Second World War Collection

Sir Martin writes:

The Second World War was among the most destructive conflicts in human history; more than forty-six million soldiers and civilians perished, many in circumstances of prolonged and horrifying cruelty. During the 2,174 days of war between the German attack on Poland in September 1939 and the surrender of Japan in August 1945, by far the largest number of those killed, whether in battle or behind the lines, were unknown by name or face except to those few who knew or loved them; yet in many cases, perhaps also numbering in the millions, even those who might in later years have remembered a victim were themselves wiped out. Not only forty-six million lives, but the vibrant life and livelihood which they had inherited, and might have left to their descendants, were blotted out: a heritage of work and joy, of struggle and creativity, of learning, hopes and happiness, which no one would ever inherit or pass on.

Sir Martin with the publisher Lord Weidenfeld, Second World War,1989.
Sir Martin with the publisher Lord Weidenfeld, Second World War,1989.

On This Day: 11 December 1941

“… Germany declared war on the United States.  It was perhaps the greatest error, and certainly the single most decisive act, of the Second World War.  The United States, still neutral in Europe, had just been drawn into a struggle in the Pacific against enormous odds.  The Atlantic, and the struggle on the continent of Europe, was half a globe away.  Hitler, by his declaration of war, brought the Untied States back to Europe as a belligerent; first America’s warships, then her warplanes, and finally her armies, would, whatever their Pacific duties, ensure the overthrow of Hitler and his system.”

The Second World War, A Complete History



Read more about Sir Martin’s inspiration and interest in world war history, his blogs, films and book talks: Sir Martin & The First & Second World Wars

The Second World War: A Complete History

A history of the Second World War that covers all the war fronts, the fighting on land, at sea and in the air, the activities of resistance and partisan groups, espionage, secret intelligence, strategy and tactics, war leaders, generals, admirals and air marshals, individual acts of heroism on all the

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It was the most massive, complex, and spectacular amphibious assault ever attempted – the long – awaited turning point in the bloodiest and most savage war in history. But when 7,000 ships, 11,000 aircraft, and 150,000 troops converged on the coast of Normandy on 6 June 1944, the outcome of

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The Coming of War, 1939: Jackdaw

A folder, designed for schools, containing a dozen facsimile documents including the front page of the News Chronicle of 13 September 1938 announcing Chamberlain’s meeting with Hitler, a statement signed by Chamberlain and Hitler, 30 September 1938, and a poster announcing the provision of gas helmets for babies in August

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