All Hell Let Loose: The World at War 1939 -1945
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From one of our finest historians, a magisterial account of the most terrible event in history -- World War II.
The horror of World War II touched the lives of millions across the globe. Few could find the words to describe it, only that the carnage they experienced resembled 'all hell let loose'.
The eminent historian Max Hastings here encapsulates life through war for the ordinary people involved --soldiers, sailors and airmen; British housewives and Indian peasants; SS killers and the citizens of Leningrad: Japanese suicide pilots and American carrier crews. This 'everyman's story' employs top-down analysis and bottom-up testimony to reveal the meaning of this vast conflict and ultimately answer the question 'what was World War II like?'.
sought to exploit their naval strength to enforce a blockade of the Reich. Gamelin spoke of launching a big land offensive in 1941 or 1942. The two governments clung to hopes that the German army and people would meanwhile ‘come to their senses’ and acknowledge that they could not sustain a protracted struggle. In Poland, so the Allies’ Panglossian thinking went, Hitler’s reckless territorial aggrandisement had achieved its last triumph: the Nazis would be overthrown by sensible Germans, then an
not know what it wanted done, but it wanted something else, and above all it wanted action.’ A French naval officer and later historian, Jacques Mordal, wrote contemptuously: ‘The idea was to do something, even something stupid.’ A British scheme for mining the Rhine became a new focus of friction: Paris feared that it would provoke German retaliation. Almost nothing about these debates was known to the Allied peoples, who saw only their armies inert in the frontier snow, digging trenches and
Holland: the US 82nd and 101st were tasked to seize river and canal crossings between the Allied front line and Arnhem; the British 1st Airborne to capture the Rhine bridge and hold a perimeter beyond it. The entire formation was dispatched to a drop zone north of the great river. The American operations were largely successful, though German demolitions at Zon enforced delay while a replacement Bailey bridge was brought forward. The British, however, furthest from Montgomery’s relieving force,
human faces behind the steel.’ After one failed German attack an Australian wrote: ‘We were sitting up on the parapet, waving and singing to them. There were shouts of “Heil Hitler.” “How would a pint of beer go, mate?” “Have another go tonight,” and many other remarks not so complimentary.’ As Sergeant Sam Bradshaw searched for the rest of his tank squadron during the shambles of Crusader, he glimpsed an enemy soldier limping beside the sandy track. I drew alongside and called out, ‘Are you
millions of dispossessed peasants, alone made it possible for the country now to build the tanks and planes to resist Hitler. His prioritisation of heavy industries capable of undertaking weapons manufacture reflected his acceptance of Frunze’s total war concept. An American diplomat evacuated to Kuibyshev on the Volga was one day astonished to find himself in the midst of a vast, unidentified industrial area a few miles from the city, which the Russians had ironically christened Bezymyanny –