the second world war

Agent Zo: the Polish blonde with nerves of steel

18 May 2024 9:00 am

Clare Mulley celebrates the courage of Elzbieta Zawacka, who repeatedly risked her life in the second world war liaising between London and the Polish Resistance

Eighty years on, the planning of Operation Neptune remains awesome

13 April 2024 9:00 am

The seaborne invasion went so smoothly, it might have been thought plain-sailing. But that was far from the truth. Nick Hewitt describes the meticulous forethought that preceded it

Dangerous secrets: Verdigris, by Michele Mari, reviewed

20 January 2024 9:00 am

A lonely teenager on holiday in Italy befriends his grandparents’ elderly gardener and slowly coaxes out his painful memories of betrayals and reprisals during the war

The Duke of Windsor had much to be thankful for

25 November 2023 9:00 am

Defending the ‘maligned’ Duke, Jane Marguerite Tippett fails to mention how hard officials worked to suppress evidence of his treachery and prevent a court martial in 1940

Looking on the bright side

7 October 2023 9:00 am

The Rochdale lass who sang her way from music hall to the silver screen encouraged a spirit of resilience and community in the interwar years, says Simon Heffer

The philosophical puzzles of the British Socrates

17 June 2023 9:00 am

After vital work for British intelligence during the second world war, why did J.L. Austin devote the rest of his life to considering literally asinine questions?

Propaganda from the Russian Front: The People Immortal, by Vasily Grossman, reviewed

13 August 2022 9:00 am

On its posthumous publication in 1980, Vasily Grossman’s Life and Fate was widely compared with War and Peace. For all…

Behind the Five Eyes intelligence alliance

30 July 2022 9:00 am

In February 1941 four US officers were landed from a British warship at Sheerness, bundled into vehicles and driven to…

Berliners were punished twice – by Hitler and by the Allies

18 June 2022 9:00 am

‘Nationalism is an infantile disease. It is the measles of mankind.’ Albert Einstein’s deft avoidance of the question put to…

Pablo Picasso in love and war

2 April 2022 9:00 am

As Europe descended into chaos, the middle-aged Picasso remained as bullish as ever, says Craig Raine

The Belfast Blitz: These Days, by Lucy Caldwell, reviewed

19 March 2022 9:00 am

Caught outside at the start of a raid in the Belfast Blitz as the incendiary bombs rain down, Audrey looks…

The horror of tank warfare brought vividly to life

23 October 2021 9:00 am

If Joseph Stalin was right about one thing it was his assertion that ‘the death of one man is a…

Louis-Ferdinand Céline was lucky to escape retribution in 1945

11 September 2021 9:00 am

They rather like bad boys, the French. Louis-Ferdinand Céline (1894-1961) is one, in a tradition that stretches from François Villon…

Germany’s post-war recovery was no economic miracle

17 July 2021 9:00 am

Lord Macaulay wrote that ‘during the century and a half which followed the Conquest there is, to speak strictly, no…

The defiance of the ‘ghetto girls’ who resisted the Nazis

5 June 2021 9:00 am

‘Jewish Resistance in Poland: Women Trample Nazi Soldiers,’ ran a New York headline in late 1942. That autumn, the Nazi…

Dreading demobilisation: The Autumn of the Ace, by Louis de Bernières, reviewed

16 January 2021 9:00 am

The Autumn of the Ace begins in 1945, as the second world war ends, but both Louis de Bernières and…

Old men remember: reliving the horror of Tobruk

16 January 2021 9:00 am

‘Old men forget; yet all shall be forgot,/ But he’ll remember, with advantages,/ What feats he did that day.’ Peter…

How Hitler’s great gamble nearly paid off

9 January 2021 9:00 am

Do we need another wrist-breaking book about Adolf Hitler, the Third Reich and the second world war? Since Ian Kershaw…

Lambs to the slaughter: the fiasco of the Dieppe Raid, August 1942

31 October 2020 9:00 am

In carefree days which now seem so distant we used occasionally to take the Newhaven-Dieppe ferry. Docking after a long…

Female partisans played a vital role in fighting fascism in Italy — but it was a thankless task

14 December 2019 9:00 am

‘I am a woman,’ Ada Gobetti wrote in a clandestine Piedmont newsletter in 1943: An insignificant little woman, who has…

The Dambusters raid was great theatre — but almost entirely pointless

7 September 2019 9:00 am

The great bomber pilot Guy Gibson had a black labrador with a racist name. This shouldn’t matter, except Gibson loved…

Migration in Europe is the ripple effect of the second world war

17 August 2019 9:00 am

Two words may pique the reader’s interest on the cover of this timely, panoramic history of Europe by the distinguished…

A stubborn Conservative PM attempting to negotiate with Germany? Not Theresa May but Neville Chamberlain

13 April 2019 9:00 am

When lists are compiled of our best and worst prime ministers (before the present incumbent), the two main protagonists of…

Ernst Jünger in Paris in 1941

Ernst Jünger — reluctant captain of the Wehrmacht

19 January 2019 9:00 am

Ernst Jünger, who died in 1998, aged 102, is now better known for his persona than his work. A deeply…

The Yamato wheels in a tight curve in an effort to avoid aerial bombardment

The spectacular suicide mission of the world’s greatest battleship

10 March 2018 9:00 am

In April 1945, the Japanese battleship Yamato — the largest and heaviest in history — embarked upon a suicide mission.…