the second world war

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.…

The BBC’s battle for Britain

25 November 2017 9:00 am

The camouflage-painted, smoke-blackened entrance to London’s 1940s Broadcasting House, moated with sandbags and battered by bombs, provided its staff with…

Mussolini’s fall from grace

11 November 2017 9:00 am

These days it is fashionable to claim Mussolini as a fundamentally decent fellow led astray by an opportunist alliance with…

Holidays with Hitler

12 August 2017 9:00 am

We don’t usually think of Hitler’s hated henchman Heinrich Himmler, architect of the Holocaust of European Jewry, as a comic…

Lyudmila Pavlichenko at Sevastopol, 6 June 1942. Her total confirmed kills during the second world war amounted to 309, including 36 enemy snipers

Heroines of the Soviet Union

5 August 2017 9:00 am

Klara Goncharova, a Soviet anti-aircraft gunner, wondered at the end of the second world war how anyone could stand to…

Franco’s bloody finale

19 March 2016 9:00 am

One afternoon in the early 1990s, an elderly gentleman from Alicante told me of the tragedy that had occurred at…

Marlene Dietrich, George Orwell and the rebirth of a nation

20 February 2016 9:00 am

The purpose of Lara Feigel’s book is to describe the ‘political mission of reconciliation and restoration’ in the devastated cities…

Shock and awe in Coventry, 14 November 1940

21 November 2015 9:00 am

On 14 November 1940, at seven in the evening, the Luftwaffe began to bomb Coventry. The skyline turned red like…

Members of the Hitler Youth clear debris after an air raid on Berlin, August 1944

The swastika was always in plain sight

24 October 2015 9:00 am

In 1940, when Stephen Spender heard a German bomber diving down towards London, he calmed himself by imagining that there…

A soldiers best friend (Photo: Getty)

The beloved, mistreated and traumatised dogs of war

26 September 2015 8:00 am

If you love dogs and or live with one — I declare an interest on both counts — there is…

What drove Europe into two world wars?

19 September 2015 8:00 am

Sir Ian Kershaw won his knight’s spurs as a historian with his much acclaimed two-volume biography of Hitler, Hubris and…

The second world war — according to Stalin’s ambassador to London

12 September 2015 9:00 am

Ivan Maisky was the Russian ambassador in London from 1932 to 1943, and his knowledge of London, and affection for…

Members of the Maquis study the mechanism and maintenance of weapons dropped by parachute in the Haute-Loire

The facts behind France’s most potent modern myth

29 August 2015 9:00 am

In Marianne in Chains, his last book on Occupied France, Robert Gildea offered an original view of life in that…

Ghosts of the past haunt Pat Barker’s bomb-strewn London

29 August 2015 9:00 am

If the early Martin Amis is instantly recognisable by way of its idiosyncratic slang (‘rug-rethink’, ‘going tonto’ etc) then the…

A Sikh member of the Indian Army Services Corps at Dunkirk, 1940

Britain didn’t fight the second world war — the British empire did

25 July 2015 9:00 am

In 1929, when Edwin Lutyens handed over the newly completed building site of New Delhi to the Viceroy, Lord Irwin,…

Making do on frogs’ legs and 4,500 brace of grouse

27 June 2015 9:00 am

This big, bristling, deeply-furrowed book kicks off with a picture of the British countryside just before the second world war.…

Out of the woods: American forces attack a German machine gun post, December 1944. The grim determination of the Allies, whose heroism kept the Germans at bay, helped pave the way for the final Russian advance on Berlin

Mud, blood and war crimes on both sides – the struggle for the Ardennes was one of the bitterest of the second world war

16 May 2015 9:00 am

Christmas Eve 1944 found thousands of Allied — mostly American — troops dug into trenches and foxholes along the Belgian…

Hitler with the Goebbels family in the late 1930s

Joseph Goebbels: Hitler’s ‘little doctor’ was devoted unto death

9 May 2015 9:00 am

It is ironic that this weighty biography of Hitler’s evil genius of a propaganda minister is published on the day…

'The Cuckoo Crying before Dawn’ (1943) is Edward’s largest known watercolour.

The world of Thessyros: an icky erotic fantasy

2 May 2015 9:00 am

Lore has it that those viewing naughty books in the British Museum could once do so only with the Archbishop…

Admiral Dönitz, left in charge of the Reich after Hitler’s suicide, was lucky to have escaped the noose at Nuremberg

The madness of Nazism laid bare

14 February 2015 9:00 am

‘If the war is lost, then it is of no concern to me if the people perish in it.’ Bruno…

Powers of persuasion: how Churchill brought America on side

7 February 2015 9:00 am

In time for the 50th anniversary of Churchill’s death comes this pacy novel about his attempts to persuade the Americans…