Prelude to Blitzkrieg

Prelude to Blitzkrieg

The 1916 Austro-German Campaign in Romania
Barrett, Michael B.
Distribution: World
Publication date: 10/23/2013
Format: Hardback 32 b&w illus., 15 maps
ISBN: 978-0-253-00865-7
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In contrast to the trench-war deadlock on the Western Front, combat in Romania and Transylvania in 1916 foreshadowed the lightning warfare of WWII. When Romania joined the Allies and invaded Transylvania without warning, the Germans responded by unleashing a campaign of bold, rapid infantry movements, with cavalry providing cover or pursuing the crushed foe. Hitting where least expected and advancing before the Romanians could react—even bombing their capital from a Zeppelin soon after war was declared—the Germans and Austrians poured over the formidable Transylvanian Alps onto the plains of Walachia, rolling up the Romanian army from west to east, and driving the shattered remnants into Russia. Prelude to Blitzkrieg tells the story of this largely ignored campaign to determine why it did not devolve into the mud and misery of trench warfare, so ubiquitous elsewhere.

Author Bio

Michael B. Barrett was Professor of History at The Citadel for over thirty-five years, and is Brigadier General (ret.), U.S. Army Reserve. He is author of Operation Albion: The German Conquest of the Baltic Islands (IUP, 2008).


Michael Barrett’s Prelude to Blitzkrieg presents detailed descriptions of the various battles during the Romanian campaigns in the First World War. It is a well-written, thoroughly researched contribution to WWI historiography. His portrayal of the interactions of all the participants is particularly interesting. A highly recommended read for military historians in general, WWI aficionados and those interested in the Eastern and Balkan fronts.Barrett's well-written and clearly argued book is traditional military history at its best. Aided by superb maps and consistent geographic terms, a reader will enjoy Barrett's analysis of the campaign and gain a fuller understanding of the swirling events on the Eastern Front.Michael Barrett’s Prelude to Blitzkrieg is an important addition to First World War studies. Well researched and well written, Prelude to Blitzkrieg not only elucidates a thus far obscure First World War campaign, it also indicates the direction of tactics to come in the Second World War. Barrett effectively belies the traditional assumption that the First World War was slow and static and demonstrates that at least in the 1916 Romanian campaign it was a struggle of maneuver and speed. Utilizing sources from both sides of the conflict, Barrett skillfully covers the three main aspects of the Romanian campaign of 1916. These include the Romanian invasion of Transylvania, the Bulgarian-German-Ottoman invasion of Dobrogea, and the Austro-German invasion of Romania.

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Table of Contents

List of Maps
List of Selected Abbreviations
1. Romania Enters the War
2. The Central Powers Respond
3. The First Dobrogea Campaign
4. Clearing Transylvania
5. The Second Dobrogea Campaign
6. Stalemate in the Mountains
7. Moldavia: The Forgotten Front
8. The Drive across Walachia
9. The Fall of Bucharest and the End of the 1916 Campaign
10. Conclusion

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