discussion."—Roman J. Jarymowycz, Assistant Professor, The Royal Military College and Canadian Forces Staff College

"Mercatante's study challenges today's conventional wisdom and is likely to change readers' perceptions regarding how and why Germany lost a war that, as he clearly demonstrates, Hitler came dangerously close to winning."—Robert A. Forczyk Author of Panther vs. T-34 and Moscow 1941

"By taking a holistic look at the German war effort, Mercatante provides a fresh perspective to an oft studied subject."—Richard L. DiNardo, Marine Corps Command and Staff College

"Mercatante knows the current literature on the German army as well as anyone and offers a new interpretation of Operation Barbarossa (usually seen as the great German blunder of the war) as, in fact, Germany's last and best hope actually to win the war." —Robert M. Citino, Author of The German Way of War

"Do not be deceived by the book’s title: Why Germany Nearly Won is really a fact-filled history of the Wehrmacht’s land campaigns during World War II."—Robert Kirchubel, Author of Operation Barbarossa and Hitler’s Panzer Armies on the Eastern Front
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