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Why was the British army so ill-prepared to fight the second world war?

After 1918, the general staff ceased to focus on who they might have to fight next and how, leading to the abysmal performance of the army in Norway and France in 1940

13 January 2024

9:00 AM

13 January 2024

9:00 AM

Conflict: The Evolution of Warfare from 1945 to Ukraine David Petraeus and Andrew Roberts

William Collins, pp.540, 26

Victory to Defeat: The British Army 1918-1940 Richard Dannatt and Robert Lyman

Osprey, pp.350, 25

Conflict comes highly recommended. Two former chiefs of the defence staff, Generals David Richards and Nicholas Carter, praise it for identifying key lessons from the past appropriate to the future. A former MoD strategic adviser, Sir Hew Strachan, says it will ‘challenge the professional and enlighten the generalist’. The US marine corps general and former secretary of defense James Mattis, ‘the warrior monk’, says it is ‘a clear-sighted assessment of war’s future’.

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