Anmeldelse: bind 20 - anden verdenskrig

Anmeldelse: bind 20 - anden verdenskrig


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Fra Storbritanniens svar på Michael Moore bringer Hummer's formidable redaktør Robin Ramsay dig JFK-attentatet, skjult handling, destabilisering, strategisk teori, økonomi, politik, parapolitik, Colin Wallace, Fred Holroyd, whistle-blowers, New Zealand, Australien, atomkraft våben, Blair, Brown, spionage, MI5, MI6, CIA, 9/11, konspirationsteorier og fremkomsten af ​​New Labour.

Programmet Independent Sector Treatment Center er blevet præsenteret for parlamentet og offentligheden som en måde at hjælpe NHS med at reducere ventetider for valgfrie behandlinger såsom hofte- og knæudskiftninger og fjernelse af grå stær. I virkeligheden er det en måde at give private virksomheder adgang til NHS -budgettet for sekundær klinisk behandling. Denne bog fortæller historien, først som regeringen præsenterede den, derefter som House of Commons Health Select Committee forsøgte at vurdere den, og endelig som den virkelig er - et brohoved for den private sektor til konstant at overtage NHS -tjenester og personale -voksende skala.

Det viser, hvordan programmets virkelige mål er blevet skjult, og hvordan oplysninger om det regelmæssigt er blevet masseret eller tilbageholdt. Overalt i landet lukker NHS-trusts tjenester, da patientindkomsten omdirigeres til profitproducenter på yderst fordelagtige vilkår. Målet er at få NHS -trusts til at konkurrere på et nyt sundhedsmarked. Effekten er at fremskynde fragmenteringen af ​​NHS til en række ulige enheder, hvor rentabilitet prioriteres frem for patientens behov.

Hvordan kan vi sikre offentlige tjenester af høj kvalitet såsom sundhedspleje og uddannelse? Regeringerne bruger enorme mængder offentlige penge på offentlige tjenester som sundhed, uddannelse og social pleje, og alligevel er de tjenester, der faktisk leveres, ofte af lav kvalitet, ineffektivt drevne, reagerer ikke på deres brugere og er ulige i deres distribution. I denne bog argumenterer Julian Le Grand for, at den bedste løsning er at tilbyde brugere valg og tilskynde til konkurrence mellem udbydere. Le Grand har netop afsluttet en periode som politisk rådgiver, der arbejder inden for den britiske regering på de højeste niveauer, og heraf har han opnået beviser for at understøtte hans tidligere teoretiske arbejde og har oplevet den politiske virkelighed ved at omsætte offentlig politiksteori i praksis. Han undersøger fire måder at levere offentlige tjenester på: tillid; mål og performance management; 'stemme'; og, valg og konkurrence. Han hævder, at selvom alle disse har deres fordele, har politikker, der er afhængige af at udvide valgmuligheder og konkurrence mellem udbydere, i de fleste situationer det største potentiale for at levere tjenester af høj kvalitet, effektive, lydhøre og rimelige. Men det er vigtigt, at de relevante politikker er hensigtsmæssigt designet, og denne bog giver en detaljeret diskussion af de vigtigste funktioner, som disse politikker bør have i forbindelse med sundhedspleje og uddannelse. Det afsluttes med en diskussion af valgpolitik.


20 bedste bøger fra 1. verdenskrig (anmeldelse af 2021)

Første verdenskrig er fortsat en af ​​de mest betydningsfulde begivenheder i verdenshistorien. Uanset om du er nysgerrig efter at lære mere om krigen, slægtningen kæmpede i, eller du simpelthen gerne vil lære mere om de generationer, der kom før, kan 1. verdenskrig være et fascinerende og mørkt emne. Titusinder af mennesker i hele Europa gik tabt i marken, der forskansede en kamp i løbet af denne tid. At studere første verdenskrig kan hjælpe os med at undgå at gentage disse fejltagelser fra fortiden og sikre, at vi kan studere beviserne for den tid, der førte til krigen for at forhindre de samme forhold.

Hvad er de bedste bøger fra første verdenskrig at læse?

Der er et stort antal bøger til rådighed om emnet Første Verdenskrig. Du kan have svært ved at indsnævre de rigtige bøger, som du bør læse for at fremme din viden. Her er nogle af de fineste bøger, der i øjeblikket er tilgængelige om emnet WWI.


The Forgotten 500 fortæller en historie om en af ​​de mest heroiske redningsmissioner, der fandt sted under denne store krig. En af de få redningsmissioner, der ofte bliver udeladt af historiebøger og film. Det er en fortælling om offer, om håb og om fantastiske mænd.

Da hundredvis af mænd blev skudt ud af himlen, var de over Jugoslavien, et land besat af tyskerne. Byens folk risikerede deres eget liv for at skjule mændene og give dem husly og mad, indtil de kunne flygte. Fragtfly tabte dem forsyninger, mirakuløst blev ikke skudt ned i processen. Flyvere konstruerede en komplet luftstrimmel uden forsyninger, alt imens de ikke lod tyskerne finde ud af det. Denne historie blev klassificeret i mange år efter den skete, men nu bliver historien fortalt en historie om heroiske mænd, der gjorde en fantastisk flugt.

  • Forfattere: Gregory A. Freeman (forfatter)
  • Forlægger: Dutton Caliber Reprint Edition (2. september 2008)
  • sider: 336 sider

2. Hvis du overlever: Fra Normandiet til slaget ved Bulge til slutningen af ​​Anden Verdenskrig, One American Officer ’s Riveting True Story

If You Survive fortæller historien om den ene amerikanske officer, da han risikerer sit liv i den ene kamp efter den anden under denne store krig. Han begynder historien med at fortælle om, hvordan han tilmeldte sig college, og tænkte på, at han automatisk ville blive afvist, fordi han havde briller på. Derefter blev han alligevel draftet. Han blev beordret til at tage en IQ -test og var stationeret i Georgien i fem måneder.

Derefter fortæller hans fortælling om hans erfaring inden for området, hvor han fik at vide, at hvis han kunne overleve i en enkelt dag, kunne han måske komme til en forfremmelse. Denne soldat var en af ​​de eneste mænd, der overlevede ud af sin gruppe og forbliver en national krigshelt. Lær hvad han så, ting han gjorde, og hvordan han formåede at komme ud af det i live.

  • Forfattere: George Wilson (forfatter)
  • Forlægger: Ballantine Books Reissue Edition (12. maj 1987)
  • sider: 288 sider

Anmeldelse: bind 20 - anden verdenskrig - historie

Bedragerisk tynd, R. J. Overy's Den anden verdens oprindelse Krig indeholder en masse materiale på sine 145 sider. Overys formål med at skrive denne bog er at udfordre forestillingen om, at Anden Verdenskrig var "Hitlers krig" og i stedet gøre opmærksom på de større politiske og økonomiske faktorer, der gjorde resten af ​​verden lige involveret. Mange af forklaringerne i nutidens lærebøger og klasseværelser drager for meget fordel af bagklogskab. Overy udfordrer specifikt argumentet om, at europæiske demokratier udfordrede Hitler på moralske grunde, efter at han havde opdaget, at hans appetit for ekspansion var umættelig, eller at Chamberlain og hans kabinet var svage politikere, der blev slået ned af Hitler i München og fast besluttet på at gøre op med det i Polen. Anden verdenskrig var, ligesom den første, resultatet af "gammeldags magtbalancepolitik". (2)

Fransk og britisk manglende evne til at genoptage deres dominans før 1914 skabte globale økonomiske og politiske støvsugere, som Tyskland, Italien og Japan var ivrige efter at fylde. Efterlignende britiske og franske eksempler søgte de stigende fascistiske lande imperier for at udvide deres rigdom og indflydelse. I første omgang accepterede Storbritannien og Frankrig, fordi Axis ekspansion ikke direkte påvirkede deres indflydelsessfærer og kunne ignoreres, samtidig med at de bevarede orden i hjemmet og økonomiske interesser i udlandet. Derudover håbede Storbritannien og Frankrig, at den tid, der blev købt med fred, kunne bruges på oprustning som afskrækkende for yderligere ekspansion. Til sidst gik briterne i krig om Polen, fordi tab af et andet land til tyske krav signalerede tilbagegang af britisk og fransk myndighed på kontinentet.

Efter 1940 var det tydeligt, at Storbritannien og Frankrig manglede evnen til at indeholde Tyskland og vedligeholde status quo, hvilket fører til Storbritanniens afhængighed af USA. Udviklingen i Europa tilskyndede Italien og Japan til at forfølge deres egne imperier, hvilket resulterede i angrebet på Pearl Harbor og Amerikas fulde engagement i krigen. Da krigen sluttede, havde de allierede med succes genoprettet magtbalancen, men USA og Sovjetunionen sad ved bordets hoveder i stedet for Storbritannien og Frankrig.

Efter tidligere at have skrevet mere snævert fokuserede (og meget længere) undersøgelser af Anden Verdenskrig, skal Overy tilskrives det faktum, at han kan dække så meget territorium på så få sider. Hans korthed er imidlertid ikke uden sine ulemper. Især overlader Overys fokus på imperier og økonomier lidt plads til sociale faktorer og især til tysk antisemitisme. I sin indledning erkender han, at nogle fortolkninger af Hitlers krig understreger vigtigheden af ​​nazistisk racisme, men Overy hverken bekræfter eller udfordrer disse perspektiver. Hitlers fiksering på Lebensraum i Østeuropa og den nazi-sovjetiske pagts fulde virkning kan ikke fuldt ud forstås uden nogen omtale af den nazistiske racepolitiks rolle. Overy diskuterer virkningen af ​​socialt pres på England og USA, men han burde også have gjort det i sin diskussion af andre lande.

Bogen er velstruktureret og indeholder en detaljeret indholdsfortegnelse, indeks, flere kort og en guide til hovedfigurer i teksten. Overys usædvanlige metode til citering af kilder (parenteser i teksten refererer til nummererede bibliografiske poster) kan forvirre læsere, der hopper lige ind i bogen og derefter spekulerer på, hvad "[84]" betyder. Citater, der henviser til dokumenter, samlet i et bilag, er tydeligere. Nogle direkte citater citeres ikke, og selvom disse mange citater ikke er væsentlige for argumentet, er det frustrerende, at de ikke er korrekt dokumenteret.

I betragtning af detaljeringsniveauet og niveauet af fortrolighed med moderne europæisk historie, der kræves for at forstå Overys argumenter, Oprindelsen til Anden Verdenskrig er ideel til højere division college og kandidat seminarer samt til instruktør forberedelse. Gennem hele bogen stiller Overy mange spørgsmål, der kan udløse klassedebat eller ideer til seniorafhandlinger. Bibliografien indeholder over 180 referencer til primære og sekundære kilder, der giver en fremragende ressource for studerende til at begynde deres forskning. De fleste af de sekundære kilder er på engelsk, selvom nogle få er på fransk eller tysk. Nogle af de vigtigste primære dokumenter (eller i det mindste uddrag) er inkluderet i en separat sektion af bogen instruktører finder disse nyttige ved tildeling af mindre papirer eller præsentationer.

Anden verdenskrig undervises alt for ofte i et vakuum som en begivenhed, der havde stor indflydelse på fremtiden, men hvis bånd til fortiden er lidt mere end tynde tråde, der knytter sig tilbage til den store krig. Selvom få af Overys konklusioner virkelig er nye, udfordrer hans evne til at placere krigen i sin globale økonomiske og politiske kontekst det, der undervises i de fleste bachelorklasser.


' The Storm of War ' af Andrew Roberts: Anden Verdenskrigs bedste historie

Med sin nye bog om Anden Verdenskrig har den britiske historiker Andrew Roberts ikke kun skrevet den eneste bedste historie om den konflikt, men har også hævdet sin plads som en af ​​vores tophistorikere, siger Michael Korda.

Michael Korda

Coventry Cathedral lå i ruiner efter et tysk luftangreb den 14. november 1940. (AP Photo)

Det er mærkeligt, at de to mest kendte britiske historikere i USA er Andrew Roberts og Niall Ferguson, som hver især repræsenterer en anden skole med seriøs historisk forfatterskab, og som begge synes at have vundet for sig selv, måske uden at have til hensigt, et særligt ry på den amerikanske højrefløj. Ferguson er den mere "moderne" af de to, en formidabel kompilator af fakta og statistik, der har en tendens til at søge forklaringen på, hvad der skete i tallene, og understrege sociopolitiske tendenser og økonomi frem for interessante "menneskelige" historier. Denne form for "fakta drevet" historie er på højde med kurset i den amerikanske akademiske verden, hvortil den migrerede fra Tyskland i slutningen af ​​1800 -tallet, selvom Ferguson er en meget livligere forfatter end de fleste akademiske historikere i dette land, såvel som at være næsten alarmerende produktiv.

Roberts på den anden side, der er lige så meget en biograf som en historiker, er meget mere interesseret i at skrive en sammenhængende og livlig historie i overensstemmelse med den mere skånsomme, gammeldags tradition for at skrive om historie i form af stormænd og dramatiske øjeblikke. Han har en vis kærlighed til lidt reaktionære figurer, eller, som vi kan sige det i Storbritannien, Tory -ikoner. Hans biografi om Marquess of Salisbury, Salisbury: Victorian Titan, er et mesterværk om en af ​​de største og dygtigste Tory -politiske skikkelser i den victorianske tidsalder, og Den hellige ræv, hans lige så mesterlige biografi om Lord Halifax, udforsker den gådefulde mand, hvis lange karriere inden for public service pludselig blev skubbet uhøjtideligt i skyggen af ​​hans rival Winston Churchills fremkomst natten over som Storbritanniens krigsleder.

Selvom Roberts 'sympati klart er med veletablerede Tory-figurer-Salisbury, Halifax, Wellington-er han på ingen måde en "reaktionær" historiker, på trods af påstande om det modsatte følger han simpelthen den gammeldags britiske tradition for "stormand" historie, historie fortalt som en ædle historie og historie fortalt gennem breve, dagbøger, dokumenter og personligheder frem for gennem statistik eller socioøkonomiske tendenser. Roberts er en elitær snarere end en reaktionær. Han ser ikke ned på god sladder, og faktisk hans Fremtrædende Churchillians (som jeg offentliggjorde) er en model for vittig og skarp skrift om nogle af de forholdsvis mindre figurer omkring Churchill, som i sidste ende lykkes med at kaste mere lys over Churchill end en hel del af de mere lange biografier om den store mand selv. Det er ikke at sammenligne Roberts med for eksempel Saint-Simon, men derimod at rose ham for hans uovertrufne evne til selv at gøre biografi om en, som man ikke i starten tænker på som fascinerende, som Halifax, til en tankevækkende og grundigt læselig bog. Man er måske ikke altid enig med Roberts, men man finder aldrig sig selv til at springe et par sider over for at komme videre med det - han skriver med ynde, elegance og absolut autoritet og får de mennesker, han skriver om, til at virke langt mere interessante og sympatiske end vi nogensinde har haft mistænkte de kunne være, ikke et lille talent i sig selv.

Jeg ville have sagt, at det ikke kunne lade sig gøre, at gøre hele Anden Verdenskrig på 600 sider og få det rigtigt, i hvert fald ikke uden at udelade store bidder, men Roberts har formået at gøre det og gøre det fantastisk godt .

Selvfølgelig, da to af hans tidlige og vigtigste bøger handler om tal om hvem meget få mennesker i Amerika har den mindste nysgerrighed, har det taget Roberts længere tid, end han skulle have for at få et ry her. Antallet af amerikanere, der ønsker at læse om Halifax eller Salisbury, er omtrent lig med antallet af mennesker i Storbritannien, der måske læser en lang biografi om George C. Marshall eller Woodrow Wilson, hvilket er ærgerligt, da det har forsinket anerkendelsen på på denne side af Atlanten, hvor god en forfatter han er, og hvilken fornøjelse han er at læse. Dette forklarer måske Roberts omhyggelige, men målrettede tilgang til emner af en mere generel og mere transatlantisk interesse.

Selvom hans to store biografier er lange og seriøse bøger, har Roberts stadigt forvandlet sig til en historiker i en bredere, bredere, mere "populær" og ambitiøs målestok. Han skrev en vidunderlig bog om Napoleon og Wellington, et skridt tilbage i tiden, men naturligvis en forberedelse til en karriere mere orienteret mod militærhistorie end victoriansk eller post-edwardiansk britisk politik. Hans bog om Hitler og Churchill var et stort fremskridt i fuld skala mod at positionere sig som militærhistoriker og efter en ambitiøs pause med at skrive En historie om de engelsktalende folk siden 1900, han gik stærkt videre for at gribe den høje grund med mestre og kommandanter, en fremragende bog om kombinationen af ​​politisk og militært lederskab, der bragte de allierede magter til sejr i 1945 og demonstrerede, at demokratier var bedre egnet til at kæmpe og vinde en krig end en diktatur, men frygtindgydende.

Nu, hvor han arbejder i næsten det samme forrygende tempo som Niall Ferguson, har Roberts skrevet en heftig og meget læselig historie om Anden Verdenskrig og skrevet den med en klarhed, en gave med vedvarende historiefortælling, der ikke mindsker alvoren og autoriteten, han bringer til emnet, og frem for alt en fair-mindedness, der er sjælden blandt krigens historikere. For generelt kan historierne om Anden Verdenskrig på det engelske sprog deles skarpt i dem, der er skrevet af amerikanere, der bagatelliserer den britiske rolle i krigen, og dem, der er skrevet af britiske historikere, som bagatelliserer amerikanernes rolle (og også give mindre plads og opmærksomhed til stillehavsteatret end det europæiske teater). Roberts har formået at skrive en bog, der både stræber efter og lykkes med at give mere eller mindre lige tid til begge, og også formår at inkludere nok om begivenheder i Kina og krigen på østfronten til at give læseren et velafbalanceret og spændende skrevet hensyn til hele krigen. Det er omtrent lige så globalt et syn på den store begivenhed, som man kan forestille sig, og enhver, der ikke har læst om krigen fra 1945 til i dag i en eller anden form (som de fleste ældre har) ville finde Krigens storm et bemærkelsesværdigt godt forsøg på at lægge det hele på godt 600 meget underholdende sider, herunder en kort, men interessant og velbegrundet konklusion, der viser, at den person, der var mest ansvarlig for Tysklands tabende krig, var manden, der startede den, Hitler selv, hvis fejl , vrangforestillinger, overdreven selvtillid og regeringssystem dømte Tyskland (og dets allierede) på trods af den tyske hærs fortræffelighed og teknokraternes opfindsomhed som Albert Speer.

Hvis du ikke ved så meget om Anden Verdenskrig, som du synes, du burde, eller hvis du vil have et godt, klart billede af hvordan og hvorfor det foregik, som det gjorde, eller hvis du simpelthen gerne ville skære igennem krattet af multivolume -historier, biografier, erindringer, dagbøger og breve og få hele historien i en bog, det er det. Roberts kapitel om Holocaust er for eksempel strålende og rystende, han lader intet ud, men han formår at få det hele ind på 30 sider: et mirakel.

Min hat er af for ham. Jeg ville have sagt, at det ikke kunne lade sig gøre, at gøre hele Anden Verdenskrig på 600 sider og få det rigtigt, i hvert fald ikke uden at udelade store bidder, men Roberts har formået at gøre det og gøre det fantastisk godt . Han er endda fair over for både Ike og Monty (normalt et sikkert tegn på, om forfatteren er amerikansk eller britisk), og giver kort og godt læseren en god forståelse af de tyske og japanske kommandanter og strategi samt en beskrivelse af begivenheder, der er ofte givet kort tid, som Burma -kampagnen eller betydningen af ​​slaget ved Midway. Kunne en nitpick? Ja, og det vil sikkert mange, men han har sat en standard for kortfattede historier om en krigshistorie, der vil være svære at slå. Hans stipendium er fantastisk, og bogens "emballage" med meget gode illustrationer og rigelige førsteklasses kort gør det til en sand fornøjelse at læse, i modsætning til det arbejde, denne slags ting så ofte er.

Desuden er det lykkedes Roberts at skrive om frygtelige begivenheder med bred og tolerant sympati. Der er ikke noget "reaktionært" ved denne bog-det er historien om en nødvendig krig, der blev udkæmpet for en utænkelig pris, hvor skurkene var klart genkendelige fra begyndelsen, en historie, der er i fuld og mest gammeldags forstand af ordet "demokratisk".

Vi er nu 66 år væk fra slutningen af ​​Anden Verdenskrig, og derfor i samme forhold til det, som folk i USA var til borgerkrigen i 1921, kan man sige for en god redegørelse for, hvad der er blevet til de fleste mennesker en stor begivenhed fra fortiden. Antallet af mennesker, der husker det eller oplevede det, er faldende daglig tid, kan man sige, for en bog som denne, der objektivt opsummerer den med fast videnskab, en følelse af tilbageholdt anstændighed, en sjælden mangel på nationale fordomme og en vilje til at få alt i den rigtige rækkefølge, så det giver mening for læseren. Roberts har ikke kun skrevet en god bog, men udført en værdifuld service, og jeg håber, at den vil blive læst af så mange mennesker og på så mange sprog som muligt, uanset om det er på tryk eller på en Kindle eller dens ækvivalenter. Anden verdenskrigs værste forbrydelse ville være at glemme det eller ignorere, hvad der foregik og hvorfor, eller at bevare de fejlagtige ideer og folklore, der har sneget sig ind i folks syn på det gennem populærkultur (film, fiktion, tv) eller ved nationale fordomme. Tanken om, at nogen har været i stand til at nærme sig objektivt, i runden, som det var, og fortælle hele historien er fantastisk, og giver en, for en forandring, en håbefuld følelse om historiens skrivning.

New York Times bestsellerforfatter Michael Korda 's bøger inkluderer Ike, Horse People, Country Matters, Ulysses S. Grant og Charmed Lives.


WWII Boganmeldelse: Winston Churchill

Churchills første kærlighed, Pamela Plowden (senere Lady Lytton), sagde engang om ham: "Første gang du møder Winston ser du alle hans fejl, og resten af ​​dit liv bruger du på at opdage hans dyder." Dog i Christopher Catherwoods Winston Churchill, meget få af hans dyder er beviser.

Catherwood åbner sin bog med at hævde, at det er "en skamløst postrevisionistisk bog", der "for første gang" afbalancerer, hvor Churchill havde ret, såvel som hvor han tog fejl. At Churchill var et mangelfuldt geni, har imidlertid været veletableret i snesevis, hvis ikke hundredvis af bøger. Senest afslørede historikeren David Reynolds i I kommando over historien hvordan Churchill manipulerede sin seks bindes erindring om Anden Verdenskrig til at afspejle hans egen version af begivenhederne, som ikke altid var i overensstemmelse med sandheden. Andre, som Robert Rhodes James i Churchill: A Study in Failure, 1900–1939, har ærligt og præcist skildret både hans geni og hans fejl. Men Catherwood hører ikke hjemme i deres liga: manglerne i hans bog er mindre Churchills end hans.

Catherwoods centrale påstand er, at Churchills fejltagelser kostede de allierede dyrt og ubevidst foreviget efterkrigstidens problemer. Han peger på Churchills besættelse af at bekæmpe tyskerne i Middelhavet for at hindre general George C. Marshalls mål om at udføre grænseoverskridende invasion af Frankrig i 1943-og tilføjer, at forsinkelse af invasionen til 1944 tillod russerne at rykke længere mod vest og skabe jerngardinet. Påfaldende forsømt, for kun at tage et eksempel, er det faktum, at yderligere operationer i Middelhavet og Normandies forsinkelse også havde Roosevelts velsignelse.

Catherwoods argumenter om, at Operation Overlord burde have været udført i 1943, er ikke nye og er blevet grundigt diskrediteret. Men disse påstande vedvarer (og ikke kun i denne bog), selvom det, så ønskeligt som det måtte have været, aldrig var muligt. Kampkommandører som generalløjtnant James M. Gavin, der har været der, gjorde det, og har T-shirten til at bevise det, hånet af sådanne forestillinger med god grund. Overlord krævede en enorm og bæredygtig logistisk opbygning på plads i Storbritannien - næsten umulig i 1943, givet slaget ved Atlanterhavet. En invasion fra 1943 ville have haft utilstrækkeligt landingsfartøj, manglet luftoverlegenhed og stillet uerfarne britiske og amerikanske tropper mod Wehrmacht.

Men det, der er mest bekymrende ved bøger som denne, er deres ahistoriske tilgang. De pontificerer og fremfører usandsynlige, ubevisste argumenter fra historisk bagklogskab til at gætte vanskelige beslutninger truffet midt i krigen uden fordel af en clairvoyance, som ingen, ikke engang Churchill og Roosevelt, kunne have haft. Selvom det utvivlsomt er sandt, at nogle af Churchills krigsbeslutninger hindrede mere, end de hjalp, synes forfatteren uvidende om en anden uundgåelig kendsgerning: uden Churchill havde Storbritannien lidt håb om overlevelse.

Oprindeligt udgivet i juli 2009 -udgaven af Anden Verdenskrig. For at abonnere, klik her.


Anden verdenskrig, af Anthony Beevor

Antony Beevor har gjort meget for at popularisere historien. Efter at have spillet en nøglerolle i at overbevise både offentligheden og forlagene om, at emnet kunne være sexet, har han været i spidsen for historiens meget velrenommerede boom de seneste år.

Nu, efter en række meget vellykkede bøger om aspekter af Anden Verdenskrig, er hans nye bog et enkelt overordnet bind om hele konflikten, fra slaget ved Atlanterhavet til Pearl Harbor fra de første træfninger i Khalkhin Gol til den dystre afvigelse fra Nagasaki.

Resultatet er en smuk, men ret skræmmende dørstop til en bog. Men heldigvis flyver dens 800-ulige sider forbi med betydelig hastighed, da Beevor varmer sig til sin opgave, idet han er særlig stærk på en stor strategi og på oplevelsen af ​​almindelige soldater. Fortællingen flagger aldrig og de utallige stykker i dette indviklede kalejdoskop er slået sammen med eksemplarisk dygtighed.

Der er mange mindeværdige øjeblikke. Beevor åbner med den forbløffende historie om en ung koreansk soldat, der blev taget til fange af amerikanerne i Normandiet, som var blevet dragooned af japanerne, før han passerede gennem sovjetiske hænder og ind i Hitlers Wehrmacht. Det er et eksempel, der ser ud til at kendetegne et af Beevors ledemotiver: den fuldstændige mangel på kontrol, som dem, der blev ramt af krig - soldater og civile - havde over deres liv.

Gennem hele skåner han læseren lidt i sine brændende beretninger om menneskets umenneskelighed over for sit medmenneske, samtidig med at han opløfter os med historier om stoicisme eller individuelle heltemod. Der er et par øjenåbnende afsløringer-ikke mindst at 60 procent af japanske militærdødsfald var forårsaget af sygdom og sult, og at der i bekæmpelsen af ​​sidstnævnte blev gennemført en organiseret kannibalisme af PoW'er og indfødte befolkninger. Historien var så grusom, at den bevidst blev udelukket fra de krigsforbrydelser, der fulgte efter 1945.

Beevor gør godt i at tillægge Pacific -teatret behørig vægt, men han viger fornuftigt fra enhver falsk "holistisk" tilgang og foretrækker at behandle Stillehavet og de europæiske teatre som næsten helt separate enheder. Faktisk har han en tendens til at undgå modige nyheder eller store genfortolkninger af konflikten og fremlægger i stedet en livlig, engagerende og skamfuld fortællende genfortælling af den omfattende, komplekse, globale historie om krigen.

Dette er en fantastisk bog, erudit, med en beundringsværdig klarhed i tanke og udtryk. For et sammendrag af Anden Verdenskrig - hvem gjorde hvad til hvem, hvornår og hvorfor - skulle den generelle læser ikke lede længere.

I betragtning af en sådan ros er det måske kedeligt at komme med et notat af kritik. Alligevel er det svært at undslippe indtrykket af, at Beevor i forbindelse med et så stort emne har været forpligtet til at ofre for meget af selve det aspekt, der var blevet hans stilistiske varemærke: den sigende anekdote, den gribende til side, den lysende vignet. Resultatet er, at bogen - med al sin fortræffelighed - ser ud til at mangle noget af pizzazzen i hans tidligere tilbud.

Beevor's Anden Verdenskrig er sikker på at nå et bredt og anerkendende publikum - og det er det fortjent. Men sådan er de stjernestandarder, som Beevor har sat for sig selv i løbet af det sidste årti eller deromkring, at man frygter, at der er et par af hans mest dedikerede læsere, der måske bare er lidt skuffede.

Roger Moorhouse's Berlin at War: Life and Death in Hitlers hovedstad udgives af Vintage (9,99 £)


Forståelse af det vestlige samfund: En historie, bind to

Forståelse af Western Society, anden udgave, indeholder en kort, spørgsmålstegnende fortælling, der modellerer for studerende de undersøgelsesbaserede metoder, der bruges af historikere, og hjælper eleverne med at forstå, hvad der virkelig er vigtigt at vide om den vestlige civilisation. Den anden udgave introducerer LaunchPad.

Forståelse af Western Society, anden udgave, indeholder en kort, spørgsmålstegnende fortælling, der modellerer for studerende de undersøgelsesbaserede metoder, der bruges af historikere, og hjælper eleverne med at forstå, hvad der virkelig er vigtigt at vide om den vestlige civilisation. Den anden udgave introducerer LaunchPad, en grænseflade, der kombinerer omhyggeligt kureret nyt indhold, opgaver og vurderinger integreret med en interaktiv e-bog. Med LaunchPad har eleverne mulighed for at læse bogen på tryk eller online, og du har teknologien til at gøre klassens forberedelse til en leg. LaunchPad indeholder alle de primære kilder fra Sources of Western Society samt LearningCurve, et automatisk gradueret adaptivt læringsværktøj, som eleverne elsker at bruge til at cementere deres forståelse af teksten, og instruktører elsker at tildele for at forberede eleverne til klassen. LaunchPad har også et væld af aktiviteter og vurderinger, der hjælper eleverne med at gøre fremskridt i retning af læringsresultater: kort og visuelle aktiviteter, automatisk gradueret quizzing, guidede læseøvelser og omhyggeligt udviklede online dokumentprojekter. LaunchPad er let at bruge og kan og kan integreres med din skoles kursusstyringssystem, hvilket giver dig værktøjerne til forbedret undervisning og læring.

Spar penge med vores løse, hullede sider med 3 huller.

Læs og studer old-school med vores bundne tekster.

En vestlig civilisationstekst designet til forståelse

Forståelse af Western Society, anden udgave, indeholder en kort, spørgsmålstegnende fortælling, der modellerer for studerende de undersøgelsesbaserede metoder, der bruges af historikere, og hjælper eleverne med at forstå, hvad der virkelig er vigtigt at vide om den vestlige civilisation. Den anden udgave introducerer LaunchPad, en grænseflade, der kombinerer nøje udvalgt nyt indhold, opgaver og vurderinger integreret med en interaktiv e-bog. Med LaunchPad har eleverne mulighed for at læse bogen på tryk eller online, og du har teknologien til at gøre klassens forberedelse til en leg. LaunchPad indeholder alle de primære kilder fra Sources of Western Society samt LearningCurve, et automatisk gradueret adaptivt læringsværktøj, som eleverne elsker at bruge til at cementere deres forståelse af teksten, og instruktører elsker at tildele for at forberede eleverne til klassen. LaunchPad har også et væld af aktiviteter og vurderinger, der hjælper eleverne med at gøre fremskridt i retning af læringsresultater: kort og visuelle aktiviteter, automatisk gradueret quizzing, guidede læseøvelser og omhyggeligt udviklede online dokumentprojekter. LaunchPad er let at bruge og kan og kan integreres med din skoles kursusstyringssystem, hvilket giver dig værktøjerne til forbedret undervisning og læring.

Kapitelomfattende pædagogiske værktøjer driver eleverne til centrale udviklinger. Overskrifter i kapitelsektioner, der stilles som spørgsmål, viser hvordan historikere nærmer sig fortiden. Spørgsmål til hurtig gennemgang i slutningen af ​​hvert afsnit kan svares online i LaunchPad.

Innovative fire-trins kapitelanmeldelser hjælper eleverne med at opbygge historiske færdigheder og samtidig bevare nøgleindholdet. I trin et øver eleverne kapitelindhold online med LearningCurve, et automatisk gradueret adaptivt læringsværktøj. I trin to identificerer de kapitlet nøgleudtryk og forklarer deres betydning. I trin tre arbejder de på at forstå forbindelserne mellem kapitlet ’s store ideer. Endelig i trin fire besvarer eleverne analytiske, syntetiske spørgsmål og gennemfører en aktiv recitationsøvelse. Kapitelstudieguiden kan udfyldes online ved hjælp af LaunchPad.

Tildelbare og vurderbare kort- og visuelle aktiviteter hjælper elever med geografisk viden og visuel læsefærdighed. Disse aktiviteter beder eleverne om at analysere kortet eller billedet og derefter lave forbindelser til det fortællende indhold. Bedst af alt, når de er tildelt i LaunchPad, kan elevernes arbejde med disse aktiviteter spores og vurderes ét praktisk sted.

LearningCurve sikrer, at eleverne kommer forberedt til klassen. Træt af at dine elever ikke læser lærebogen? Vil du gerne vide, hvad de læser, og hvor meget de forstod —, FØR de kommer i klassen? Tildel LearningCurve, det adaptive læringsværktøj, der er oprettet til din undersøgelsesbog i LaunchPad, og systemets analyse viser, hvordan dine elever klarer sig med læsningen, så du kan tilpasse din klasse efter behov. Each chapter-based LearningCurve activity gives students multiple chances to understand key concepts, return to the narrative textbook if they need to reread, and answer questions correctly. Over 90% of students report satisfaction with LearningCurve's fun and accessible game-like interface. LearningCurve appeals to students so that they engage with the textbook, and it helps you to know what they know before class begins.

New assignable online document projects allow students to put interpretation into practice in LaunchPad . Each project prompts students to explore a key question through analysis of multiple sources. Chapter 14, for example, asks students to analyze documents on the complexities of race, identity, and slavery in the early modern era to shed light on the conditions that made possible the story of painter Juan de Pareja, a freed slave of mixed ancestry. Auto-graded multiple-choice questions based on the documents help students analyze the sources.

The most current scholarship shows students the dynamic and ongoing work of history. Drawing on their own research and that of numerous experts, renowned scholars and veteran teachers Merry E. Wiesner-Hanks, Clare Haru Crowston, and Joe Perry have incorporated the best and latest scholarship throughout. Wholly revised ancient chapters, from the earliest societies to the Roman Empire, reflect the very latest perspectives in the field.

A range of options offers convenience and value. In addition to the standard bound textbook, this edition is also available in convenient, discount-priced loose-leaf and PDF formats and in an interactive e-book format in the text’s dedicated version of LaunchPad, with all accompanying study resources fully integrated. LaunchPad is a complete course’s worth of material in a course space that makes everything assignable and assessable—and all for free when packaged with the textbook.

"This text really addresses important issues in an accessible and wide-ranging way. Students enjoy it and will read it."

—Carol Levin, University of Nebraska

"Perhaps the most comprehensive, most accessible, and most readable Western civilization textbook that I have encountered."

—James H. Adams, Pennsylvania State University-Abington

"Finally there is a textbook that presents a much fuller scope of the picture of Western civ."

—James Lenaghan, The Ohio State University

"Fine text, outstanding value."

—Peter G. Klem, Great Basin College

"The engaging, solid, and well-written narrative is very accessible for students and will promote their interest in the material."

—Rosemary Thurston, New Jersey City University

Fællesskabsanmeldelser

Single-volume chronologies of WW2 seem to be all the rage of late, and this book must compete with such works as Max Hastings&apos "Inferno" and Gerhard Weinberg&aposs "World at Arms." Unlike the two mentioned, which take a particular unique vertical slice, Beevor just tries to tell a decade-long story about two theaters of war, and do it competently. In that he succeeds, for the most part.

While the writing is not the breathtaking sort often reached for by the likes of Weinberg, it is readable and enjoy Single-volume chronologies of WW2 seem to be all the rage of late, and this book must compete with such works as Max Hastings' "Inferno" and Gerhard Weinberg's "World at Arms." Unlike the two mentioned, which take a particular unique vertical slice, Beevor just tries to tell a decade-long story about two theaters of war, and do it competently. In that he succeeds, for the most part.

While the writing is not the breathtaking sort often reached for by the likes of Weinberg, it is readable and enjoyable for the most part. Like Thomas Ricks' new book, "The Generals," Beevor's history sets out to skewer many sacred cows. Some, like Bernard Montgomery, Mark Clark, and Douglas MacArthur, are easy targets, excoriated by everyone. But Beevor provides some deserving critiques of Eisenhower and Bradley, as well. And he holds Churchill's feet to the fire as well, giving the British prime minister his due where necessary, but denouncing Churchill not only for his outdated empire philosophy and his Africa-and-Italy-First plan for waging war, but also for silly plans to challenge the Soviets, such as Operation Unthinkable. And yes, FDR is placed under the microscope as well.

In short, Beevor's book is useful for its competent analysis of WW2, and for treating the war in a manner akin to "Game of Thrones." Yes, the Axis powers were terrible monsters that needed to be defeated. But no one on the Allied side was worthy of unabashed heroic praise, and Beevor avoids that. There are few heroes here. . mere

Hard to give this anything other than 5 stars. Being an absolute novice on the subject, I found this book fascinating, horrifying, edifying, and generally mind-blowing. For anyone worried it will be too dry, it is roughly 25% politics and military strategy, and 75% excerpts from countless first-hand accounts by soldiers, civilians, leaders, and poets. For eksempel:

"I saw a woman who&aposs dress and hair had just caught fire, she was trying to run from the inferno but the tarmac had melted and her fee Hard to give this anything other than 5 stars. Being an absolute novice on the subject, I found this book fascinating, horrifying, edifying, and generally mind-blowing. For anyone worried it will be too dry, it is roughly 25% politics and military strategy, and 75% excerpts from countless first-hand accounts by soldiers, civilians, leaders, and poets. For eksempel:

"I saw a woman who's dress and hair had just caught fire, she was trying to run from the inferno but the tarmac had melted and her feet were glued to the road." - From the diary of a german soldier describing the firebombing of Hamburg

I'm not sure I've ever read anything quite so shocking. . mere

"This was the murder of everyday traditions that grandfathers passed to their grandchildren, this was the murder of memories, of a mournful song, folk poetry, of life, happy and bitter, this was the destruction of hearths and cemeteries, this was the death of a nation which had been living side by side with Ukrainians over hundreds of years."

- Vasily Grossman on the Holocaust in the Ukraine

Warning: This review contains facts of the Second World War that some readers may find disturbing. Reader d "This was the murder of everyday traditions that grandfathers passed to their grandchildren, this was the murder of memories, of a mournful song, folk poetry, of life, happy and bitter, this was the destruction of hearths and cemeteries, this was the death of a nation which had been living side by side with Ukrainians over hundreds of years."

- Vasily Grossman on the Holocaust in the Ukraine

Warning: This review contains facts of the Second World War that some readers may find disturbing. Reader discretion is advised.

This review is dedicated to all members of the Allied forces who served in the Second World War.

The Second World War is the most destructive and deadliest conflict in all of human history, killing between 70-85 million people, or approximately 3% of the 1940 world population. Historians generally agree the conflict started on September 1st, 1939, when Nazi Germany invaded Poland, though some historians argue the war really started back in 1937 with the start of the Second Sino-Japanese War, a conflict mainly between Japan and China that ended up killing between 15 and 22 million people. This conflict is also covered in the book, which I liked because I didn't know anything about it beforehand.

I Anden Verdenskrig, Antony Beevor brilliantly combines the endless amount of facts one needs to convey to educate a reader on a topic as vast as the largest conflict in world history with firsthand accounts, diary entries, and even discussions and phone calls involving world leaders like Roosevelt, Churchill, Stalin, and Hitler.

In a world where every movie and video game produced seems to only feature the contributions of the United States to the war, I thought Beevor did a superb job highlighting the unsung but immense contributions of countries like Canada, Australia, and New Zealand. He also did a fabulous job of highlighting the heroic contributions of women throughout the war. People seem to think women only helped on the home front and as nurses and etc. Not true. There were female fighter pilots, female snipers, female anti-aircraft gun crews, and at Stalingrad, one of the most brutal battles in world history:

The bravest of the brave in Stalingrad were the young women medical orderlies, who constantly went out under heavy fire to retrieve the wounded and drag them back. Sometimes they returned fire at the Germans. Stretchers were out of the question, so the orderly either wriggled herself under the wounded soldier and crawled with him on her back, or else she dragged him on a groundsheet or cape.

Another thing I loved about the book is that, between all the different firsthand accounts, diary entries, discussions, and phone calls, the reader gets a very "behind-the-scenes" feel of the war. Beevor also tells you things like what the environment smelled like, looked like, and sounded like for the men and women who were really there, and this puts you into the battle in a way I've never read in a historical account before.

The author is also not afraid to pull any punches he tells things like they really were. He isn't afraid to tell you that someone generally admired like President Franklin Delano Roosevelt was charming on the surface but "cold" and "manipulative" in private. Or that General MacArthur was "an egomaniac obsessed with his own inflated legend." This blunt honesty provides greater insight into some of the events of the war and the decisions made by these men.

I also loved what I call the "war stories" told in this book some of them are truly incredible. A journalist coming upon Leo Tolstoy's estate to find his granddaughter evacuating it to escape the incoming Nazis, the heroic story of JFK and his fast torpedo boat PT-109 in the Pacific campaign, Japanese soldiers charging Soviet tanks with samurai swords. the list goes on. There are tons of them, and they're amazing. They're worth the price of the book just in themselves.

If I could offer one criticism of the book it was that the sheer amount of facts became daunting at times. Some reviews I've read of this book say it mostly contains firsthand accounts, but that's simply not true. I'd say at best this book was 60% facts and 40% firsthand accounts. Though the facts are told in a very readable way that I didn't find boring and that flowed almost like a narrative, it's still a lot of information to take in. I wish there had been more firsthand accounts to supplement all the facts. Particularly, I found the section on the North African campaign somewhat lacking in firsthand accounts it was presented mostly as facts.

I want to take a few minutes now to talk about the parts of the book that are difficult to read.

The Second World War officially ended on September 2nd, 1945 with the surrender of the Empire of Japan to Allied Forces, but is this really when the war ended? For tens, maybe hundreds of millions of people across the globe, the effects lasted for years and even generations afterward. Among countless shockwaves caused by the war, the repatriation of millions of prisoners of war, refugees, and concentration camp survivors and the recoveries of the economies of nations broken by the conflict stand out. But most dramatic of all are the effects on the Jewish people. The effects of the Holocaust.

In 1939, the Jewish population in Europe stood at 9.5 million. By 1945, the population was down to 3.8 million. The Jewish population in Europe has not recovered to this day, and in fact it continues to shrink, recorded at only 1.4 million in 2010, 65 years after the Second World War ended. The suffering of the Jewish people is highlighted starkly in Anden Verdenskrig, but this material is not for the faint of heart. I was reduced nearly to tears, and at times had to stop reading because I felt physically ill.

Some of it is just so hard to believe. It's unthinkable that human society could be reduced to such evil. The "sardine method" employed by the Nazis, where they dug trenches, laid a row of Jews facedown in the trench, shot them, and then brought in the next row of Jews and told them to lie facedown on top of the bodies, repeated as many times as they could to fill the holes, I found particularly disturbing. I doubt that such accounts will ever leave me.

One thing that became apparent to me as I read this book is that the Second World War was more horrific than any of us were taught in school. I knew a bit about the Holocaust, but I didn't know cannibalism was rampant throughout the war. Starved prisoners in the concentration camps were reduced to it. As were dehumanized Soviet prisoners during Operation Barbarossa on the Eastern front. As were Japanese troops in the Pacific campaign:

Japanese officers and soldiers resorted to cannibalism and not just of enemy corpses. Human flesh was regarded as a necessary food source, and 'hunting parties' went forth to obtain it. In New Guinea they killed, butchered and ate local people and slave labourers, as well as a number of Australian and American prisoners of war.

The atrocities of this war are the things nightmares are made of: the systematic Nazi program to exterminate the Jews, the mass rape of women and young girls by Soviet armies, Japanese piling their own rotting dead to use as sandbags in the Pacific campaign, German soldiers stealing winter clothing and the last food of Soviet civilians, leaving them to starve and freeze to death, Japanese using live Chinese soldiers for bayonet practice during the Second Sino-Japanese War, the firebombing of German cities that melted civilians where they stood. but perhaps most shocking of all, the Danzig Anatomical Medical Institute in Poland, where corpses from the Stutthof concentration camp were used in experiments by the Nazis to try to turn them into leather and soap.

In the end, war is hell. Antony Beevor doesn't sugarcoat it for you, and I won't sugarcoat this book either. This is a difficult book to read, and there isn't a lot of hope or joy to be found in these pages. That being said, I have never read a more powerful book in my life. Through his masterful command, omniscient presentation, and flawless writing, Antony Beevor has done a tremendous service to the victims and survivors of the Holocaust, as well as the fallen soldiers and veterans of the greatest conflict in human history, by leaving behind a masterpiece for the ages that tells us all a story we must never, ever forget.

I will open by writing that I know very little about the Second World War. Well, I KNEW very little about the Second World War. After reading this book I now know a lot more. I&aposm not sure I&aposm happier for the knowing.

I did not sit down and read this book through in one sitting. To be honest I&aposve had it for several months and I read it chapter by chapter in between all of the other books I have read this summer. It was too much war for me to take all at once. That does not mean that it was a bad I will open by writing that I know very little about the Second World War. Well, I KNEW very little about the Second World War. After reading this book I now know a lot more. I'm not sure I'm happier for the knowing.

I did not sit down and read this book through in one sitting. To be honest I've had it for several months and I read it chapter by chapter in between all of the other books I have read this summer. It was too much war for me to take all at once. That does not mean that it was a bad book - not at all! In fact it read beautifully. I just could not take all of that war all at once. I had to pace myself. So pace myself I did and I am a bit later with this review than I promised and I do apologize for that. But this is the first time I've really gotten into the nitty-gritty of WWII and well, it was a lot.

The book discusses all of the battles on all of the fronts of the war. That is a LOT of battles. Mr. Beevor goes into detail about commanders, equipment and all that goes into what makes war and battles happen. I was woefully ignorant as to the Pacific end of WWII and now have a better idea of what the Japan/China side of the war was about.

The one thing that bothered me immensely though, was Mr. Beevor's treatment and descriptions of Hitler. He seemed to be treating him as a puppet rather than as the leader of the Reich. He never has Hitler fully taking charge of, or giving him responsibility for the Holocaust and to write a book about this war and to take Hitler off the hook for that horror is just egregious. I don't understand.

I can't begin to write as to whether this is a definitive work on WWII as I have minimal knowledge of the facts as I stated earlier. I can state that it was easy to read, albeit a bit slow at times. I liked that I was able to learn so much as I was reading the book chapter by chapter as to increase my knowledge of this pivotal time in modern history. . mere

Every nation experienced and remembers the war in different ways. For the British, French and Poles, it began with the Nazi attack on Poland in September 1939. For Russians, notwithstanding their assaults on Poland, Finland and the Baltic States, the real war started in June 1941 with the Nazi invasion of the Soviet Union. For Americans, it began with the Japanese raid on Pearl Harbor in December 1941. For Japan, however, Pearl Harbor was the continuation of an expansionist military adventure th Every nation experienced and remembers the war in different ways. For the British, French and Poles, it began with the Nazi attack on Poland in September 1939. For Russians, notwithstanding their assaults on Poland, Finland and the Baltic States, the real war started in June 1941 with the Nazi invasion of the Soviet Union. For Americans, it began with the Japanese raid on Pearl Harbor in December 1941. For Japan, however, Pearl Harbor was the continuation of an expansionist military adventure that started with the invasion of Chinese Manchuria in 1931. A general history of the war needs to embrace this variety of experience and capture the interplay between the momentous events unfolding on different continents and the high seas.

Antony Beevor effectively meets this challenge. A former British army officer and author of admired works on Stalingrad and the Allied invasion of Normandy, Beevor is gifted writer who knows how to keep a good story rolling. "No other period in history offers so rich a source for the study of dilemmas, individual and mass tragedy, the corruption of power politics, ideological hypocrisy, the egomania of commanders, betrayal, perversity, self-sacrifice, unbelievable sadism and unpredictable compassion," he observes.

The brutality and courage of individual soldiers and civilians emerge in Beevor's powerful accounts of battles such as Kursk, Guadalcanal and Iwo Jima.

Mankind has never known a war as devastating in its violence and profound in its moral implications as the second world war. . mere

Liste over illustrationer
List of Maps

(The full and extremely extensive notes and bibliography for this book are available in the hardback edition and also on the author&aposs website at: www.antonybeevor.com. The sources have been omitted from the paperback to make it a more manageable and readable size.) Liste over illustrationer
List of Maps

(The full and extremely extensive notes and bibliography for this book are available in the hardback edition and also on the author's website at: www.antonybeevor.com. The sources have been omitted from the paperback to make it a more manageable and readable size.) . mere

In the acknowledgements to his latest history, The Second World War, Antony Beevor says that he wrote this comprehensive tome on one of the biggest events in human history because he wanted to fill in the gaps to his own knowledge of the topic. But, he says, “above all it is an attempt to understand how the whole complex jigsaw fits together, with the direct and indirect effects of actions and decisions taking place in very different theatres of war.” In this, Beevor succeeds where no other hist In the acknowledgements to his latest history, The Second World War, Antony Beevor says that he wrote this comprehensive tome on one of the biggest events in human history because he wanted to fill in the gaps to his own knowledge of the topic. But, he says, “above all it is an attempt to understand how the whole complex jigsaw fits together, with the direct and indirect effects of actions and decisions taking place in very different theatres of war.” In this, Beevor succeeds where no other historian I have read has. Weighing in at 833 pages (with notes), Beevor deftly describes and analyzes the political and military strategic events, people, and decisions that started, fought, and ended World War II. Potentially more importantly, he debunks one myth after another surrounding this war.

Geographically and politically, the European and Pacific Theaters were fairly cordoned off from each other, outside of the involvement of the United States and the British, but not entirely. Beevor pulls the thread to examine how the Soviet victory at Khalkhin Gol in eastern Mongolia in the summer of 1939 ensured that the Soviets stayed out of the eastern war (Beevor is not, of course, the only historian to make this important point) and how that affected both theaters. As he pulls the thread further, the interactions of east and west, Axis and Allies, become more acute. Nazi Germany and Imperial Japan have almost no strategic interaction (there are a handful of exceptions), but their actions on three or four fronts each create a strategic graph theory problem of biblical proportions for the Allies. As a big-picture example, the United States did not just face a Pacific versus Europe resource competition. The United States faced resource competition between Stillwell’s command supporting the Chinese Nationalists, MacArthur’s forces, Halsey’s forces, the preparation for an invasion of western France, operations in North Africa and then Italy, strategic bombing campaigns on both sides, and Lend-Lease to many a slew of locations. To compound this, American leaders needed to maintain support for the war at home and keep the Alliance together while trying to shape the post-war world through a political minefield of communists, socialists, fascists, colonialists, revolutionaries, and democratists. All while trying to actually win the war. If you consider the number of facets and decisions required in this complex world, multiply these considerations by the same problems with which all of the other Allies (and enemies) were forced to contend. The result is an exponentially large equation to determine the outcomes of a world in flux moving at the speed of a tank. Beevor is at his best in this work when he examines these interdependencies of these fronts, the Allies’ force structure to address them, and the inter- and intra-national political considerations. For students of strategy, this alone makes The Second World War worth reading.

Beevor is equally as good at myth-busting the saintliness of the war’s heroes, the competence of its tragic warriors, and the general sense that it was, in fact, a “good war.” Almost none of the major players of the war get a pass (more on an exception below). Montgomery was “egotistic, ambitious and ruthless, possessing a boundless self-confidence which occasionally bordered on the fatuous.” MacArthur receives even harsher treatment that includes accusations of gross corruption. Roosevelt, Churchill, Eisenhower, Patton, Brooke, Bradley, Stalin, Zhukov, Clark, Stillwell, Halsey, et al, are all described by their weaknesses and mistakes as much as they are by their strengths and failures. The sheer volume of egomania among these great captains significantly exceeded their capabilities, as Beevor explicitly demonstrates. That is not to suggest that these were not extraordinary men in extraordinary times - on the contrary. But none of these men were as idyllically competent as many histories would have us believe. The Axis powers are given the same treatment, if not more with rightful criticism focused on their general inhumanity. As a young Armor officer undergoing basic maneuver traing, a number of German officers were still considered gods of mechanized warfare: Rommel, Peiper, Guderian, von Rundstedt, etc. Further analysis, as done in this book, shows that these men were not nearly as good as I was taught. And those that were actually tactically or operationally superior, such as Peiper, were so ruthless with their own men and civilians that their tactics should hardly be extolled, never mind exemplified, by modern Western armies. It is well past time to end this infatuation with German maneuver exceptionalism as it never really existed. (As an aside, my experience has been that those who believe in this exceptionalism also believe, incorrectly in my opinion, in Israeli maneuver exceptionalism. The sooner we end these fantasies, the better for the education of the coming generations of maneuver leaders.)

Before I return to the myth-busting of the “good war” trope, I would be remiss if did not discuss this book’s shortcomings, of which I found two. Anyone who has read extensively on World War II, a population I consider myself a part of despite my just now revisiting the topic after many years, has a pet rock about this war: some issue or topic, preferably obscure and contrarian, which is used by its holder to judge all writing and analysis of World War II. I have one of these and his name was Major General Philippe Leclerc who commanded the French 2d Armored Division. Although Leclerc was a competent and brave commander, he had absolutely no regard for the Allied chain of command or unity of effort. He had a reputation for ignoring his orders and doing whatever he pleased for the glory of France and/or himself. There was an obscure incident that occurred in August 1944 towards the very end of Operation OVERLORD during the attempt to trap hundreds of thousands of Germans in the Falaise Pocket. The battle to close the gap and encircle the German forces inside the pocket was hard fought and in the end a victory for the Allies. But at least one Panzer corps (and most likely more) escaped. There were three reasons: Montgomery’s inability to drive his forces south fast or hard enough, Bradley’s indecision, and Leclerc disobeying orders. The really long-story-short is that Leclerc was so excited to end the battle so that he could turn south and spearhead the liberation of Paris that he exceeded his divisional boundary in the Foret d’Ecouves. This caused a massive traffic jam with the U.S. 5th Armored Division and provided the German Army defenders time and space to establish a defensive line that allowed more German forces to escape encirclement (see page 416 at this link). I find Leclerc’s actions unconscionable. In a book that aims to break down the many cults of personality surrounding the key characters of this conflict, Beevor misses this opportunity and gives Leclerc a pass. I will grant the author some forgiveness in that if he picked on the foibles of every division commander in the war (even if this particular one was a prominent player) then this book would expand to be many volumes. But this is my pet rock and I am miffed that Leclerc’s egomania likely led to the deaths of many soldiers and Beevor did not take a written hammer to him for it.

Some readers will complain that the Pacific Theater receives short shrift in this book. Many of the battles are not detailed, but that is true of most battles in both theaters. This book was not intended to be a comprehensive analysis of the fighting, but rather of the strategic decisions and actions that comprised the whole of the war. Tactics are rarely discussed anywhere unless they are needed for the larger analysis, such as in Stalingrad where the type of fighting played a role in the Red Army’s ferocity in the outbreak that in turn had a number of strategic implications through the end of the war. So yes, Midway gets all of two pages, but that is all that particular battle warrants when not examining the tactical situation of the battle that was irrelevant to strategy in the Pacific. Rest assured that the major strategic concerns of the Pacific are addressed in detail as well as relevant tactical analysis.

No, the second major issue with this book, besides some redundancies, is sloppiness in editing. There are too many sentences that do not make sense because of various errors. Thankfully the errors do not create ambiguity and thus confusion, but they are irritating and interrupt the flow of the book. They also increase in number near the end. It is a rather large book so some errors are expected, but the publisher would do well to give it another scrub before a second printing. Related to this is the index, which is a mess. For example, there you will find in order: Cholitz, Chungking, Chou, Ciano. There is the obvious problem that Chou should precede Chungking, but more importantly is that “Churchill” is not to be found between “Chungking” and “Ciano”. Winston Churchill is not in the index. That is a major mistake if I have ever seen one.

These problems are overwhelmed by this book’s positive contribution to the study of World War II and military history and strategy in general. Beevor attacks the “good war” campaign and stops it dead in its tracks. The incomprehensible costs of this war should cause anyone about to describe it as “good” to pause. Indeed, fascist and imperialist aggressors and mass murderers were defeated and there is no denying that was a good thing. However, the Western Allies were hardly angels themselves if potentially lesser devils. Atrocities on the ground in the Pacific and western European fronts are detailed and are comparatively benign. But the strategic bombing campaign conducted against civilians on both sides of the war with no tangible military objectives should be viewed through a realist lens. If the Allies had lost the war, its leaders would have been tried for war crimes. And these crimes pale in comparison not only with Nazi and Japanese atrocities, but also with Soviet atrocities and later Chinese crimes. Beevor is also quite harsh on the Western leaders for acquiescing to Stalin on Eastern Europe, saying that they sold out half of Europe to save the other half. He is not wrong in this. It is important to note that Beevor does not suggest that World War II was an unjust war, he in fact says that is (from the Allied perspective, naturally), but rather that we should remove our rosy glasses on the West’s activities during the war and understand analysis of the war and its events for what they are and why “good” is not a descriptor of this war. He describes the war as “so rich a source for the study of dilemmas, individual and mass tragedy, the corruption of power politics, ideological hypocrisy, the egomania of commanders, betrayal, perversity, self-sacrifice, unbelievable sadism and unpredictable compassion.” Indeed this is true. Beevor’s account of it sets a high bar of scholarship and unprejudiced perspective for such study.


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