Tag Archives: Military History

The Armies Converging (End of World War II, #2)

It’s been 75 years ago since the largest war in human history, World War II, ended. To commemorate this watershed, I’m doing a mini-series here on the blog. The first post has dealt with the conferences in Yalta and Potsdam that decided the post-war order. This one is about the final military campaigns in Europe.
The final act began in the west with the Allied landing in Normandy and the subsequent liberation of France, in the east with the annihilation of the German Army Group Center in Operation Bagration and the following Soviet advance through eastern Europe. In 1945, the Western Allies reached and crossed the Rhine against a disintegrating German army, whereas the Soviets made the final assault on Berlin. Obviously, I’ll discuss some board games along the way. As World War II is the most popular historical subject for board games, I had to pick very selectively. Let me know your favorite games on the end of World War II in Europe in the comments! Continue reading

World War II (Century of German History, #6)

I’m doing a series on German history in the 20th century on my blog this year. In intervals of 10 years, I pick a crucial event and explore it – with the help of precisely one board game. You can find the previous posts here:

Today, we go back to September 1, 1939 and the German attack on Poland – the beginning of World War II. The game that accompanies us is Unconditional Surrender! (Salvatore Vasta, GMT Games). Now the events of World War II from the first shots to the final surrender of the Axis powers are well known (and covered by myriads of books, articles, and, yes, board games). Therefore, I’ll skip the narration of who conquered what when and instead focus on three crucial perspectives on the war and the board game: How was this war different from other great power wars before? How does the game balance between freedom of action of the players and recreating a historical outcome? And why does Unconditional Surrender capture an essential aspect of the war?
Finally, this post will also serve as the starting point of a new project: I’ll do a detailed Unconditional Surrender after action report. Follow my Twitter account for live updates (and vote on strategic decisions) and check out the larger narrative on the blog! Continue reading

The Prague Defenestration: How Peace Went Out of the Window

May 23, 1618 was not a good day for Count von Martinitz. Neither was it for Count Slavata, nor for Councillor Fabricius. The three were assailed by an angry mob of the Bohemian Estates[1] and thrown out of a window of Prague Castle. Miraculously, all three of them survived the fall of about 20 meters. European peace, however, did not survive. The Thirty Years’ War which resulted from the attempted lynching ranks high among the bloodiest conflicts in European history. This article will take examine how this relatively small act of violence could trigger such a long and intense war and what made this war different from others before and after. All the while, games about the Thirty Years’ War will be discussed.

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