When Hitler enabled the transformation of the Truppenamt into the general staff in 1935, General Beck saw an opportunity to re-establish a command of great power and influence that would act as a stabilising influence on Germany as a whole. Such a vision ran directly contrary to Hitler's ideology, however, setting up a tension that continued to ferment throughout the war, culminating in the assassination attempt on the Fuhrer by an internal resistance movement in 1944. In this new and comprehensive study, acclaimed author David Stone analyses the strengths and flaws of the command system, showing that the gradual marginalisation of the Army high command in favour of Hitler's own staff - including Himmler's SS - was rooted in the fact that the general staff both underestimated and misunderstood the true nature of the National Socialist movement that had gained control of Germany by 1933. He also looks at the successes of the general staff in spite of the many trials and tribulations they faced as part of the Nazi war machine - increasingly so as many officers found themselves forced to implement strategic and political agendas with which they disagreed. At an operational level he shows that it performed well and did much to ensure continued and efficient mobilisation, training and deployment of soldiers throughout the war, despite being drawn into a conflict of attrition, rather than the short Blitzkrieg for which it had always planned. Presenting an original interpretation of Germany at war, the author clearly expresses the key aspects of an organisation at the heart of Axis military planning, an organisation, moreover, that was intentionally complicated by Hitler.