the second world war

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.…

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

Ordinary Germans under the Third Reich did have wills of their own, argues Dominic Green. Most actively embraced Nazi ideology, and were aware of the extermination of the Jews. As the war worsened for them, what did they think they were fighting for?

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

Patrick Marnham unravels some of the powerful, often conflicting myths surrounding the French Resistance