The Forgotten Heroes of 1945
During the closing weeks of the Second World War, Allied High Command feared the Soviet Union’s domination of post-war Europe, and ordered the capture of superior Nazi military technology, and the scientists who developed it, before they fell into Soviet hands. This fast-paced story of Target-Force, an assembly of British regiments entrusted with the task, covers the brigade’s formation (inspired by Ian Fleming) and its missions, including the capture of the U-boat facility at Kiel.
Eggs or Anarchy
The Remarkable Story of the Man Tasked with the Impossible: To Feed a Nation at War
Battling unscrupulous dealers, blockades and sinking ships, Minister for Food Lord Woolton was tasked with feeding the nation during the Second World War. Despite Churchill’s misgivings, Woolton – a working-class boy turned business tycoon – rose to the challenge, making a huge contribution to the war effort and improving the health of the nation to boot. Award-winning food writer William Sitwell draws on personal letters and diaries to reveal this previously untold story.
The Man Who Broke Enigmas
Brilliant classical scholar Alfred Dillwyn Knox was recruited by the Admiralty as a codebreaker in 1915 and by the outbreak of the Second World War was a leading cryptographer for the Government Code and Cypher School, breaking the Abwehr Enigma at Bletchley Park in 1941. This biography of the eccentric genius is written by one of 'Dilly's girls' - his codebreaking assistants at Bletchley - and describes his life and work, including detailed explanations of his decryption methods.
Six Minutes in May
How Churchill Unexpectedly Became Prime Minister
Britain’s first land operation of the Second World War, the invasion of Norway in April 1940, was a disaster. Just weeks later, Winston Churchill, the man blamed for the debacle, became Prime Minister. Ranging from the Arctic battlefields to the corridors of Westminster, this history charts the dramatic events and secret intrigues that would see Churchill oust Neville Chamberlain as Prime Minister and defeat his favoured successor, Lord Halifax, to lead Britain through the greatest challenge it had ever faced.
Persuading the People
British Propaganda in World War II
During the Second World War, the Ministry of Information (MOI) was created to issue ‘national propaganda’ – books, pamphlets, postcards and posters that would maintain morale at home and influence opinion abroad. In 2000, the Ministry’s archive of wartime publications was deposited in the British Library. Drawing on that material and illustrating 139 examples, David Welch demonstrates the range and inventiveness of MOI’s output, whether mobilizing fighters, promoting thrift and well-being, celebrating victories or rousing people against the enemy.
Digging for Victory
Gardens and Gardening in Wartime Britain
During the successful Dig for Victory campaign, which aimed to make wartime Britain self-sufficient, gardeners everywhere dug up their lawns to grow not only fruit and vegetables, but flowers too, inspiring ‘faith, hope, cheerfulness and courage’. From composting to harvesting, this playful history of the campaign features all aspects of wartime gardening, and is vividly illustrated by original pamphlets, recoloured photographs and instructional cartoons.
The Hitler Conspirator
The Story of Kurt Freiherr von Plettenberg and Stauffenberg's Valkyrie Plot to Kill the Führer
Kurt Freiherr von Plettenberg was 54 when he threw himself from a fourth-floor window of a Gestapo jail. This biography tells for the first time how a scion of German aristocracy, who fought with distinction in both world wars, helped organize resistance to the Nazi regime, culminating in the July 1944 plot to assassinate Hitler. Only captured in March 1945 as the Reich was crumbling, he took his own life to avoid betraying his friends under torture.
Best Foot Forward
The Autobiography of the RAF's Other Legless Fighter Pilot
A training accident in a Fleet Air Arm Tiger Moth in 1939 resulted in Colin Hodgkinson losing both his legs, but with Douglas Bader as a role model he was determined to resume his duties as a pilot. This memoir, first published in 1957, recounts his wartime experiences, including rehabilitation under the surgeon Archibald McIndoe, active service in Spitfires and time spent in a PoW camp after crash-landing in France.
Operation Lena and Hitler's Plots to Blow Up Britain
German plots to sabotage British infrastructure were commonplace during the Second World War, and many intended to disrupt the mainland by enlisting as saboteurs members of the IRA, Welsh and Scottish extremists, and other foreign nationals. Bernard O’Connor gives accounts of planned operations, including Seagull, Green, Sea Eagle and Lena, which depended on the nationalists’ collaboration, and describes how MI6 attempted to foil the saboteurs through codebreaking and employing double agents like Zigzag and Tate.
Defending the Rock
How Gibraltar Defeated Hitler
Gibraltar has been an indispensable naval fortress since 1704, yet in July 1940 it was threatened on four sides: by Vichy France, Nazi Germany, and fascist Italy and Spain. This history of the Rock’s strategic importance during the War also explores the pre-war imperial incursions in the Mediterranean region, which would threaten Gibraltar as a wartime escape route and key link in the ‘steel chain of sea power’.
The Long Walk
The True Story of a Trek to Freedom
In 1939 Polish Army lieutenant Slavomir Rawicz was sentenced to 25 years forced labour in a Siberian prison camp. In this controversial story of endurance, Rawicz describes his imprisonment and alleged escape to India across the Himalayas and Gobi Desert.
The Last Big Gun
At War and at Sea with HMS Belfast
The Battle of the North Cape off the coast of Norway was one of the last ship-to-ship engagements fought and HMS Belfast was among the British contingent that sunk the German battleship Scharnhorst. This history of the cruiser tells its story in the context of the wider role of the Royal Navy in the Second World War as well reviewing its post-war duties before it assumed its present role as a museum ship.
Commandant Of Auschwitz
The Autobiography of Rudolf Hoess
Rudolf Hoess was Commandant of Auschwitz from its construction in 1940 until late 1943, and supervised the murder of over three million Jews as part of the Nazis’ ‘final solution’. He was an expert in the administration of concentration camps and mass exterminations. Hoess wrote this autobiography in 1947 while in prison in Poland. He was tried, sentenced and hanged later that year. The autobiography and other documents are translated here by Constantine Fitzgibbon, with an introduction by Primo Levi.
Britain's Secret Army: The Munitions Women of World War II
With the outbreak of war in 1939, many factories were turned over to the war effort, while new ones were quickly built to manufacture munitions. Millions of women worked arduous shifts, day and night, dealing with dangerous materials, often after being forced to leave home and live in uncomfortable and unfamiliar surroundings. Based on extensive interviews, this book recounts the experiences of nine 'bomb girls', revealing the hardships that they endured and their often-unrecognized contribution to the Allied victory.
The Guns at Last Light
The War in Western Europe, 1944–1945
Beginning with the Normandy invasion of June 1944, this third volume in American historian Rick Atkinson’s ‘Liberation Trilogy’ follows the progress of the Allied advance across Western Europe, recounting engagements such as the Battle of the Bulge and Operation Market Garden. Organizing the year-long struggle into a compelling narrative, this acclaimed account takes in the perspectives of participants at all levels and assesses the characters and actions of leading Allied personalities including Eisenhower, Montgomery and Patton. Off-mint.
To Hell and Back
How did a continent at the summit of its prosperity and security plunge itself not once, but twice in a generation, into wars of unprecedented savagery and destructive power? In this eighth volume in the Penguin History of Europe series, one of Britain’s most acclaimed historians provides a narrative of events and profiles the key decision-makers, offering a clear analysis of the underlying forces that drove them. Off-mint and felt-tip mark on lower trimmed edge.
The Debs of Bletchley Park
Bletchley Park may be famous for the exploits of Alan Turing and the team operating his first 'computer', but at the peak of its operations Station X employed as many as 12,000 people, two-thirds of whom were women. From language students to society debutantes and even a former ballerina, this book explores the extraordinary secret life of these women during the Second World War and the significant contribution they made to the Allied victory. Slightly off-mint.
The Women Who Flew for Hitler
The True Story of Hitler's Valkyries
Pioneering aviators Hanna Reitch and Melitta von Stauffenberg shared the distinction of being the only women test pilots in the Luftwaffe, but their backgrounds and personalities were sharply contrasted. This double biography gives an account of their parallel rise to prominence, their remarkable aviation careers and their differing attitudes, mirroring the divisions in Nazi Germany: Hanna, the glamorous darling of the new Reich; and the aristocratic Melitta, implicated in the plot to assassinate Hitler.
Firing on Fortress Europe
HMS Belfast at D-Day
The Royal Navy took the lead in the highly complex task of delivering the largest invasion force in history to the Normandy beaches, supporting the attack with thousands of vessels and building temporary harbours to keep them supplied long after the first landings. This lesser-known side of the D-Day story is told through a collection of first-hand accounts of sailors aboard HMS Belfast and illustrated with contemporary photographs, sketches and paintings.
At War on the Gothic Line
Fighting in Italy 1944–45
If much of the attention in Summer 1944 was on Normandy and the progress of the Allies through France, another enormous multinational army was also fighting doggedly further south and facing the last formidable barrier of German defensive positions, the Gothic Line, stretching from the Adriatic to the Mediterranean across mountainous northern Italy. This analysis of a year of fighting on the front tells the story through the varied experiences of 13 men and women from seven different countries.