A Review on Annihilation: a Global military History of World War II
Of the multiple World War II textbooks that are available today, Annihilation: a Global Military History of World War II by Thomas W. Zeiler has a different take and purpose behind his work than a normal historian might have. Where many historians will note only the major battles and either briefly mention or ignore the smaller ones, Zeiler gives ample information to satisfy the curious minds about those missed out battles. The details are exact and at times the language can be a bit too graceful for a war textbook, but the history of the Second World War is explained in great precision. Zeiler also has given the reader the ability to understand the specific battles and campaigns and how they correlate to the larger image that was the end goal for both the Axis and Allied powers.
The first thing Zeiler states in his preface is how his students “claimed that they would have jumped at the opportunity to fight in the ‘Big One’” and how “being born too late, they had missed out on the greatest moments in history—that of defeating evil in a ‘good war’ (p. ix).” Through this preface, the reader finds out that his purpose for this piece of work is to show the students, and any others who believe this as well, that World War II was in no means a “good war” for any side that was fighting. Those that believe this might have defined this time as glamorous for the patriotic fight, but the atrocities that were committed on multiple ethnicities during the warring years show that there was no “good war.” One sentence sums up the idea that Zeiler is trying to get across before he goes into purposeful detail. He states, “The object was to kill—to eliminate the enemy threat physically, ideologically, and totally (p. 5).”
The other purpose of Annihilation is to show how all the world had a hand in this monstrous event. It was not just the Germans or the Japanese or the Soviets that...