The psychologist was Field Marshal Erwin Rommel, one of the astute German generals of World War II. There had been “grandiose predictions” of swift victory — the result of the landings in North Africa. The news of Kasserine went halfway around the world and struck the United States with the blast of a tornado, scattering illusions and leaving in its wake the devastation of a numbing consternation and the shock of disbelief. To the American people, the event was incredible. It shook the foundations of their faith, extinguished the glowing excitement that anticipated quick victory, and, worst of all, raised doubt that the righteous necessarily triumphed. The “local setback,” editorialized the New York Times, could hardly obscure the fact that the Germans had scored a victory of considerable importance to their whole military and political strategy.