The Most Devastating Battle of the Great War in the Words of Those Who Survived
Author: Joshua Levine
Publisher: Random House
1916. The Somme. With over a million casualties, it was the most brutal battle of World War I. It is a clash that even now, over 90 years later, remains seared into the national consciousness, conjuring up images of muddy trenches and young lives tragically wasted. Its first day, July 1st 1916 - on which the British suffered 57,470 casualties, including 19,240 dead - is the bloodiest day in the history of the British armed forces to date. On the German side, an officer famously described it as 'the muddy grave of the German field army'. By the end of the battle, the British had learned many lessons in modern warfare while the Germans had suffered irreplaceable losses, ultimately laying the foundations for the Allies' final victory on the Western Front. Drawing on a wealth of material from the vast Imperial War Museum Sound Archive, Forgotten Voices of the Somme presents an intimate, poignant, sometimes even bleakly funny insight into life on the front line: from the day-to-day struggle of extraordinary circumstances to the white heat of battle and the constant threat of injury or death. Featuring contributions from soldiers of both sides and of differing backgrounds, ranks and roles, many of them previously unpublished, this is the definitive oral history of this unique and terrible conflict.
In 1960, the Imperial War Museum began a momentous and important task. A team of academics, archivists and volunteers set about tracing WWI veterans and interviewing them at length in order to record the experiences of ordinary individuals in war. The IWM aural archive has become the most important archive of its kind in the world. Authors have occasionally been granted access to the vaults, but digesting the thousands of hours of footage is a monumental task. Now, forty years on, the Imperial War Museum has at last given author Max Arthur and his team of researchers unlimited access to the complete WWI tapes. These are the forgotten voices of an entire generation of survivors of the Great War. The resulting book is an important and compelling history of WWI in the words of those who experienced it.
The twenty-seven original contributions to this volume investigate the ways in which the First World War has been commemorated and represented internationally in prose fiction, drama, film, docudrama and comics from the 1960s until the present. The volume thus provides a comprehensive survey of the cultural memory of the war as reflected in various media across national cultures, addressing the complex connections between the cultural post-memory of the war and its mediation. In four sections, the essays investigate (1) the cultural legacy of the Great War (including its mythology and iconography); (2) the implications of different forms and media for representing the war; (3) ‘national’ memories, foregrounding the differences in post-memory representations and interpretations of the Great War, and (4) representations of the Great War within larger temporal or spatial frameworks, focusing specifically on the ideological dimensions of its ‘remembrance’ in historical, socio-political, gender-oriented, and post-colonial contexts.
In Hope and Glory Stuart Maconie goes in search of the days that shaped the Britain we live in today. Taking one event from each decade of the 20th century, he visits the places where history happened and still echoes down the years. Stuart goes to Orgreave and Windsor, Wembley and Wootton Bassett, assembling a unique cast of Britons from Sir Edmund Hillary to Sid Vicious along the way. It’s quite a trip, full of sex and violence and the occasional scone and jigsaw. From pop stars to politicians, Suffragettes to punks, this is a journey around Britain in search of who we are.
From the end of 1941 to 1945 a pivotal but often overlooked conflict was being fought in the South-East Asian Theatre of World War 2 - the Burma Campaign. In 1941 the Allies fought in a disastrous retreat across Burma against the Japanese - an enemy more prepared, better organised and more powerful than anyone had imagined. Yet in 1944, following key battles at Kohima and Imphal, and daring operations behind enemy lines by the Chindits, the Commonwealth army were back, retaking lost ground one bloody battle at a time. Fighting in dense jungle and open paddy field, this brutal campaign was the longest fought by the British Commonwealth in the Second World War. But the troops taking part were a forgotten army, and the story of their remarkable feats and their courage remains largely untold to this day. The Fourteenth Army in Burma became one of the largest and most diverse armies of the Second World War. British, West African, Ghurkha and Indian regiments fought alongside one another and became comrades. In Forgotten Voices of Burma - a remarkable new oral history taken from Imperial War Museum's Sound Archive - soldiers from both sides tell their stories of this epic conflict.
The subject of the new major film by Christopher Nolan It could have been the biggest military disaster suffered by the British in the Second World War, but against all odds the British Army was successfully evacuated, and 'Dunkirk spirit' became synonymous with the strength of the British people in adversity. On the same day that Winston Churchill became Prime Minister, Nazi troops invaded Holland, Luxembourg and Belgium. The eight-month period of calm that had existed since the declaration of war was over. But the defences constructed by the Allies in preparation failed to repel a German army with superior tactics.The British Expeditionary Force soon found themselves in an increasingly chaotic retreat. By the end of May 1940, over 400,000 Allied troops were trapped in and around the port of Dunkirk without shelter or supplies. Hitler's army was just ten miles away. On 26 May, the British Admiralty launched Operation Dynamo. This famous rescue mission sent every available vessel - from navy destroyers and troopships to pleasure cruisers and fishing boats - over the Channel to Dunkirk. Of the 850 'Little Ships' that sailed to Dunkirk, 235 were sunk by German aircraft or mines, but over this nine day period 338,000 British and French troops were safely evacuated. Drawing on the wealth of material from the Imperial War Museum Sound Archive, Forgotten Voices of Dunkirk presents in the words of both rescued and rescuers in an intimate and dramatic account of what Winston Churchill described as a 'miracle of deliverance'.
6 June 1944is one of the most momentous days in history: the day Allied forces crossed the Channel and began fighting their way into Nazi-occupied Northwest Europe. Preceded by airborne units and covered by air and naval bombardment, the Normandy landings were the most ambitious combined airborne and amphibious assault ever attempted. Their success marked the beginning of the end for Nazi Germany. Drawing on thousands of hours of eyewitness testimony recorded by the Imperial War Museum,Forgotten Voices of D-Daytells the compelling story of this turning point in the Second World War in the words of those who were there. We hear from paratroopers and commandos, glider pilots and landing craft crewmen, airmen and naval personnel. We learn first-hand of what it was like as men waited to go in, as they neared the beaches and drop zones, as they landed and met the enemy. Accounts range from memories of the daring capture of 'Pegasus' bridge by British glider-bourn troops to recollections of brutal fighting as the assault forces stormed the beaches. Shedding fresh light too on the American contribution, they include the memories of British personnel caught up in the terrible events at Omaha Beach where United States forces suffered over 2,000 casualties. Featuring a mass of previously unpublished material,Forgotten Voices of D-Dayis a powerful and important new record of a defining moment in modern history.
Including a 60-minute DVD with rare contemporary footage taking you right into the battle, this title is an illustrated history of the deadly Somme offensive of 1916. It takes a look at the outbreak and progress of this bloody war, with reasons behind it, its impact and aftermath.
The first reference book to deal so fully and incisively with the cultural representations of war in 20th-century English and US literature and film. The volume covers the two World Wars as well as specific conflicts that generated literary and imaginativ
From one of our most distinguished historians, an authoritative and vivid account of the devastating World War I battle that claimed more than 300,000 lives At 7:30 am on July 1, 1916, the first Allied soldiers climbed out of their trenches along the Somme River in France and charged out into no-man's-land toward the barbed wire and machine guns at the German front lines. By the end of this first day of the Allied attack, the British army alone would lose 20,000 men; in the coming months, the fifteen-mile-long territory along the river would erupt into the epicenter of the Great War. The Somme would mark a turning point in both the war and military history, as soldiers saw the first appearance of tanks on the battlefield, the emergence of the air war as a devastating and decisive factor in battle, and more than one million casualties (among them a young Adolf Hitler, who took a fragment in the leg). In just 138 days, 310,000 men died. In this vivid, deeply researched account of one history's most destructive battles, historian Martin Gilbert tracks the Battle of the Somme through the experiences of footsoldiers (known to the British as the PBI, for Poor Bloody Infantry), generals, and everyone in between. Interwoven with photographs, journal entries, original maps, and documents from every stage and level of planning, The Somme is the most authoritative and affecting account of this bloody turning point in the Great War.