“Old Bill” Suggests—
Erich Von Falkenhayn, in many ways one of the best of the German generals, is described as “tall, slim, with a particularly youthful face, in which were a pair of very sharp and clever but sarcastic eyes, with striking contrast to a very gray but very thick head of hair.”
He could see through sham, was merciless in analysis, but usually had a hard time getting an accurate idea of the real situation. “The lies that these army commanders combine in telling are quite incredible,” he complained.
One historian seems to have reached the meat of the coconut by pointing out that his subordinate officers were almost frantic to have a favorable report.
“Sympathy,” he remarks, “is a better magnet for truth than is sarcasm.”