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See below for a selection of the latest books from Second World War category. Presented with a red border are the Second World War books that have been lovingly read and reviewed by the experts at Lovereading. With expert reading recommendations made by people with a passion for books and some unique features Lovereading will help you find great Second World War books and those from many more genres to read that will keep you inspired and entertained. And it's all free!
True stories of love and loss during WWII from a band of tough Northern women. When war broke out, the young women of Sheffield had their carefree lives turned upside down. With their sweethearts being sent away to fight, they had no choice but to step into the men's shoes and became the backbone of the city's steel industry. Through hard toil and companionship in the gruelling world of factory work, they vowed to keep the foundry fires burning and ensured that soldiers had the weapons, planes and ships needed to secure victory over Hitler. Women of Steel is the last chance to hear these unsung heroines' voices, as they share first-hand how a group of plucky young women rallied together to win the war for Britain. When the men returned from the front in 1945, many of these women tragically found themselves discarded 'like yesterday's fish and chip wrappers'. But decades later, a grassroots campaign spearheaded by the elderly Women of Steel finally brought their remarkable story to light.
A revised and updated single-source reference book which accurately details the German field forces employed in Normandy in 1944 and their losses. Dr. Zetterling provides a sobering analysis of the subject matter and debunks a number of popular myths concerning the campaign (the effectiveness of Allied air power; the preferential treatment of Waffen-SS formations in comparison to their army counterparts; etc.). He supports his text with exhaustive footnoting and provides an organizational chart for most of the formations covered in the book. Includes numerous organizational diagrams, charts, tables and graphs.
33. Waffen-Grenadier Division der SS was one of a number of divisions in the Third Reich's armed forces composed of foreign soldiers. The majority that formed this unit were French: volunteers or men who, because of collaboration, had been forced to help the German's on the eve of the Allied invasion in Western Europe. During February-March 1945 the French division took part in the struggle for Pomerania, facing overwhelming Soviet and Polish Forces. The unit fought in a constant retreat and met its fate during the few days of battle in Bialogard (former Belgard an der Persante) and Karlino (Koerlin) region. From that point, after the Division's reorganisation from the German to the French pattern, the retreat transformed into a chaotic escape, which for many ended tragically in Polish or Soviet captivity, or in mass graves which are still waiting to be discovered. Only a handful of the 4,500 Frenchmen who started the battle near Czarne (Hammerstein) and Czluchow (Schlochau) managed to survive and after a few weeks reached the new meeting point in Neustrelitz, Germany. After that, some of them prepared for struggle for Berlin and went to battle once more in April 1945. Lukasz Gladysiak's book is the first attempt by a Polish author to accurately recreate these episodes of the last stages of 33. Waffen-Grenadier Division der SS's history. Collecting historical sources from all over Europe, including German Army Group Vistula's documents, and memories of veterans of both sides of the frontline largely unpublished so far, the author takes us to the fields, towns and villages of Pomerania during the tragic days of the beginning of 1945, and follows the battle through the towns of Czarne (Hammerstein)-Czluchow (Schlochau), Szczecinek (Neustettin), Bialogard (Belgardan der Persante), Karlino (Koerlin) iKolobrzeg (Kolberg). While the chronological description of the combat forms the backbone of this book, the individual soldiers' stories, including biographies of key figures, as well as a number of previously unsolved mysteries are also covered, such as the fate of General Edgar Puaud. This is the first book that refers extensively to the French SS-men's battles in Pomerania in the last stages of the Third Reich.
South Shields and its near neighbours such as Jarrow were key communities in the national war effort, despite their relatively small size. Located on the East Coast, South Shields was situated at the key entry to the strategically important River Tyne and was well defended against enemy attack. The seaside town saw a large military build-up with several different army and naval units rotating through the area to man defences and to train whilst the local Home Guard unit defended vital installations such as shipyards and docks. Huge numbers of South Shields men and women volunteered for wartime service, while many others worked in vital wartime industries. The town had a particularly high number of men serving in the Merchant Navy and the South Shields mariners suffered very heavy casualties. South Shields also had a multi-cultural population with a large number of foreign (or aliens as they were referred to) seamen and an especially large and active Yemeni community. Indeed, South Shields was to become then first town in Britain to have a purpose-built mosque. Although there were tensions amongst the population due to cultural and racial differences, but the Yemeni community played a considerable and loyal role in the war effort. The area also hosted a large number of heavy and light industrial works; the shipyards made a significant contribution to the war effort, with vast amounts of coal transported from the docks of South Shields, especially Tyne Dock, while at Jarrow, there were determined, though largely unsuccessful, attempts to revive the famous Palmer's Yard. The book also looks at the considerable contribution made by the men and women who volunteered for the ARP and Civil Defence Services. The towns of Tyneside, including South Shields, were heavily attacked by the Luftwaffe and the blitzes of 1941 hit the town particularly hard. No member of the community was left untouched by the war, whether they were evacuees, workers, servicemen or just civilians struggling to maintain a home in wartime Britain. South Shields and its neighbouring communities made a considerable contribution to the war effort, one which deserves to be remembered.
The London Blitz and the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbour are iconic myths for Britain and America. Few in either nation realise, however, that these artfully constructed narratives of heroic resistance to aerial bombardment both conceal appalling massacres of their own citizens. In Britain, thousands of civilians were killed when the army shelled London and other cities in an effort to prevent those living there from fleeing the German bombs. At Pearl Harbour, American warships fired their heavy guns at the city of Honolulu, with devastating results. In this book, Simon Webb reveals one of the last secrets of the Second World War; the casualties which friendly fire' from heavy artillery inflicted upon British and American civilians. In the case of the British, these deaths were part of a quite deliberate policy which was devised to ensure that those living in big cities remained there, despite the dangers of enemy bombing. There were times during the German bombing of London when more people were being killed by British shells than were dying as a result of enemy bombs. Although this book traces the history of bombing and anti-aircraft guns from the Franco-Prussian War of 1870-1871, through to the First World War, its chief concern is with the events of the Second World War; particularly the Blitz. Nobody reading The Secret Blitz will ever view Pearl Harbour or the Blitz in quite the same way again.
Born on 17 June 1900, Martin Ludwig Bormann became one of the most powerful and most feared men in the Third Reich. An obsessive bureaucrat, it was Bormann who helped steer Hitler's apparatus of terror so effectively that he became the clandestine ruler of Nazi Germany. After joining the Nazi Party in 1927 Bormann rose through its ranks. Indeed, by July 1933 Bormann had manoeuvered himself into the position where he became the Chief of Cabinet in the Office of the Deputy F hrer, Rudolf Hess. In this role Bormann gradually consolidated his power base, so that when Hess carried out his infamous flight to the United Kingdom in 1941, Bormann stepped into his shoes. As the head of the Party Chancellery, Bormann duly took control of the Nazi Party. By the end of 1942, he was in effect Hitler's deputy and his closest collaborator. With the F hrer increasingly preoccupied with military matters, Hitler came to rely more and more on Bormann to handle Germany's domestic affairs. On 12 April 1943, Bormann was appointed Personal Secretary to the F hrer. Feared by ministers, Gauleiters, civil servants, judges and generals alike, Bormann identified strongly with Hitler's ideas on racial politics, destruction of the Jews and forced labour and made himself indispensable as the F hrer's executioner. Cold as ice, he decided the fate of millions of people. In January 1945, with the Third Reich collapsing, Bormann returned to the F hrerbunker with Hitler. Following Hitler's suicide on 30 April, Bormann was named as Party Minister, thus officially confirming his rise to the top of the Party. Late the following day he fled from the bunker in an attempt to escape the encircling Red Army; his fate remaining a mystery for many years. In October 1946 he was found guilty in absentia by the International Military Tribunal at Nuremberg and sentenced to death. Drawing heavily on recently declassified documents and files, the historian and journalist Volker Koop reveals the full story of the most faithful member of Hitler's inner circle, an individual who, whilst little known to the German people, became the second most powerful man in the Third Reich.
On 1 June 1943 Flight 777, a Douglas DC-3, en route from Lisbon to Britain, was shot down over the Bay of Biscay by German aircraft. Among the dead was the actor Leslie Howard, who had returned from Hollywood to England to help the British war effort. Also on board was Howards tax adviser, Alfred Chenhalls, who smoked cigars and looked remarkably like Winston Churchill. Did the Germans believe that Churchill was on board Flight 777? Other aircraft flying that route went unmolested by the Luftwaffe in spite of the German air presence over the Bay of Biscay. These flights were operated by Dutch crews flying aircraft of KLM which were on charter to BOAC and it was an experience Dutch crew that was lost that day. Ian Colvin carried out an exhaustive investigation into the incident, including interviewing former Luftwaffe personnel and this book, first published in 1957, is the result of his endeavours.
Often it is assumed that Hitler's panzers stormed into action perfectly formed, driving through the armies of the Poles in 1939 and the French in 1940 and defeating them. The dramatic blitzkrieg victories won by the Wehrmacht early in the Second World War - in which the panzers played a leading role - tend to confirm this impression. But, as Anthony Tucker-Jones demonstrates in this illustrated, comprehensive and revealing history of the panzers, this is far from the truth. As armoured fighting vehicles the early panzers were no better than - sometimes inferior to - those of their opponents, but their tactics rather than their technology gave them an advantage. Later on German tank designers developed technically superior tanks but these could not be built fast enough or in sufficient numbers. For all their excellence, they were overwhelmed by the American Shermans and Soviet T-34s that were produced in their tens of thousands. This is the story Anthony Tucker-Jones relates as he traces the evolution of the panzers from the modest beginnings in the 1930s to the Panzer IVs, Panthers and Tigers which were the most formidable German tanks of the war. Not only does he cover their design and production history, he also assesses their combat performance and gives a fascinating insight into the decision-making at the highest level which directed German tank design.
Readers with a penchant for real-life cloak-and-dagger stories won't be disappointed with this memoir Dan Pinck's World War II adventures behind the lapanese lines in war-torn China resulted in vital information being passed along to the Allies and his up close-and-personal look at the world of covert military operations in that country will fascinate many. But the author does not focus on the heroics typically encountered in spy stories. Pinck ignores the glamour to give a totally candid view of events with an engaging style and self-deprecating wit. Just nineteen years old when he volunteered for the Office of Strategic Services (OSS), he was assigned to an area near Hong Kong where he worked with some twenty local agents. The sole American agent in the area, Pinck coordinated the gathering of information about troop movements and shipping along the Japanese-held coast, efforts that resulted in the sinking of several enemy ships. Prior to Japan's surrender he was mapping Japanese coastal emplacements in the area where an American invasion was scheduled. Pinck credis his survival more to the knowledge of his Chinese colleague, than to his own skills in intelligence operations, and his book keenly illustrates that point. He explains that while serving behind enemy lines close relationships with the natives often made the difference between success and failure, even Iife and death. In Peking after the war, he continued to benefit from the friendships he developed with the Chinese, and the last pages of this memoir are filled with insights about U.S.-Chinese relations. Such a vivid, honest, and often humorous account of his exploits as a spy will appeal to a broad audience both as entertainment and as a historical document.
The factors leading to the defeat of the Axis Powers in World War II have been debated for decades. One prevalent view is that overwhelming Allied superiority in materials and manpower doomed the Axis. Another holds that key strategic and tactical blunders lost the war-from Hitler halting his panzers outside Dunkirk, allowing more than 300,000 trapped Allied soldiers to escape, to Admiral Yamamoto falling into the trap set by the U.S. Navy at Midway. Providing fresh perspective on the war, this study challenges both views and offers an alternative explanation: the Germans, Japanese and Italians made poor design choices in ships, planes, tanks and information security-before and during the war-that forced them to fight with weapons and systems that were too soon outmatched by the Allies'. The unprecedented arms race of World War II posed a fundamental design challenge the Axis powers sometimes met but never mastered.
In early October 1942 the German Sixth Army realised that it had one last chance to break through the Soviet lines and capture Stalingrad before exhaustion and the Russian winter set in. Stalingrad examines this last attempt by the Germans to win Stalingrad and how the Red Army managed to cling on against the odds, marking the turning point of the war on the Eastern Front. Beginning with the background to Stalingrad, the book shows how initially the Germans made progress against the city's defenders, but failed to break them. By 14 October 1942 the German Army was ready to make its third, final assault on the Soviet 62nd Army. Hitler issued an order halting all other offensive operations on the Eastern Front: Stalingrad was to be the battle that determined whether the Germans could maintain their position in the East. Victory would give Germany access to natural resources, while defeat would demoralise the Wehrmacht. With first-hand accounts from both sides, vivid photographs, and specially commissioned maps of the combat zones, Stalingrad is a comprehensive examination of the decisive failure of the German assault that ultimately decided the course of the war in the East.
Published to commemorate the 75th anniversary of Victory in Europe Day (May 2020) and Victory in Japan Day (August 2020), this is an outstanding concise history of the Second World War written by one of Britain's foremost historians. The first of two volumes, World War II: The Essential History, Vol 1 - From the Munich Crisis to the Battle of Kursk 1938-43 begins by charting the period when the Axis powers reigned supreme. In little more than two years Germany, Italy and Japan had conquered much of mainland Europe, moved east into the Soviet Union and pushed the Allies out of the Far East and Pacific. It ends as the Allies finally began to stop the Axis advance in its tracks and win significant ground. From defeat on the beaches of Dunkirk and the jungles of the Philippines to victory in the North African desert, the snow-covered Soviet plains and the Pacific island of Guadalcanal. The first volume ends just as the Allies start to turn the tide against the Third Reich, with the extraordinary dramas of the Battle of the Bulge, D-Day and the race to Berlin still to come.