November 1, 2013 at 7:00 am

Contemporary History: ‘Nine Days that Shook the World’ at Kursk, Nov. 7

The Contemporary History Institute welcomes Dr. Robert M. Citino, who will speak on “Nine Days that Shook the World” on Thursday, Nov. 7, at 4:30 p.m. in Baker 242.

Dr. Citino

Dr. Citino

Citino is one of America’s most distinguished military historians and the Vice President of the Society for Military History. He is the author of nine books, including The German Way of War (2005) and Death of the Wehrmacht (2007).  His book Blitzkrieg to Desert Storm (2004) was a multiple award winner, taking both the American Historical Association’s Paul M. Birdsall Prize for best book of the year in military history and the Society for Military History’s Distinguished Book Award. His most recent book, The Wehrmacht Retreats, was released in early 2012, and it, too, won the SMH Distinguished Book Award, making him one of the few authors ever to win the award twice.

Wehrmacht Retreats“One of the most commonly accepted reasons for Germany’s defeat in World War II was that it was fighting a two-front war in the West and the East,” Citino says. “What is generally not understood, however, is just how difficult it could be to fight such a conflict.

“In order to establish this point, we will look carefully at Operation Citadel, the great offensive launched by the German army at Kursk in July 1943. One of the greatest tank battles of all time, it was a savage encounter between two tank armies, and losses were massive on both sides. Citadel scarcely got under way, however, before something else happened nearly 2,000 miles away. The Allied invasion of Sicily (Operation Husky) marked the return of the Western Allies to the European continent.

“These simultaneous crises presented the German high command—Hitler and his generals alike—with some very difficult choices about how to proceed, first causing them to hesitate and eventually paralyzing them altogether,” Citino says. “My talk will analyze the problems they faced by offering a ‘micro-history,’ one focusing closely on a few crucial days in the summer of 1943.”

In 2007, Citino was named the “#1 Professor in the U.S.” by, the online student rating service. During the 2008-09 academic year, he was the Charles Boal Ewing Visiting Professor of Military History at the U.S. Military Academy in West Point, NY, and he is spending 2013-14 as a Visiting Professor at the U.S. Army War College in Carlisle, PA.  He received his Ph.D. from Indiana University.

He was born and raised in Cleveland, attended St. Ignatius High School, and can still sing the alma mater upon request.

Read his blogs at

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