A definitive account of World War II by America's preeminent military historian World War II was the most lethal conflict in human history. Never before had a war been fought on so many diverse landscapes and in so many different ways, from rocket attacks in London to jungle fighting in Burma to armor strikes in Libya. The Second World Wars examines how combat unfolded in the air, at sea, and on land to show how distinct conflicts among disparate combatants coalesced into one interconnected global war. Drawing on 3,000 years of military history, Victor Davis Hanson argues that despite its novel industrial barbarity, neither the war's origins nor its geography were unusual. Nor was its ultimate outcome surprising. The Axis powers were well prepared to win limited border conflicts, but once they blundered into global war, they had no hope of victory. An authoritative new history of astonishing breadth, The Second World Wars offers a stunning reinterpretation of history's deadliest conflict.
A masterful and comprehensive chronicle of World War II, by internationally bestselling historian Antony Beevor. Over the past two decades, Antony Beevor has established himself as one of the world's premier historians of WWII. His multi-award winning books have included Stalingrad and The Fall of Berlin 1945. Now, in his newest and most ambitious book, he turns his focus to one of the bloodiest and most tragic events of the twentieth century, the Second World War. In this searing narrative that takes us from Hitler's invasion of Poland on September 1st, 1939 to V-J day on August 14th, 1945 and the war's aftermath, Beevor describes the conflict and its global reach--one that included every major power. The result is a dramatic and breathtaking single-volume history that provides a remarkably intimate account of the war that, more than any other, still commands attention and an audience. Thrillingly written and brilliantly researched, Beevor's grand and provocative account is destined to become the definitive work on this complex, tragic, and endlessly fascinating period in world history, and confirms once more that he is a military historian of the first rank.
The Problem Solvers Who Turned The Tide in the Second World War
Author: Paul Kennedy
Publisher: Random House
NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER Paul Kennedy, award-winning author of The Rise and Fall of the Great Powers and one of today’s most renowned historians, now provides a new and unique look at how World War II was won. Engineers of Victory is a fascinating nuts-and-bolts account of the strategic factors that led to Allied victory. Kennedy reveals how the leaders’ grand strategy was carried out by the ordinary soldiers, scientists, engineers, and businessmen responsible for realizing their commanders’ visions of success. In January 1943, FDR and Churchill convened in Casablanca and established the Allied objectives for the war: to defeat the Nazi blitzkrieg; to control the Atlantic sea lanes and the air over western and central Europe; to take the fight to the European mainland; and to end Japan’s imperialism. Astonishingly, a little over a year later, these ambitious goals had nearly all been accomplished. With riveting, tactical detail, Engineers of Victory reveals how. Kennedy recounts the inside stories of the invention of the cavity magnetron, a miniature radar “as small as a soup plate,” and the Hedgehog, a multi-headed grenade launcher that allowed the Allies to overcome the threat to their convoys crossing the Atlantic; the critical decision by engineers to install a super-charged Rolls-Royce engine in the P-51 Mustang, creating a fighter plane more powerful than the Luftwaffe’s; and the innovative use of pontoon bridges (made from rafts strung together) to help Russian troops cross rivers and elude the Nazi blitzkrieg. He takes readers behind the scenes, unveiling exactly how thousands of individual Allied planes and fighting ships were choreographed to collectively pull off the invasion of Normandy, and illuminating how crew chiefs perfected the high-flying and inaccessible B-29 Superfortress that would drop the atomic bombs on Japan. The story of World War II is often told as a grand narrative, as if it were fought by supermen or decided by fate. Here Kennedy uncovers the real heroes of the war, highlighting for the first time the creative strategies, tactics, and organizational decisions that made the lofty Allied objectives into a successful reality. In an even more significant way, Engineers of Victory has another claim to our attention, for it restores “the middle level of war” to its rightful place in history. Praise for Engineers of Victory “Superbly written and carefully documented . . . indispensable reading for anyone who seeks to understand how and why the Allies won.”—The Christian Science Monitor “An important contribution to our understanding of World War II . . . Like an engineer who pries open a pocket watch to reveal its inner mechanics, [Paul] Kennedy tells how little-known men and women at lower levels helped win the war.”—Michael Beschloss, The New York Times Book Review “Histories of World War II tend to concentrate on the leaders and generals at the top who make the big strategic decisions and on the lowly grunts at the bottom. . . . [Engineers of Victory] seeks to fill this gap in the historiography of World War II and does so triumphantly. . . . This book is a fine tribute.”—The Wall Street Journal “[Kennedy] colorfully and convincingly illustrates the ingenuity and persistence of a few men who made all the difference.”—The Washington Post “This superb book is Kennedy’s best.”—Foreign Affairs From the Hardcover edition.
Exploring the reasons why the Second World War broke out in September 1939 and why a European conflict developed into a war that spanned the globe, The Origins of the Second World War argues that this was not just ‘Hitler’s War’ but one that had its roots and origins in the decline of the old empires of Britain and France and the rise of ambitious new powers in Germany, Italy and Japan who wanted large empires of their own. This fourth edition has been revised throughout, covering the origins of the war from its background in the First World War to its expansion to embrace the Soviet Union, Japan and the United States by the end of 1941. Creating a comprehensive and analytical narrative while remaining a succinct overview of the subject, this book takes a thematic approach to the complex range of events that culminated in global warfare, discussing factors such as economic rivalry, rearmament and domestic politics and emphasising that any explanation of the outbreak of hostilities must be global in scope. Containing updated references and primary source documents alongside a glossary, a chronology of key events and a Who’s Who of important figures, this book is an invaluable introduction for any student of this fascinating period.
Remembering the Second World War brings together an international and interdisciplinary cast of leading scholars to explore the remembrance of this conflict on a global scale. Conceptually, it is premised on the need to challenge nation-centric approaches in memory studies, drawing strength from recent transcultural, affective and multidirectional turns. Divided into four thematic parts, this book largely focuses on the post-Cold War period, which has seen a notable upsurge in commemorative activity relating to the Second World War and significant qualitative changes in its character. The first part explores the enduring utility and the limitations of the national frame in France, Germany and China. The second explores transnational transactions in remembrance, looking at memories of the British Empire at war, contested memories in East-Central Europe and the transnational campaign on behalf of Japan’s former ‘comfort women’. A third section considers local and sectional memories of the war and the fourth analyses innovative practices of memory, including re-enactment, video gaming and Holocaust tourism. Offering insightful contributions on intriguing topics and illuminating the current state of the art in this growing field, this book will be essential reading for all students and scholars of the history and memory of the Second World War.
"Roberts'spopulist approach makes for a rollicking good read and never comes at theexpense of accuracy. His mastery of the huge variety of subjects is trulyimpressive and his ability to marshal these subjects into a single compellingnarrative stunning." —The Daily Telegraph Hailedby The Economist as “Britain’s finest military historian” forbestsellers such as Masters and Commanders and Waterloo, AndrewRoberts offers a magisterial new history of World War II and the Axis strategythat led the Germans and Japanese to their eventual defeat. Perfect for readershoping to gain new insight into WWII’s pivotal battles and campaigns, fromDunkirk to D-Day, The Storm of War is a powerful, penetrating, andcompulsively readable examination of the causes, currents, and consequences ofthe Second World War.
Exploring the role of museums, galleries and curators during the upheaval of the Second World War, this book challenges the accepted view of a hiatus in museum services during the conflict and its immediate aftermath. Instead it argues that new thinking in the 1930s was realised in a number of promising initiatives during the war only to fail during the fragmented post-war recovery. Based on new research including interviews with retired museum staff, letters, diaries, museum archives and government records, this study reveals a complex picture of both innovation and inertia. At the outbreak of war precious objects were stored away and staff numbers reduced, but although many museums were closed, others successfully campaigned to remain open. By providing innovative modern exhibitions and education initiatives they became popular and valued venues for the public. After the war, however, museums returned to their more traditional, collections-centred approach and failed to negotiate the public funding needed for reconstruction based on this narrower view of their role. Hence, in the longer term, the destruction and economic and social consequences of the conflict served to delay aspirations for reconstruction until the 1960s. Through this lens, the history of the museum in the mid-twentieth century appears as one shaped by the effects of war but equally determined by the input of curators, audiences and the state. The museum thus emerges not as an isolated institution concerned only with presenting the past but as a product of the changing conflicts and cultures within society.
The Second World War is a compact but comprehensive and absorbing history of the war. It examines the causes of the war, how it was won and lost, and its far-reaching consequences for humanity. In tracing the key events of both the European and the Far Eastern wars, R. A. C. Parker outlines clearly the strategies of the participants, the economies and societies that underlay them, and the strengths and weaknesses of their fighting forces. He describes the decisive battles andanalyses the reasons for their outcome, paying close attention to special features of the war: mobile warfare, forced migration, the Holocaust, strategic and nuclear bombing. Unlike many other histories of the war this book places British and European involvement squarely in an international perspective,and the author never shies away from raising fundamental questions.
In an intergenerational keepsake volume, witnesses to World War II share their memories with young interviewers so that their experiences will never be forgotten. The Second World War was the most devastating war in history. Up to eighty million people died, and the map of the world was redrawn. More than seventy years after peace was declared, children interviewed family and community members to learn about the war from people who were there, to record their memories before they were lost forever. Now, in a unique collection, RAF pilots, evacuees, resistance fighters, Land Girls, U.S. Navy sailors, and survivors of the Holocaust and the Hiroshima bombing all tell their stories, passing on the lessons learned to a new generation. Featuring many vintage photographs, this moving volume also offers an index of contributors and a glossary.
In this comprehensive history, John Keegan explores both the technical and the human impact of the greatest war of all time. He focuses on five crucial battles and offers new insights into the distinctive methods and motivations of modern warfare. In knowledgable, perceptive analysis of the airborne battle of Crete, the carrier battle of Midway, the tank battle of Falaise, the city battle of Berlin, and the amphibious battle of Okinawa, Keegan illuminates the strategic dilemmas faced by the leaders and the consequences of their decisions on the fighting men and the course of the war as a whole.
This book tells the dramatic story of the recruitment and training of a group of German communist exiles by the London office of the Office of Strategic Services for key spy missions into Nazi Germany during the final months of World War II. The book chronicles their stand against the rise of Hitler in 1930s that caused them to flee Germany for Czechoslovakia and then England where they resettled and awaited an opportunity to get back into the war against the Nazis. That chance would arrive in late 1944 when the OSS recruited them for these important missions which became part of the historic German Penetration Campaign. Some of the German exiles carried out successful missions that provided key military intelligence to the Allied armies advancing into Germany while others suffered untimely deaths immediately upon the dispatch of their missions that still raise troubling issues. And based on declassified East German government files, this book also reveals that notwithstanding the US military alliance with the Soviet Union, a few of the German communist exiles betrayed the trust that the OSS had placed in them by working with a secret spy network in England that enabled its agents to receive top secret mission related information and OSS sources and methods. That spy network was run by the GRU, the Red Army military intelligence service. This is the same intelligence service that has just been cited by US law enforcement officers as having hacked into computers run by the Democratic National Committee and launched a social media campaign in order to influence the outcome of the 2016 U.S. presidential election. While the dual loyalties of the German exiles later became known to the United States military, such knowledge did not prevent it from posthumously awarding military decorations to the men who led these missions. Until that day, no German national had ever been presented with such medals for their service to the Allied armies in World War II.
For those of us who didn't live through World War II, it appears in our mind's eye in black and white. Images of the Blitz, of the D-Day landings at Normandy, the liberation of Paris, the fall of Berlin--all come to us in shadowy grays and blacks, the lack of color simultaneously heightening their drama and distancing them from us. Seen in black and white, World War II seems wholly of the past, a story that's being told much more than an experienced that men and women actually lived through. ?This book will help change that. Reproducing seventy-eight rare full-color images from the archives of the Imperial War Museums, it shows us a new--or at least long-forgotten--World War II. In these pages, we see the vivid hues of flames, the richly colored fabrics of flags and uniforms, intense blue skies high over battlefields, faces of suntanned soldiers on the march, and the dizzyingly complicated color of the new art of military camouflage. The result is a World War II that has been rescued from the past and restored to us, powerful and unforgettable, so we can see for the first time what our parents, grandparents, and great-grandparents saw as they fought and sacrificed all those decades ago.
At the end of World War II, long before an Allied victory was assured and before the scope of the atrocities orchestrated by Hitler would come into focus or even assume the name of the Holocaust, Allied forces had begun to prepare for its aftermath. Taking cues from the end of the First World War, planners had begun the futile task of preparing themselves for a civilian health crisis that, due in large part to advances in medical science, would never come. The problem that emerged was not widespread disease among Europe’s population, as anticipated, but massive displacement among those who had been uprooted from home and country during the war. Displaced Persons, as the refugees would come to be known, were not comprised entirely of Jews. Millions of Latvians, Poles, Ukrainians, and Yugoslavs, in addition to several hundred thousand Germans, were situated in a limbo long overlooked by historians. While many were speedily repatriated, millions of refugees refused to return to countries that were forever changed by the war—a crisis that would take years to resolve and would become the defining legacy of World War II. Indeed many of the postwar questions that haunted the Allied planners still confront us today: How can humanitarian aid be made to work? What levels of immigration can our societies absorb? How can an occupying power restore prosperity to a defeated enemy? Including new documentation in the form of journals, oral histories, and essays by actual DPs unearthed during his research for this illuminating and radical reassessment of history, Ben Shephard brings to light the extraordinary stories and myriad versions of the war experienced by the refugees and the new United Nations Relief and Rehabilitation Administration that would undertake the responsibility of binding the wounds of an entire continent. Groundbreaking and remarkably relevant to conflicts that continue to plague peacekeeping efforts, The Long Road Home tells the epic story of how millions redefined the notion of home amid painstaking recovery. From the Hardcover edition.
World War II gripped Poland as it did no other country. Invaded by Germany and the USSR, it was occupied from the first day of war to the last, and then endured 44 years behind the Iron Curtain while its wartime partners celebrated their freedom. The Eagle Unbowed tells, for the first time, the story of Poland’s war in its entirety and complexity.
Sixty million people died in the Second World War, and still they tell us it was the Peoples War. The official history of the Second World War is Victors History. This is the history of the Second World War without the patriotic whitewash. The Second World War was not fought to stop fascism, or to liberate Europe. It was a war between imperialist powers to decide which among them would rule over the world, a division of the spoils of empire, and an iron cage for working people, enslaved to the war production drive. The unpatriotic history of the Second World War explains why the Great Powers fought most of their war not in their own countries, but in colonies in North Africa, in the Far East and in Germanys hoped-for Empire in the East. Find out how wildcat strikes, partisans in Europe and Asia, and soldiers mutinies came close to ending the war. And find out how the Allies invaded Europe and the Far East to save capitalism from being overthrown. James Heartfield challenges the received wisdom of the Second World War.
This volume presents the intellectual autobiographies of fourteen leading scholars in the fields of history, literature, film and cultural studies who have dedicated a considerable part of their career to researching the history and memories of France during the Second World War. Basedin five different countries, Margaret Atack, Marc Dambre, Laurent Douzou, Hilary Footitt, Robert Gildea, Richard J. Golsan, Bertram M. Gordon, Christopher Lloyd, Colin Nettelbeck, Denis Peschanski, Renée Poznanski, Henry Rousso, Peter Tame, and Susan Rubin Suleiman have playeda crucial role in shaping and reshaping what has become a thought-provoking field of research. This volume, which also includes an interview with historian Robert O. Paxton, clarifies the rationales and driving forces behind their work and thus behind our current understanding of one of the darkest and most vividly remembered pages of history in contemporary France.
Japan's Occupation of Java in the Second World War draws upon written and oral Japanese, Indonesian, Dutch and English-language sources to narrate the Japanese occupation of Java as a transnational intersection between two complex Asian societies, placing this narrative in a larger wartime context of domestic, regional, and global crisis. Japan's occupation of Java is here revealed in a radically new and nuanced light, as an ambiguous encounter revolutionary in the degree of mutual interests that drew the two sides together, fascinating and tragic in its evolution, and profound in the legacies left behind. Mark structures his study around a diverse group of Japanese and Indonesians captivated by the wartime vision of a 'Greater Asia.' The book is not only the first transnational study of Japan's wartime occupation of Java, but the first to focus on the Second World War experience in transnational terms 'on the ground' anywhere in Asia. Breaking new ground interpretatively, thematically and narratively, Mark's monumental study is of vital significance for students and scholars of modern Asian and global history. This book is published in partnership with Columbia University's Weatherhead East Asian Institute (http://weai.columbia.edu/japans-occupation-of-java/).