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Exposing the Third Reich: Colonel Truman Smith in Hitler’s Germany

by Henry G. Gole foreword by Edward M. Coffman

Availablecloth$40.00s 978-0-8131-4176-3
Availableepub$40.00s 978-0-8131-4177-0
Availableweb pdf$40.00s 978-0-8131-4178-7
American Warriors Series
432 pages  Pubdate: 08/20/2013  6 x 9  34 b&w photos, 2 illustrations, 3 maps, 1 table

As World War II recedes from living memory, there remain untold stories of important behind-the-scenes operatives who provided vital support to the leaders celebrated in historical accounts. Colonel Truman Smith is one of the most compelling figures from this period, but there has never been a biography of this important and controversial man. In Exposing the Third Reich, Henry G. Gole tells this soldier’s story for the first time.

An American aristocrat from a prominent New England family, Smith was first assigned to Germany in 1919 during the Allied occupation and soon became known as a regional expert. During his second assignment in the country as a military attaché in 1935, he arranged for his good friend Charles Lindbergh to inspect the Luftwaffe. The Germans were delighted to have the famous aviator view their planes, enabling Smith to gather key intelligence about their air capability. His savvy cultivation of relationships rendered him invaluable throughout his service, particularly as an aide to General George C. Marshall; however, the colonel’s friendliness with Germany also aroused suspicion that he was a Nazi sympathizer.

Gole demonstrates that, far from condoning Hitler, Smith was among the first to raise the alarm: he predicted many of the Nazis’ moves years in advance and feared that the international community would not act quickly enough. Featuring many firsthand observations of the critical changes in Germany between the world wars, this biography presents an indispensable look both at a fascinating figure and at the nuances of the interwar years.

Henry G. Gole has taught at West Point, the U.S. Army War College, the University of Maryland, and Dickinson College. In addition, he served as a rifleman in Korea and completed two tours as a Special Forces officer during the Vietnam War. He is the author of four books, including General William E. DePuy: Preparing the Army for Modern War.

Colonel Gole's appraisal of Truman Smith presents us with the story of one of the many unsung heroes of World War II, against the backdrop of the turbulent history of Germany in the middle years of the 20th century. As World War II recedes rapidly from living memory, there are many such stories remaining to be told of the behind-the-scenes 'heavy lifters' of the period. Truman Smith's story is one of the most important and compelling. -- David T. Zabecki -- Major General David T. Zabecki, AUS (Ret.)

Gole is well qualified to write a biography of Truman Smith. In addition to the invaluable memoirs of Truman and Kay Smith, he had access to their correspondence and conducted extensive research of relevant books and articles. His experience as a soldier has helped him understand Smith’s military career. -- Edward M. Coffman, from the foreword

Gole demonstrates that, far from condoning Hitler, [Colonel Truman] Smith was among the first to raise the alarm: he predicted many of the Nazis' moves years in advance and feared that the international community would not act quickly enough. Featuring many firsthand observations of the critical changes in Germany between the world wars, this biography presents an indispensable look both at a fascinating figure and at the nuances of the interwar years. -- Bob Edmonds -- McCormick Messenger

"Exposing the Third Reich" is a fascinating book about a virtually unknown officer who played a major role in the development of U.S military planning before and during World War II. -- Bowling Green Daily News

Henry Gole, a veteran of Korea and Vietnam, tells for the first time the interesting story of Smith, his wife Kay, and their lives in and with Germany during [the Third Reich]. This is an account of Smith's professional careers as well as a very personal story of a deep and affectionate family relationship.

[....] Exposing the Third Reich is a highly stimulating read. Gole's biography constitutes a real contribution to the historiography of U.S.-German relations and American military thinking about Germany's strengthening positing in the 1930s. -- The Journal of Military History

Exposing the Third Reich is a story of how influential a single officer was in his service from WWI culminating in the development of NATO in the early 1970s. . . . Colonel Truman Smith deserves this book. Colonel Henry Gole has provided us with a publication all professional officers should include in their libraries. -- Parameters: The US Army War College Quarterly