Good solid auto-biography of Eisenhower's war years. One of the things that comes out in the book is that Eisenhower believed in the concept of allies. Another aspect that emerges when reading the book is that Eisenhower was a professional soldier through and through. If it had been me in the same situation I might have done the same thing." Another aspect that I found interesting is that Eisenhower talks about criticism that was directed at him and the allied command in the press. In particular they like to point to World War II as a magical "Golden Age" when all Americans came together, rolled up their sleeves, and pitched in. Of course just a couple hours of research will quickly dispel that illusion, but I found it refreshing to read about it in Eisenhower's book.
Eisenhower does come across as one who disdained pomp and ceremony witness his signing of the surrender by Jodl or his refusal to honour or even partake of coffee with captured enemy officers. His conversations with Marshall Zhukov at wars end are illuminating in the distinction of human values between these two alleged allies.
Relato, de la mano del propio protagonista, de las vivencias y experiencias de Eisenhower (castrenses nada más) desde que empieza la Segunda Guerra Mundial hasta verano del 45, que nos muestra su intervención en un buen número de acciones de guerra muy conocidas y de gran importancia en las que tuvo que usar mucha mano izquierda para manejar a personalidades muy difíciles y con poder de forma que se cumpliesen los objetivos de guerra.
I am currently reading this vast memoir of Supreme Allied Commander, General Eisenhower. Eisenhower was the absolute right man for the job he had, and while far from perfect, he possessed the qualities needed to hold an unwieldy coalition of allies together until final victory.
D-day planning had no more depth than either the battles in Africa or the continuation of the march through Europe. On the other hand, any commander who permits a unit to enter battle lacking any advantage, any needed instruction, or any useful understanding that could be imparted to that unit beforehand, is guilty of a grave crime against the soldiers he leads. The high commander must therefore be calm, clear, and determined--and in all commands, especially allied organizations, his success will be measured more by his ability to lead and persuade than by his adherence to fixed notions of arbitrary command practices. This truth applies with a particular force during the time necessary to build up confidence--a confidence that reaches back into the governments at home as well as throughout the length and breadth of the command. He had not yet accepted the essential harshness of war; he did not realize that the word is synonymous with waste, or did he understand that every positive action requires expenditure. p. 176 Speed of movement often enables troops to minimize any advantage the enemy may temporarily gain but, more important, speed makes possible the full exploitation of every favorable opportunity and prevents the enemy from readjusting his forces to meet successive attacks. This probably effect must always be weighed against the hoped-for advantage of assigning the post to another, and possibly untried, commander. p. 210 ...Morale is the greatest single factor in successful war. Endurable comparisons with the enemy in other essential factors--leadership, discipline, technique, numbers, equipment, mobility, supply, and maintenance--are prerequisite to the existence of morale. One observation, however, always applies: in any long and bitter campaign morale will suffer unless all ranks thoroughly believe that their commanders are concerned first and always with the welfare of the troops who do the fighting. p. 337 There was certainly no other nation in the world that could have supplied, repaired, and supported the great fleet of motor transportation that the American armed forces used in World War II. In battles of this kind it is more than ever necessary that responsible commanders exhibit the firmness, the calmness, the optimism that can pierce through the web of conflicting reports, doubts, and uncertainty and by taking advantage of every enemy weakness win through to victory. But I knew him solely in his capacity as leader of a nation at war--and in that capacity he seemed to me to fulfill all that could possibly be expected of him.
Historians have argued that Ike's memoirs rank a close second to the famously majestic prose of Ulysses Grant in the annals of wartime leaders, and while his personal style may be more to the point than Grant, it struck me as a much easier read and just as packed with information.