General Jacob Devers

General Jacob Devers

World War II's Forgotten Four Star
John A. Adams
Distribution: Global
Publication date: 02/18/2015
Format: Hardback 15 maps, 1 table
ISBN: 978-0-253-01517-4
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Of the leaders of the American Army in World War II, Jacob Devers is undoubtedly the "forgotten four star." Plucked from relative obscurity in the Canal Zone, Devers was one of four generals selected by General of the Army George Marshall in 1941 to assist him in preparing the Army for war. He quickly became known in Army circles for his "can do" attitude and remarkable ability to cut through red tape. Among other duties, he was instrumental in transforming Ft. Bragg, then a small Army post, into a major training facility. As head of the armored force, Devers contributed to the development of a faster, more heavily armored tank, equipped with a higher velocity gun that could stand up to the more powerful German tanks, and helped to turn American armor into an effective fighting force. In spring 1943, Devers replaced Dwight Eisenhower as commander of the European Theater of Operations, then was given command of the 6th Army Group that invaded the south of France and fought its way through France and Germany to the Austrian border. In the European campaign to defeat Hitler, Eisenhower had three subordinate army group commanders—British Field Marshall Bernard Montgomery, Omar S. Bradley, and Jacob Devers. The first two are well-known—here the third receives the attention he properly deserves.

Author Bio

John A. Adams is author of The Battle for Western Europe, Fall 1944 (IUP, 2010) and If Mahan Ran the Great Pacific War (IUP, 2008).


“Of the leaders of the American Army in World War II, Jacob Devers is undoubtedly the “forgotten four star.” Known in Army circles for his "can do" attitude and ability to cut through red tape, in this remarkable biography Devers receives the attention he properly deserves.”

“As commander of the right wing of the allies in northwest Europe and one of Eisenhower’s three Army Group commanders, though an outsider to the Supreme Commander’s circle, General Jacob Devers has long deserved more attention by historians of the Second World War. This rich, balanced, and absorbing biography adds importantly to our understanding of this splendid soldier and his important contributions to victory in Europe.”
 — Brigadier General (Retired) Charles F. Brower, author of Defeating Japan: The Joint Chiefs of Staff and Strategy in the Pacific War

“The book fills a serious historical gap in the understanding of large unit command during World War II. Adams's use of the Griess interviews [with Devers] . . . is a significant contribution in itself.”
 — Stephen A. Bourque, author of Jayhawk! The VII Corps in the Persian Gulf War

“Given how many volumes have been devoted to World War II leaders, it is perplexing that Devers has lacked a major biography until now. . . solid and informative.”
 — Wall Street Journal

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Table of Contents

List of Maps
1. Early Years
2. The Interwar Years
3. Marshall Recognizes Devers
4. Chief of Armored Force
5. The Debate over Doctrine
6. Commander, ETO
7. Deputy Supreme Commander, Mediterranean Theater of Operations
8. The French and a Southern Front
9. Dragooned
10. Up the Rhône Valley
11. An End to Champagne
12. Into the Cold Vosges
13. Cross the Rhine?
14. Throw Down at Vittel and Its Aftermath
15. Nordwind Strikes Devers
16. The Colmar Pocket Finally Collapses
17. Undertone to Austria
18. Postwar

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