The enormous loss of life and physical destruction caused by the First World War led people to hope that there would never be another such catastrophe. How then did it come about that there was a Second World War causing twice the 30 million deaths and many times more destruction as had been caused in the previous conflict? In this Very Short Introduction, Gerhard L. Weinberg provides an introduction to the origins, course, and impact of the war on those who fought and the ordinary citizens who lived through it. Starting by looking at the inter-war years and the German invasion of Poland in September 1939, he examines how the war progressed by examining a number of key events, including the war in the West in 1940, Barbarossa, The German Invasion of the Soviet Union, the expansion of Japan's war with China, developments on the home front, and the Allied victory from 1944-45
One April morning in 1943, a sardine fisherman spotted the corpse of a British soldier floating in the sea off the coast of Spain and set in train a course of events that would change the course of the Second World War • Operation Mincemeat was the most successful wartime deception ever attempted, and certainly the strangest. It hoodwinked the Nazi espionage chiefs, sent German troops hurtling in the wrong direction, and saved thousands of lives by deploying a secret agent who was different, in one crucial respect, from any spy before or since: he was dead. His mission: to convince the Germans that instead of attacking Sicily, the Allied armies planned to invade Greece • The brainchild of an eccentric RAF officer and a brilliant Jewish barrister, the great hoax involved an extraordinary cast of characters including a famous forensic pathologist, a gold-prospector, an inventor, a beautiful secret service secretary, a submarine captain, three novelists, a transvestite English spymaster, an irascible admiral who loved fly-fishing, and a dead Welsh tramp
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