Geoffrey P. Megargee
|Born||1959 (age 59–60)|
|Occupation||Historian, author, or|
|Alma mater||Ohio State University|
|Institutions||United States Holocaust Memorial Museum |
U.S. Commission on National Security/21st Century
|Main interests||Modern European history; military history; history of the Holocaust|
|Notable works||Encyclopedia of Camps and Ghettos, 1933–1945|
Geoffrey P. Megargee (born 1959) is an American historian and author who specialises in the World War II military history and the history of the Holocaust. After working for the U.S. Commission on National Security/21st Century, he joined the Center for Advanced Holocaust Studies at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum (USHMM) in Washington, D.C.
Megargee is the author and or of several books on the history of Nazi Germany. His work on the German High Command (the OKW) won the 2001 Distinguished Book Award from the Society for Military History. He serves as the project director and or-in-chief for the Encyclopedia of Camps and Ghettos, 1933–1945 by the USHMM.
Megargee was born in 1959. He received his PhD in military history from Ohio State University. As of 2016, Megargee is an applied research scholar at the Center for Advanced Holocaust Studies, United States Holocaust Memorial Museum (USHMM), Washington, D.C. He is also the project director and general or for the seven-volume USHMM's Encyclopedia of Camps and Ghettos, 1933–1945. Prior to this position Megargee served as research associate at the U.S. Commission on National Security/21st Century and was a contributor to World War II in Europe: An Encyclopedia.
Megargee authored several books on the German military operations during World War II, including a 2006 work on Operation Barbarossa, the Germany invasion of the Soviet Union. Titled War of Annihilation: Combat and Genocide on the Eastern Front, 1941, the book focuses on the intermingling of military and genocidal aims of Nazi Germany during the invasion. Reviewing the book, historian Stephen G. Fritz of East Tennessee State University notes that Megargee's intention was to remediate a "curious disconnect in the historical literature on the Nazi-Soviet war between the campaign's military and criminal aspects". Fritz commends the author on this intention and that he has written "an excellent synthesis of the first six months of the Nazi- Soviet war that manages to be both concise and yet surprisingly substantive". According to Fritz, the book also focuses on the "recurring characteristic of the German war effort: considerable operational aptitude combined with strategic confusion".
Megargee is also the author of the 2000 book Inside Hitler's High Command, published by the University Press of Kansas. The books looks at the inner workings of the Supreme Command of the Armed Forces, the OKW (Oberkommando der Wehrmacht). Reviewing the work for Foreign Affairs magazine, professor of strategic studies Eliot A. Cohen describes the book as a "well-executed history that demolishes self-exculpatory accounts" by Wehrmacht generals who subscribe to the " 'if the Führer had only listened to me' " school of historiography". Cohen notes:
In a clear but scholarly analysis of the German high command, Megargee shows that the German general staff, despite flashes of real brilliance, had deep, long-term flaws in such areas as intelligence, logistics, and strategic planning. (...) His analysis reminds the reader that it is the drudgery of staff work that often wins and loses wars; it is a tribute to the author's abilities that he can make that fact not only clear but highly interesting.
Megargee serves as the project director and or-in-chief for the Encyclopedia of Camps and Ghettos, 1933–1945, a seven-part encyclopedia series that explores the history of the concentration camps, ghettos, forced-labor camps, and other sites of detention, persecution, or state-sponsored murder run by Nazi Germany and other Axis powers in Europe and Africa. The series is produced by the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum (USHMM) and published by Indiana University Press. Research began in 2000; the first volume was published in 2009; the final volume is slated for publication in 2025. Along with entries on individual sites, the encyclopedias also contain scholarly overviews for historical context.
The project attracted media attention when its ors announced in 2013 that the series would cover more than 42,500 sites, eight times more than expected. The first two volumes in the series, covering the Nazi concentration camps and Nazi ghettos, received a positive response from both scholars and survivors. Multiple scholars have described the encyclopedias as the most comprehensive reference on their given subjects.