In January 1941 staff officers of the U.S., British, and Canadian militaries met in Washington D,C.. Though the United States was still a year from declaring war, planning was already underway in anticipation of that prospect, and the decisions they reached shaped much of the war that followed. Among the most important of these was that Germany was the primary opponent in any war involving the Axis powers. Though there were several excellent reasons for this, one of them was that the Germans possessed the greatest capacity for developing weapons which might radically transform the war, and thus needed to be defeated before they did.
Ian Hogg's book offers evidence of the wisdom of this decision. In it he provides an overview of the major weapons research bring undertaken by the Third Reich before and during the war. Diving his examination into categories, he summarizes the major projects to design new aircraft and air-launched weapons, air defense weapons, naval weapons, and the Wunderwaffen and nuclear and chemical weapons programs. His focus throughout is on their development, providing technical details and accounts of the decisions whether to undertake or abandon them and avoiding more than a brief mention of their deployment in the cases where the weapons were introduced. As befits a former artilleryman in the Royal Army, his section discussing the "big guns" is the best, but he provides interesting details throughout about the technical and bureaucratic challenges that slowed or stopped the development of weapons that might have changed the course of the war. The result is a work that is an excellent introduction to Germany's secret weapons programs, one best suited for the reader familiar with military technology but an informative read for anyone interested in an overview of the subject.