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If a mere seven more MPs had voted with Prime Minister JBM Hertzog in favour of neutrality, South Africa’s history would have been quite different.
Parliament’s narrow decision to go to war in 1939 led to a seismic upheaval throughout the 1940s: black people streamed in their thousands from rural areas to the cities in search of jobs; volunteers of all races answered the call to go ‘up north’ to fight; and opponents of the Smuts government actively hindered the war effort by attacking soldiers and committing acts of sabotage. World War Two upended South Africa’s politics, ruining attempts to forge white unity and galvanising opposition to segregation among African, Indian and coloured communities. It also sparked debates among nationalists, socialists, liberals and communists such as the country had never previously experienced.
As Richard Steyn recounts so compellingly in 7 Votes, the war’s unforeseen consequence was the boost it gave to nationalism, both Afrikaner and African, that went on to transform the country in the second half of the 20th century. The book brings to life an extraordinary cast of characters, including wartime leader Jan Smuts, DF Malan and his National Party colleagues, African nationalists from Anton Lembede and AB Xuma to Walter Sisulu and Nelson Mandela, the influential Indian activists Yusuf Dadoo and Monty Naicker, and many others.
The Last Hurrah describes in vivid detail a pivotal moment not just in the history of South Africa, that far-flung imperial outpost, but of the British Empire itself. The year 1947 marked the high-water mark of the British Empire in Africa, but also the very moment at which it began to unravel, ahead of the Afrikaner Nationalist victory in South Africa in 1948, which led inexorably to the Republic of South Africa in 1961 and its departure from the Commonwealth.
Graham Viney's book not only superbly captures a moment in the life of a fractious, recently formed 'nation', before its descent into nearly five decades of darkness, but also gives us an intimate and revealing portrait of the royal family - King George VI, Queen Elizabeth and the Princesses Elizabeth and Margaret - hard at work in support of the national interest. It seems clear that the present Queen Elizabeth must have learned a great deal from her father, but perhaps particularly her mother, about duty and statecraft in the course of this three-month tour, during which the then princess celebrated her twenty-first birthday.
Viney evocatively details the background to the 1947 royal tour of southern Africa, which took in not just the length and breadth of what was then the Union of South Africa, but its neighbours, too: Basutoland (now Lesotho), Bechuanaland (Botswana), Swaziland (very recently renamed the Kingdom of eSwatini), Southern Rhodesia (Zimbabwe) and Northern Rhodesia (Zambia). The royal family travelled ceaselessly, from February to April that year, on a specially commissioned, white-painted train, meeting thousands of people at every stop along the way.
The tour was a show of imperial solidarity and a recognition of South Africa's contribution to the Allied cause during the Second World War, specifically that of South African prime minister Jan Smuts, who, though once an adversary in the Boer War and Churchill's jailer, had served in both British war cabinets and been nicknamed 'the handyman of Empire'. Despite concerns and ongoing controversy, wherever the tour took the Royal Family, South Africans of all kinds turned out in their thousands to cheer and welcome them. But India was to gain independence later that same year and just one year later, Smuts had been ousted from power and South Africa set on the path to becoming a republic.
The Last Hurrah draws skilfully on many diverse sources, including the Royal Archive at Windsor, to explore not just the troubled politics of the time, but also local society and the royal visitors in richly textured, telling detail. The book includes many photographs of the royal family on tour not previously published, including stills from film footage unearthed in the South African Railway Museum archives.
From the secret SAS archives, and acclaimed author Ben Macintyre: the first ever authorized history of the SAS.
In the summer of 1941, at the height of the war in the Western Desert, a bored and eccentric young officer, David Stirling, came up with a plan that was radical and entirely against the rules: a small undercover unit that would inflict chaos and mayhem behind enemy lines. Despite intense opposition, Winston Churchill personally gave Stirling permission to recruit the toughest, brightest and most ruthless soldiers he could find. So began the most celebrated and mysterious military organisation in the world: the SAS. Now, 75 years later, the SAS has finally decided to tell its astonishing story. It has opened its secret archives for the first time, granting historian Ben Macintyre full access to a treasure trove of unseen reports, memos, diaries, letters, maps and photographs, as well as free rein to interview surviving Originals and those who knew them.
The result is an exhilarating tale of fearlessness and heroism, recklessness and tragedy; of extraordinary men who were willing to take monumental risks. It is a story about the meaning of courage.
Historian Karen Horn painstakingly tracked down a number of former POWs in which their interviews reveal rich narratives of hardship, endurance, humour, longing and self-discovery. Instead of fighting, these men adapted to another war, one which was fought on the inside of many prison camps.
In their interviews, all the POWs expressed surprise at being asked to share their experiences of almost 70 years earlier.They returned home in 1945 to a country which soon afterwards tried its utmost to promote national amnesia with regard to the country’s participation in the war.
With great insight and empathy, Karen Horn shines a light on a neglected corner of South African history. Karen Horn is a lecturer at Stellenbosch University.
An authentic account of one of the most pivotal battles of World War Two. The World War Two invasion known as D-Day was one of the largest military endeavours in history. It involved years of planning, total secrecy and not only soldiers but also sailors, paratroopers and many specialists. Acclaimed author Deborah Hopkinson weaves together the contributions of key players in D-Day in a masterful tapestry of official documents, personal narratives and archival photos to provide an action-packed and authentic account.
Tyrant, psychopath, and implementer of a ruthless programme of racial extermination, Adolf Hitler was also the charismatic Fuhrer of millions of dedicated followers. In this major new biography, internationally acclaimed German historian Peter Longerich brings Hitler back to centre-stage in the history of Nazism, revealing a far more active and interventionist dictator than we are familiar with from recent accounts, with a flexibility of approach that often surprises. Whether it was foreign policy, war-making, terror, mass murder, cultural and religious affairs, or even mundane everyday matters, Longerich reveals how decisive a force Hitler was in the formulation of policy, sometimes right down to the smallest details, in a way which until now has not been fully appreciated. Consistently and ruthlessly destroying both the people and the power structures that stood in his way, Longerich shows how over time Hitler succeeded in forging his 'Fuhrer dictatorship' - with terrifying and almost limitless power over the German people.
Lives Reclaimed tells an extraordinary story of resistance against the Nazi regime and help for Jews in the Third Reich. Still largely unknown today, 'The Bund' were a small left-wing group based in Germany's industrial heartland. Initially preoccupied with surviving the Nazi onslaught and adapting to clandestine life under a dictatorship, in 1938 the men and women of the Bund were shocked by the anti-Jewish violence of Kristallnacht into reaching out to their Jewish neighbours. Using an unparalleled trove of previously undiscovered private papers, Mark Roseman places support for Jews under the shadow of Nazism in a completely new light, exploring the striking palette of gestures and actions that proved possible even in Nazi Germany - from simple symbolic acts of solidarity, through sending parcels to the Polish ghettos and Theresienstadt, to providing false identities and hiding people on the run. In doing so, he uncovers the challenges of living and acting under a dictatorship when neighbours and acquaintances might be as great a threat as the Gestapo, and examines the experiences of those assisted by the group, as they hid in plain sight, moving from address to address. Throughout, we are prompted to ask what drove and equipped the Bund to step into the broken glass of Kristallnacht, to visit Jewish organizations and Jewish barracks to ascertain local needs, to line up in the post-office with packages for Theresienstadt, or to brave a visit to the cells in a local police station with a message for imprisoned Jews? Although not the first book to tell the story of Jews saved from Nazi persecution, the story of the Bund is unique in the way it is able to pursue the choices, dilemmas, fears, and hopes of the helpers themselves, observing them through the changing conditions of both war and Holocaust.
A TOP TEN SUNDAY TIMES BESTSELLER The incredible story of the greatest female spy in history, from one of Britain's most acclaimed historians In a quiet English village in 1942, an elegant housewife emerged from her cottage to go on her usual bike ride. A devoted wife and mother-of-three, the woman known to her neighbours as Mrs Burton seemed to epitomise rural British domesticity. However, rather than pedalling towards the shops with her ration book, she was racing through the Oxfordshire countryside to gather scientific intelligence from one of the country's most brilliant nuclear physicists. Secrets that she would transmit to Soviet intelligence headquarters via the radio transmitter she was hiding in her outdoor privy. Far from a British housewife, 'Mrs Burton' - born Ursula Kuczynski, and codenamed 'Sonya' - was a German Jew, a dedicated communist, a colonel in Russia's Red Army, and a highly-trained spy. From planning an assassination attempt on Hitler in Switzerland, to spying on the Japanese in Manchuria, and helping the Soviet Union build the atom bomb, Sonya conducted some of the most dangerous espionage operations of the twentieth century. Her story has never been told - until now. Agent Sonya is the exhilarating account of one woman's life; a life that encompasses the rise and fall of communism itself, and altered the course of history. 'Macintyre does true-life espionage better than anyone else' John Preston 'His best book yet' The Times
THE SUNDAY TIMES NON FICTION BESTSELLER 'The best book you will ever read about Britain's greatest warplane.' Patrick Bishop, bestselling author of Fighter Boys. 'A rich and heartfelt tribute to this most iconic British machine. By focussing on the men (and women) who flew the Spitfire, John Nichol has brought a fresh and powerful perspective to the story. And by recording their bravery, humility, camaraderie, tragedy and sheer joy in flying their beloved Spits he has done them - and us - a valuable service' Rowland White, bestselling author of Vulcan 607 'As the RAF marks its centenary, Nichol has created a thrilling and often moving tribute to some of its greatest heroes.' Jon Dennis, Mail on Sunday magazine. 'A stirring portrait of a piece of aviation art in motion flown by the bravest of the brave. Nichol's Spitfire is still a sky-borne prima ballerina that kicks like Bruce Lee.' The Royal Air Force Times. 'A superb and compelling book. Brilliantly written with some incredible and astonishing stories; it is gripping, moving, emotional and sometimes humorous - just perfect' Squadron Leader (Ret) Clive Rowley, former Officer Commanding RAF Battle Of Britain Memorial Flight 'A superb journey through the remarkable tale of that British icon, the Spitfire. Brilliantly and engagingly written, this is the most readable story of the aircraft and her pilots that I have ever had the pleasure to read in a period spanning some forty-odd years of personal study and research. Truly stunning.' Andy Saunders, Editor, Britain at War Magazine. The perfect complementary narrative to the bestselling memoir by Geoffrey Wellum - First Light. Achtung, Spitfire! The iconic Spitfire found fame during the darkest early days of World War II. But what happened to the redoubtable fighter and its crews beyond the Battle of Britain, and why is it still so loved today? In late spring 1940, Nazi Germany's domination of Europe had looked unstoppable. With the British Isles in easy reach since the fall of France, Adolf Hitler was convinced that Great Britain would be defeated in the skies over her southern coast, confident his Messerschmitts and Heinkels would outclass anything the Royal Air Force threw at them. What Hitler hadn't planned for was the agility and resilience of a marvel of British engineering that would quickly pass into legend - the Spitfire. Bestselling author John Nichol's passionate portrait of this magnificent fighter aircraft, its many innovations and updates, and the people who flew and loved them, carries the reader beyond the dogfights over Kent and Sussex. Spanning the full global reach of the Spitfire's deployment during WWII, from Malta to North Africa and the Far East, then over the D-Day beaches, it is always accessible, effortlessly entertaining and full of extraordinary spirit. Here are edge-of-the-seat stories and heart-stopping first-hand accounts of battling pilots forced to bail out over occupied territory; of sacrifice and wartime love; of aristocratic female flyers, and of the mechanics who braved the Nazi onslaught to keep the aircraft in battle-ready condition. Nichol takes the reader on a hair-raising, nail-biting and moving wartime history of the iconic Spitfire populated by a cast of redoubtable, heroic characters that make you want to stand up and cheer. John Nichol's new book, Lancaster: The Forging of a Very British Legend, is available for preorder now.
'History's greatest story reinvigorated as only Alex Kershaw can' -Adam Makos, New York Times bestselling author of A Higher Call 'An absolute triumph' -James M. Scott, Pulitzer Prize Finalist and national bestselling author of Target Tokyo and Rampage 'The unforgettable human drama of history's most consequential invasion' -John C. McManus, author of The Dead and Those About to Die: D-Day-The Big Red One at Omaha Beach Beginning in the pre-dawn darkness of June 6, 1944, The First Wave follows ten men attempting to carry out D-Day's most critical missions. Their actions would determine the fate of the invasion of Hitler's Fortress Europe. The ten make a charismatic, unforgettable cast. They include the first American paratrooper to touch down on Normandy soil; the only British soldier that day to earn a Victoria's Cross; the Canadian brothers who led their decimated troops onto Juno Beach under withering fire; the colonel who faced the powerful 150mm guns of the Merville Battery; as well as a French commando who helped destroy German strongholds on Sword Beach. The book will give authentic voice to the invaders' enemies, the German enlisted men and officers tasked with destroying the Allies as they hit the beaches. The result is an utterly immersive, adrenaline-driven drama, an epic of close combat and extraordinary heroism. It is the capstone Alex Kershaw's remarkable career, built on his close friendships with D-Day survivors and his intimate understanding of the Normandy battlefield. For the seventy-fifth anniversary, here is a fresh take on the Second World War's longest day. Praise for Alex Kershaw: 'From the opening pages, when Kershaw...drops us into the invasion of Paris, we know that we are in good hands. This is classic narrative nonfiction, constructed and written like a thriller.' Chicago Tribune 'Exceptional.... balances evocative prose with attention to detail and is a worthy addition to vibrant classics of small-unit history like Stephen Ambrose's Band of Brothers.' Wall Street Journal 'Kershaw's writing is seamless. He incorporates information from a vast array of sources, but it works--you get a sense of the different voices coming into the story....A gripping read.' Minneapolis Star Tribune
During World War II, the lives of millions of Americans lay precariously in the hands of a few brilliant scientists who raced to develop the first weapon of mass destruction. Elected officials gave the scientists free rein in the Manhattan Project without understanding the complexities and dangers involved in splitting the atom. The Manhattan Project was the first example of a new type of choice for congressmen, presidents, and other government officials: life and death on a national scale. From that moment, our government began fashioning public policy for issues of scientific development, discoveries, and inventions that could secure or threaten our existence and our future. But those same men and women had no training in such fields, did not understand the ramifications of the research, and relied on incomplete information to form potentially life-changing decisions. Through the story of the Manhattan Project, Neil J. Sullivan asks by what criteria the people in charge at the time made such critical decisions. He also ponders how similar judgments are reached today with similar incomprehension from those at the top as our society dives down the potential rabbit hole of bioengineering, nanotechnology, and scientific developments yet to come.
What are you willing to do to survive? What are you willing to endure if it means you might live? 'Achingly moving, gives much-needed hope . . . Deserves the status both as a valuable historical source and as a stand-out memoir' Daily Express 'A story that neads to be heard' 5***** Reader Review Entering Terezin, a Nazi concentration camp, Franci was expected to die. She refused. In the summer of 1942, twenty-two-year-old Franci Rabinek - designated a Jew by the Nazi racial laws - arrived at Terezin, a concentration camp and ghetto forty miles north of her home in Prague. It would be the beginning of her three-year journey from Terezin to the Czech family camp in Auschwitz-Birkenau, to the slave labour camps in Hamburg, and finally to Bergen Belsen. Franci, a spirited and glamorous young woman, was known among her fellow inmates as the Prague dress designer. Having endured the transportation of her parents, she never forgot her mother's parting words: 'Your only duty to us is to stay alive'. During an Auschwitz selection, Franci would spontaneously lie to Nazi officer Dr Josef Mengele, and claim to be an electrician. A split-second decision that would go on to endanger - and save - her life. Unpublished for 50 years, Franci's War is an astonishing account of one woman's attempt to survive. Heartbreaking and candid, Franci finds the light in her darkest years and the horrors she faces instill in her, strength and resilience to survive and to live again. She gives voice to the women prisoners in her tight-knit circle of friends. Her testimony sheds new light on the alliances, love affairs, and sexual barter that took place during the Holocaust, offering a compelling insight into the resilience and courage of ordinary people in an extraordinary situation. Above all, Franci's War asks us to explore what it takes to survive, and what it means to truly live. 'A candid account of shocking events. Franci is someone many women today will be able to identify with' 5***** Reader Review 'First-hand accounts of life in Nazi death camps never lose their terrible power but few are as extraordinary as Franci's War' Mail on Sunday 'Fascinating and traumatic. Well worth a read' 5***** Reader Review
Chinese leaders once tried to suppress memories of their nation's brutal experience during World War II. Now they celebrate the "victory"-a key foundation of China's rising nationalism. For most of its history, the People's Republic of China limited public discussion of the war against Japan. It was an experience of victimization-and one that saw Mao Zedong and Chiang Kai-shek fighting for the same goals. But now, as China grows more powerful, the meaning of the war is changing. Rana Mitter argues that China's reassessment of the World War II years is central to its newfound confidence abroad and to mounting nationalism at home. China's Good War begins with the academics who shepherded the once-taboo subject into wider discourse. Encouraged by reforms under Deng Xiaoping, they researched the Guomindang war effort, collaboration with the Japanese, and China's role in forming the post-1945 global order. But interest in the war would not stay confined to scholarly journals. Today public sites of memory-including museums, movies and television shows, street art, popular writing, and social media-define the war as a founding myth for an ascendant China. Wartime China emerges as victor rather than victim. The shifting story has nurtured a number of new views. One rehabilitates Chiang Kai-shek's war efforts, minimizing the bloody conflicts between him and Mao and aiming to heal the wounds of the Cultural Revolution. Another narrative positions Beijing as creator and protector of the international order that emerged from the war-an order, China argues, under threat today largely from the United States. China's radical reassessment of its collective memory of the war has created a new foundation for a people destined to shape the world.
'Extraordinary...serious naval history and a detective story, told with passion.' The Times 'Vividly detailed...compelling yet comprehensive.' Los Angeles Times 'Simply outstanding.' Booklist (starred review) 'Gripping... This yarn has it all.' USA Today The sinking of the USS Indianapolis is still the biggest single loss of life at sea to be suffered by the United States navy. From a crew of 1,196 men, only 317 survived. Torpedoed by the Japanese, dying of thirst and eaten by sharks. For 70 years, the story of the USS Indianapolis has been told as a sinking story, or a shark story, or a story of military justice gone awry. But in Indianapolis, the true story of this mighty vessel is revealed. As the USS Arizona embodies the beginning of the Pacific war, the USS Indianapolis embodies its fiery end. From its bridge, Admiral Raymond Spruance devised and executed the island-hopping campaign that decimated Japan's Navy and Army. Its crew led the fleet from Pearl Harbour to the islands of Japan, notching an unbroken string of victories in an exotic and uncharted theatre of war. When the time came for President Harry S. Truman to deal Japan the decisive blow, Indianapolis answered the call. And super-spy Major Robert S. Furman climbed aboard, secreting the components of the world's first atomic bomb. Four days after delivering her ominous cargo to the island of Tinian, the Indianapolis was sunk by a Japanese submarine, with nearly 900 men lost. The captain, Charles B. McVay III, was wrongly court-martialled for negligence over the sinking. Decades after these events, the survivors of the Indianapolis, as well as the Japanese submarine commander who sank it, joined together to finally exonerate McVay.
The remarkable story of Fred Mayer, a German-born Jew who escaped Nazi Germany only to return as an American commando on a secret mission behind enemy lines Growing up in Germany, Freddy Mayer witnessed the Nazis' rise to power. When he was sixteen, his family made the decision to flee to the United States--they were among the last German Jews to escape, in 1938. In America, Freddy tried enlisting the day after Pearl Harbor, only to be rejected as an "enemy alien" because he was German. He was soon recruited to the OSS, the country's first spy outfit before the CIA. Freddy, joined by Dutch Jewish refugee Hans Wynberg and Nazi defector Franz Weber, parachuted into Austria as the leader of Operation Greenup, meant to deter Hitler's last stand. He posed as a Nazi officer and a French POW for months, dispatching reports to the OSS via Hans, holed up with a radio in a nearby attic. The reports contained a gold mine of information, provided key intelligence about the Battle of the Bulge, and allowed the Allies to bomb twenty Nazi trains. On the verge of the Allied victory, Freddy was captured by the Gestapo and tortured and waterboarded for days. Remarkably, he persuaded the region's Nazi commander to surrender, completing one of the most successful OSS missions of the war. Based on years of research and interviews with Mayer himself, whom the author was able to meet only months before his death at the age of ninety-four, Return to the Reich is an eye-opening, unforgettable narrative of World War II heroism.
The powerful, heart-breaking memoir of Dita Kraus, the real-life Librarian of Auschwitz
Born in Prague to a Jewish family in 1929, Dita Kraus has lived through the most turbulent decades of the twentieth and early twenty-first centuries. Here, Dita writes with startling clarity on the horrors and joys of a life delayed by the Holocaust. From her earliest memories and childhood friendships in Prague before the war, to the Nazi-occupation that saw her and her family sent to the Jewish ghetto at Terezín, to the unimaginable fear and bravery of her imprisonment in Auschwitz and Bergen-Belsen, and life after liberation.
Dita writes unflinchingly about the harsh conditions of the camps and her role as librarian of the precious books that her fellow prisoners managed to smuggle past the guards. But she also looks beyond the Holocaust – to the life she rebuilt after the war: her marriage to fellow survivor Otto B Kraus, a new life in Israel and the happiness and heartbreaks of motherhood.
Part of Dita's story was told in fictional form in the Sunday Times bestseller The Librarian of Auschwitz by Antonio Iturbe. Her memoir tells the full story in her own words.
Winds, Waves, and Warriors examines the oceanographic conditions that U.S. military planners considered, or should have considered, when landing troops and vehicles on the beach at three historic amphibious assaults: Normandy, Tarawa, and Inchon. Oceanographer Thomas M. Mitchell brings welcome insight into a little-studied yet extraordinary aspect of ground warfare by explaining why certain tidal and weather conditions existed at those specific places and times, and how they affected the Army and Marine foot soldiers fighting to get ashore. Mitchell offers easy-to-understand descriptions of basic oceanographic concepts and applies them to actual amphibious operations. Winds and waves hampered the Allies' efforts on D-Day but less than they would have had the soldiers attempted storming the beach at Normandy the day before or after. Coral reefs and tides contributed to high Marine casualties at Tarawa Atoll in the Pacific. General Douglas MacArthur used the element of surprise by attacking the North Koreans at Inchon despite treacherous soft mud bottoms and unfavorable tidal conditions. Mitchell details how wartime necessity led to the development of clever methods to estimate such factors as water depth, beach slope, and underwater shoals, all of which affected troops' assaults and potentially changed the outcomes of key battles. An Army Air Corps lieutenant, for example, dug a hole on the beach at Normandy to help him predict tides more accurately. The Army's Beach Erosion Board and research groups such as the Scripps Institution of Oceanography exploited elementary principles of physical oceanography to develop crude but effective instruments and techniques for ocean remote sensing and forecasting. Indeed, soldiers, Marines, staff planners, commanders, oceanographers, meteorologists, and researchers all contributed to some of the largest and most important military invasions in history. Winds, Waves, and Warriors tells of the U.S. military's struggles with a foe that was sometimes just as formidable and unpredictable as the opposing army. When unheeded, unfavorable weather and ocean conditions could lead to tragic and avoidable deaths. The threat posed by the ocean at these three historic battles was an important factor not only in the outcomes of these operations but also to the survival of the troops who fought there.
A poignant description of one of Europe's most well known war cemeteries. Based on interviews and personal experiences, this work includes images, including photographs by Corporal Eric Gunton of Number 32 Graves Registration Unit, who photographed the cemetery as it took shape. Look out for more Pitkin Guides on the very best of British and French history, heritage and travel.
On 6 June the greatest landing force ever assembled began the Allied Liberation of France and Europe. In this classic Pitkin Guide, enhanced with many contemporary photographs and maps, visitors and veterans can visit the beaches, landmarks, museums and cemeteries of Normandy. This edition includes a CD of Mongomery and Churchill. Look out for more Pitkin Guides on the very best of British history, heritage and travel.
The Second World War almost destroyed Stalin's Soviet Union. But victory over Nazi Germany provided the dictator with his great opportunity: to expand Soviet power way beyond the borders of the Soviet state. Well before the shooting stopped in 1945, the Soviet leader methodically set about the unprecedented task of creating a Red Empire that would soon stretch into the heart of Europe and Asia, displaying a supreme realism and ruthlessness that Machiavelli would surely have envied. By the time of his death in 1953, his new imperium was firmly in place, defining the contours of a Cold War world that was seemingly permanent and indestructible - and would last until the collapse of the Berlin Wall in 1989. But what were Stalin's motives in this spectacular power grab? Was he no more than a latter-day Russian tsar, for whom Communist ideology was little more than a smoke-screen? Or was he simply a psychopathic killer? In Stalin's Curse, best-selling historian Robert Gellately firmly rejects both these simplifications of the man and his motives. Using a wealth of previously unavailable documentation, Gellately shows instead how Stalin's crimes are more accurately understood as the deeds of a ruthless and life-long Leninist revolutionary. Far from being a latter day 'Red Tsar' intent simply upon imperial expansion for its own sake, Stalin was in fact deeply inspired by the rhetoric of the Russian revolution and what Lenin had accomplished during the Great War. As Gellately convincingly shows, Stalin remained throughout these years steadfastly committed to a 'boundless faith' in Communism - and saw the Second World War as his chance to take up once again the old revolutionary mission to carry the Red Flag to the world.
This compelling book on Hitler and Stalin - the culmination of thirty years' work - examines the two tyrants during the Second World War, when Germany and the Soviet Union fought the biggest and bloodiest war in history. Yet despite the fact they were bitter opponents, Laurence Rees shows that Hitler and Stalin were, to a large extent, different sides of the same coin. Hitler's charismatic leadership may contrast with Stalin's regimented rule by fear; and his intransigence later in the war may contrast with Stalin's change in behaviour in response to events. But at a macro level, both were prepared to create undreamt of suffering, destroy individual liberty and twist facts in order to build the Utopia they wanted, and while Hitler's creation of the Holocaust remains a singular crime, Rees shows why we must not forget that Stalin committed a series of atrocities at the same time. Using previously unpublished, startling eyewitness testimony from soldiers of the Red Army and Wehrmacht, civilians who suffered during the conflict, and those who knew both men personally, bestselling historian Laurence Rees - probably the only person alive who has met Germans who worked for Hitler and Russians who worked for Stalin - challenges long-held popular misconceptions about two of the most important figures in history. This is a masterwork from one of our finest historians.
The Blitz was a defining moment of the Second World War when civilians faced total war from the air with bombing raids over Britain. This title brings back the effect of the chilling wail of the air-raid siren followed by anxious, sleepless nights and stories of bravery from ordinary people in extraordinary situations. Well-illustrated with contemporary photographs, this book explores the Blitz and its effect on places and people.
South Africa’s Union Defence Force played an important part in World War II and also made tremendous sacrifices. By early 1941 South Africa had 30 000 troops in East Africa, where it helped drive the Italians out of Abyssinia and Somalia. This campaign was mere prelude to the operations it would conduct as part of the British Eighth Army against Erwin Rommel’s Afrika Korps in North Africa.
In November 1941 the battle-hardened Afrika Korps decimated a South African force at Sidi Rezegh in Libya. Six weeks later, South Africans captured the ports of Bardia and Sollum, after Rommel withdrew to the west. Rommel regrouped and attacked again, driving the South Africans and British back toward the vital port of Tobruk. The situation was tenuous at best ‒ South African general Hendrik Klopper surrendered his trapped force of 35 000 men, including 10 000 South Africans, in June 1942.
When Rommel attacked El Alamein a week later, his lead elements were pinned down by South Africans, who went on to play a significant role in the month-long battle that halted Rommel’s advance into Egypt.
**THE INTERNATIONAL BESTSELLER** 25th Anniversary Edition. Foreword by Tom Hanks. The book that inspired Steven Spielberg's acclaimed TV series, produced by Tom Hanks and starring Damian Lewis. In Band of Brothers, Stephen E. Ambrose pays tribute to the men of Easy Company, a crack rifle company in the US Army. From their rigorous training in Georgia in 1942 to the dangerous parachute landings on D-Day and their triumphant capture of Hitler's `Eagle's Nest' in Berchtesgaden. Ambrose tells the story of this remarkable company. Repeatedly send on the toughest missions, these brave men fought, went hungry, froze and died in the service of their country. Celebrating the 25th anniversary since the original publication, this reissue contains a new foreword from Tom Hanks who was an executive producer on the award-winning HBO series. A tale of heroic adventures and soul-shattering confrontations, Band of Brothers brings back to life, as only Stephen E. Ambrose can, the profound ties of brotherhood forged in the barracks and on the battlefields. `History boldly told and elegantly written . . . Gripping' Wall Street Journal `Ambrose proves once again he is a masterful historian . . . spellbinding' People
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