Germany at War
400 Years of Military History
by David T. Zabecki, Editor William H. Van Husen, Carl O. Schuster, and Marcus O. Jones, Assistant Editors
October 2014, 1797pp, 8 1/2x11
4 volumes, ABC-CLIO

Hardcover: 978-1-59884-980-6
$436, £336, 380€, A598
eBook Available: 978-1-59884-981-3
Please contact your preferred eBook vendor for pricing.

Germany has unquestionably been a leader in military theory and doctrine.

Written by experts for use by nonexperts, this monumental work probes Germany's "Genius for War" and the unmistakable pattern of tactical and operational innovation and excellence evident throughout the nation's military history.

Despite having the best military forces in the world, some of the most advanced weapons available, and unparalleled tactical proficiency, Germany still lost both World Wars. This landmark, four-volume encyclopedia explores how and why that happened, at the same time examining Germany as a military power from the start of the Thirty Years’ War in 1618 to the present day. Coverage includes the Federal Republic of Germany, its predecessor states, and the kingdoms and principalities that combined to form Imperial Germany in 1871.

The Seven Years’ War is discussed, as are the Napoleonic Wars, the Wars of German Unification (including the Franco-Prussian War), World War I, World War II, and the Cold War. In all, more than 1,000 entries illuminate battles, organizations, leaders, armies, weapons, and other aspects of war and military life. The most comprehensive overview of German military history ever to appear in English, this work will enable students and others interested in military history to better understand the sociopolitical history of Germany, the complex role conflict has played in the nation throughout its history, and why Germany continues to be an important player on the European continent.


  • Pulls together all the historical military threads that resulted in modern Germany
  • Examines wars, battles, leaders, weapons, and strategy and tactics
  • Features contributors from 14 countries, including official historians from America, Germany, the United Kingdom, Canada, and Estonia
  • Offers biographies of selected German military leaders who made significant contributions in non-German wars, such as Friedrich Wilhelm von Steuben, Christian von Zweibrücken, and Johann Gottlieb Rall (American Revolution) and Carl Schurz (American Civil War)
  • Includes 77 original documents, more than half of which were translated into English for the first time for this encyclopedia
Major General David T. Zabecki, PhD, U.S. Army (Retired) is an honorary senior research fellow in war studies at Britain's University of Birmingham. In 2012, he served as the Dr. Leo A. Shifrin Distinguished Chair of Military History at the U.S. Naval Academy. He is also the chief military historian of the Weider History Group, the world's largest publisher of history magazines. His published work includes ABC-CLIO's Steel Wind: Colonel Georg Bruchmüller and the Birth of Modern Artillery as well as The German 1918 Offensives: A Case Study in the Operational Level of War. He was also the editor and translator of On the German Art of War: Truppenführing.


2016 Distinguished Book Award for Reference—Society for Military History, February 1, 2016


"[A] stunningly comprehensive, four-volume encyclopedia probing Germany’s 'Genius for War' over a period of four centuries. . . . [T]he most complete overview of German military history ever to appear in the English language."—Armchair General, November 12, 2014

"The entries are well written and engaging and could easily be used by students at both the high school and college level. This is a recommended source for those who are interested in military history."—Booklist, January 1, 2015

"A massive work of extraordinary scholarship throughout, Germany at War: 400 Years of Military History is a definitive military history that is impressively well written, organized and presented. Informed, informative, and thoroughly 'reader friendly', Germany at War: 400 Years of Military History is strongly recommended as a core addition to community and academic library Military History reference collections in general, and German History collections and supplemental reading lists in particular."—Midwest Book Review, December 1, 2014

"Anyone looking for a quick overview of key themes and events in Germany’s rich military history over the last four hundred years will find the work useful."—European History Quarterly, February 24, 2016

"A truly outstanding reference work, this encyclopedia treats the military history of Germany from the start of the Thirty Years’ War in 1618 to the present. Edited by distinguished military historian General David Zabecki, it has more than 1,000 entries with the latest scholarship on key individuals, battles, and campaigns. It also covers influential books, strategy and tactics, and key weapons systems. Also included are 77 key documents. The German military has played a highly influential role in the histories of Europe and the world, and this work should be of great interest to scholars and students alike."—Dr. Spencer C. Tucker, award-winning author and editor of more than 50 books, including World War I: The Definitive Encyclopedia and Document Collection

"David Zabecki has once again provided a first-class contribution for both scholars and students of German military history. In this case Germany at War: 400 Years of Military History represents a wonderful source and reference book for the past 400 years in which Germany has been at the center of European conflicts. It also provides a number of primary source documents that should prove very useful to history teachers at the undergraduate and graduate levels. Originally aimed at libraries, Germany at War represents much more—a work that students and scholars will find of great use in their own home libraries."—Williamson Murray, Professor Emeritus, The Ohio State University

"Sweeping, comprehensive, and meticulous. Germany at War is an authoritative reference work for any reader interested in the tragic, compelling history of German conflicts during the past four centuries."—Rick Atkinson is the bestselling author of An Army at Dawn (winner of the Pulitzer Prize for history), The Day of Battle, The Guns at Last Light, The Long Gray Line, In the Company of Soldiers, and Crusade.
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