Hofmann, George F.
HOFMANN, George F.
PERSONAL: Male. Education: Obtained Ph.D.
ADDRESSES: Home—Green Township, OH. Offıce— University of Cincinnati, P.O. Box 210107, Cincinnati, OH 45221-0107; fax: 513-347-0732. E-mail—[email protected]
CAREER: Author, military historian, and educator. University of Cincinnati College of Evening and Continuing Education, Cincinnati, OH, adjunct associate professor of history. Military service: U.S. Army, served as instructor and cadre, Special Training Regiment, U.S. Armor Training Center, Ft. Knox, KY.
MEMBER: Distinguished Member, Thirteenth Armored Regiment.
AWARDS, HONORS: Distinguished Writing Award, Army Historical Foundation, 2000, for Camp Colt to Desert Storm; Gold Medallion of the Distinguished Knight of the Order of St. George, U.S. Armor Association, 2001, for long and honorable service of the U.S. Armor and Cavalry; Sixth Armored Division Grant, for Camp Colt to Desert Storm.
The Super Sixth: History of the Sixth Armored Division in World War II and Its Post-War Association, Sixth Armored Division Association (Louisville, KY), 1975.
Cold War Casualty: The Court-Martial of MajorGeneral Robert W. Grow, Kent State University Press (Kent, OH), 1993.
(Editor, with Donn A. Starry) Camp Colt to DesertStorm: The History of the U.S. Armored Forces, University Press of Kentucky (Lexington, KY), 1999.
Contributor to publications such as Armor, Army, and Marine Corps Gazette.
SIDELIGHTS: As a veteran of the U.S. Army, military historian and professor of history George F. Hofmann served in close quarters with the heavy tanks and armored vehicles of the armed forces. Hofmann's assignments included stints as cadre and as an instructor in the Special Training Regiment of the U.S. Armor Training Center at Ft. Knox, Kentucky. In addition, he was honored with the Gold Medallion of the Distinguished Knight of the Order of St. George, "the highest recognition for long and honorable service to the U.S. Armor and Cavalry," noted Dawn Fuller in a biography of Hofmann on the University of Cincinnati Web site.
Hofmann draws upon his extensive military experience and expertise as coeditor of Camp Colt to Desert Storm: The History of the U.S. Armored Forces, a history of the development and use of the tank and armored forces in the U.S. military. Written by both historians and military personnel with direct experience in armor, the book traces the development of the tank from World War I to its critical role in the Gulf War on the battlefields of Kuwait and Iraq. The book was coedited with Donn A. Starry, a retired four-star U.S. Army general who was chiefly responsible for developing the AirLand Battle doctrine used in the Gulf War. The editors and contributors examine both the military history and the political aspects of the evolution of the tank, analyzing "the synergies among political, operational, and material factors that shape American approaches to the tank in battle," commented a Publishers Weekly reviewer. "During World War I, tanks were first introduced to break the four-year stalemate of trench and attrition warfare on the Western Front," Fuller noted.
The editors and contributors "have produced an extensive yet quite readable study" of the history of military armored vehicles, remarked David M. Alperstein in Library Journal. A Publishers Weekly critic called the book "a valuable resource for military historians," and Alperstein declared it to be "a cohesive and educational study."
In an earlier book, Hofmann revisits a "once sensational but now little-remembered incident" that became a cold war-era military scandal, explained Cecilia Stiles Cornell in Historian. Cold War Casualty: The Court-Martial of Major General Robert W. Grow involves Soviet espionage and the hapless senior officer who became its victim. Grow, former commander of the Sixth Armored Division during World War II, served as the senior military attaché in Moscow. In September, 1951, a Soviet agent found Grow's personal diary and copied portions of it. East German authorities declared that the diary proved that Grow was planning preemptive strikes against the Soviet Union, and a Washington Post story drew the army into controversy over the incident. Grow was subsequently court-martialed for failure to protect classified information, "received an official reprimand, and was suspended from command," noted a Publishers Weekly reviewer.
Hofmann's work "rescues a disturbing case of cold war history for an undeserved obscurity," observed Jeff Broadwater in American Historical Review. "Hofmann convincingly makes his case that the general, whether guilty or innocent, fell victim to injustice," Cornell stated. In the politically volatile atmosphere of the Cold War, Grow was convicted of mishandling classified data, even though the diary contained no classified material at all. He was compelled to incriminate himself, denied the opportunity to face his accusers, prohibited from accessing important evidence, and denied proper appeals procedures. Hofmann describes the "command influence" that allowed a senior general to subvert justice and suppress evidence that would have helped Grow but endanger the careers of other high-ranking officers. In 1957 Grow was successful in getting his sentence remitted, but the damage to his long military career could not be undone. "Despite a few flaws—Grow's character, for example, is never fully developed—Hofmann's study, prodigiously researched and richly detailed, is quite impressive," Broadwater concluded.
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
American Historical Review, April, 1994, Jeff Broadwater, review of Cold War Casualty: The Court-Martial of Major General Robert W. Grow, pp. 683-684.
Historian, winter, 1994, Cecilia Stiles Cornell, review of Cold War Casualty, p. 427.
Journal of American History, September, 1994, Michael L. Grumelli, review of Cold War Casualty, pp. 803-804.
Library Journal, August, 1999, David M. Alperstein, review of Camp Colt to Desert Storm: The History of the U.S. Armored Forces, p. 110.
Publishers Weekly, December 14, 1992, review of ColdWar Casualty, p. 47; August 23, 1999, review of Camp Colt to Desert Storm, p. 37.
University of Cincinnati Web site,http://www.uc.edu/ (April 5, 2000), Dawn Fuller, "UC Professor Writes History with a Bang."*