This is the first serious analysis of the combat capability of the British army in the Second World War. It sweeps away the myth that the army suffered from poor morale, and that it only won its battles thorugh the use of 'brute force' and by reverting to the techniques of the First World War. David French analyses the place of the army in British strategy in the interwar period and during the Second World War. He shows that after 1918 the General Staff tried hard to learn the lessons of the First World War, enthusiastically embracing technology as the best way of minimizing future casualties. In the first half of the Second World War the army did suffer from manifold weaknesses, not just in the form of shortages of equipment, but also in the way in which it applied its doctrine. Few soldiers were actively eager to close with the enemy, but the morale of the army never collapsed and its combat capability steadily improved from 1942 onwards. Professor French assesses Montgomery's contributions to the war effort and concludes that most important were his willingness to impose a uniform understanding of doctrine on his subordinates, and to use mechanized firepower in ways quite different from Haig in the First World War.
Allied Fighting Effectiveness is a collection of scholarly papers focusing on a variety of different aspects of the major campaigns of North Africa, Sicily and Italy, ranging from operation TORCH to the end of the war in Europe.
This is a fascinating new insight into the British army and its evolution through both large and small scale conflicts. To prepare for future wars, armies derive lessons from past wars. However, some armies are defeated because they learnt the wrong lessons, fighting new conflicts in ways appropriate to the last. For the British Army in the twentieth century, the challenge has been particularly great. It has never had the luxury of emerging from one major European war with the time to prepare itself for the next. The leading military historians show how ongoing commitments to a range of ‘small wars’ have always been part of the Army’s experience. After 1902 and after 1918 they included colonial campaigns, but they also developed into what we would now call counter-insurgency operations, and these became the norm between 1945 and 1969. During the height of the Cold War, in 1982, the Army was deployed to the Falklands. Since 1990 the dominant tasks of the Army have been peace support operations. This is an excellent resource for all students and scholars of military history, politics and international relations and British history.
A masterful and comprehensive chronicle of World War II, by internationally bestselling historian Antony Beevor. Over the past two decades, Antony Beevor has established himself as one of the world's premier historians of WWII. His multi-award winning books have included Stalingrad and The Fall of Berlin 1945. Now, in his newest and most ambitious book, he turns his focus to one of the bloodiest and most tragic events of the twentieth century, the Second World War. In this searing narrative that takes us from Hitler's invasion of Poland on September 1st, 1939 to V-J day on August 14th, 1945 and the war's aftermath, Beevor describes the conflict and its global reach--one that included every major power. The result is a dramatic and breathtaking single-volume history that provides a remarkably intimate account of the war that, more than any other, still commands attention and an audience. Thrillingly written and brilliantly researched, Beevor's grand and provocative account is destined to become the definitive work on this complex, tragic, and endlessly fascinating period in world history, and confirms once more that he is a military historian of the first rank.
An Army officer must lead men into frightening and dangerous situations and sometimes make them do things that they never thought they could do. This book recounts how British officers have led their men, and commanded their respect, from the days of Marlborough to the Second Iraq war of 2003. Anthony Clayton explores who the officers, men and now women, have been and are, where they came from, what ideals or traditions have motivated them, and their own perceptions of themselves. His account tells the fascinating story of how the role of the military officer evolved, illustrated by a selection of captivating images, and the personal memoirs, biographies and autobiographies of officers.
In this study, the author traces the reasons for the British Army's tactical weakness in Normany to flaws in its training in Britain. The armour suffered from failures of experience. Disagreements between General Montgomery and the War Office exacerbated matters.
Essential background to the German blitzkrieg of World War II Complements the stories of panzer aces like Otto Carius and Michael Wittmann In the wake of World War I, the German army lay in ruins--defeated in the war, sundered by domestic upheaval, and punished by the Treaty of Versailles. A mere twenty years later, Germany possessed one of the finest military machines in the world, capable of launching a stunning blitzkrieg attack against Poland in 1939. Well-known military historian Robert M. Citino shows how Germany accomplished this astonishing reversal and developed the doctrine, tactics, and technologies that its military would use to devastating effect in World War II.
This volume brings together a distinguished group of international scholars to discuss the major debates in the study of early twentieth-century Europe. Brings together contributions from a distinguished group of international scholars. Provides an overview of current thinking on the period. Traces the great political, social and economic upheavals of the time. Illuminates perennial themes, as well as new areas of enquiry. Takes a pan-European approach, highlighting similarities and differences across nations and regions.
Winston Churchill spent his early childhood in Ireland, had close Irish relatives, and was himself much involved in Irish political issues for a large part of his career. He took Ireland very seriously - and not only because of its significance in the Anglo-American relationship. Churchill, in fact, probably took Ireland more seriously than Ireland took Churchill. Yet, in the fifty years since Churchill's death, there has not been a single major book on his relationship to Ireland. It is the most neglected part of his legacy on both sides of the Irish Sea. Distinguished historian of Ireland Paul Bew now at long last puts this right. Churchill and Ireland tells the full story of Churchill's lifelong engagement with Ireland and the Irish, from his early years as a child in Dublin, through his central role in the Home Rule crisis of 1912-14 and in the war leading up to the Anglo-Irish Treaty of 1922, to his bitter disappointment at Irish neutrality in the Second World War and gradual rapprochement with his old enemy Eamon de Valera towards the end of his life. As this long overdue book reminds us, Churchill learnt his earliest rudimentary political lessons in Ireland. It was the first piece in the Churchill jigsaw and, in some respects, the last.
The regimental system has been the foundation of the British army for three hundred years. This iconoclastic study shows how it was refashioned in the late nineteenth century, and how it was subsequently and repeatedly reinvented to suit the changing roles that were forced upon the army.Based upon a combination of official papers, private papers and personal reminiscences, and upon research in the National Archives, regimental museums and collections, and other depositories, this book challenges the assumptions of both the exponents and detractors of the system. The author, David French, shows that there was not one, but several, regimental systems and he demonstrates that localised recruiting was usually a failure. Many regiments were never able to draw more than a smallproportion of their recruits from their own districts. He shows that regimental loyalties were not a primordial force; regimental authorities had to create them and in the late nineteenth century they manufactured new traditions with gusto, whilst in both World Wars regimental postings quickly brokedown and regiments had to take recruits from wherever they could find them. French also argues that the notion that the British army was bad at fighting big battles because the regimental system created a parochial military culture is facile.This is the first book to strip away the myths that have been deliberately manufactured to justify or to condemn the regimental system and to uncover the reality beneath them. It thus illuminates our understanding of the past while simultaneously throwing glaring new light on the still continuing debate over the place of the regimental system in the modern army today.
This collection of essays is the result of an international conference that marked the 50th anniversary of Churchill and Roosevelt's first meeting. The essays discuss both the charter's formulation and its long-term significance, and provide perspectives o
Focuses on the Seventh Army in West Germany--the largest and best-prepared field army ever deployed by the U.S. in peacetime--to show how the U.S. army redefined its identity, structure, and mission in order to avoid obsolescence during the Cold War era of nuclear weapons and air power.
Between September 1939 and June 1940, the British Expeditionary Force confronted the German threat to France and Flanders with a confused mind-set, an uncertain skills-set and an uncompetitive capability. This book explores the formation's origins, the scale of defeat in France and the campaign's considerable legacy.
In his groundbreaking book The British Way in Warfare (Routledge, 1990), David French outlined the skillful combination of maritime, economic and diplomatic power employed by Britain to achieve its international goals. Almost two decades later, this collection offers a reassessment of French's thesis, using it as a lens through which to explore Britain's relationship with various kinds of power (military and civil) and how this was employed across the globe. In particular, each essay addresses the ways in which the use of power manifested itself in the maintenance of Britain's place within the international system between 1856 and 1956. Adopting twin methodologies, the collection firstly addresses the broad question of Britain's relationship with other Great Powers and how these influenced the strategies used, before then testing these with specific case studies. By taking this approach, it is possible to discern which policies were successful and which failed, and whether these remained constant across time and space. Measuring Britain's strategy against her commercial, imperial, and military competitors (including France, the USA, Italy, Germany, and Russia) allows intriguing conclusions to be drawn about just how an essentially maritime power could compete with much larger - and potentially more powerful - continental rivals. With contributions from an outstanding selection of military scholars, this collection addresses fundamental questions about the intersection of military, economic and diplomatic history, that are as relevant today as they were during the height of Britain's imperial power. It will prove essential reading, not only for those with an interest in British military history, but for anyone wishing to understand how power - in all its multifaceted guises - can be employed for national advantage on the international stage.
The First World War, with its mud and the slaughter of the trenches, is often taken as the ultimate example of the futility of war. Generals, safe in their headquarters behind the lines, sent millions of men to their deaths to gain a few hundred yards of ground. Writers, notably Siegfried Sassoon and Wilfred Owen, provided unforgettable images of the idiocy and tragedy of the war. Yet this vision of the war is at best a partial one, the war only achieving its status as the worst of wars in the last thirty years. At the time, the war aroused emotions of pride and patriotism. Not everyone involved remembered the war only for its miseries. The generals were often highly professional and indeed won the war in 1918. In this original and challenging book, Dan Todman shows views of the war have changed over the last ninety years and how a distorted image of it emerged and became dominant.
In his groundbreaking book The British Way in Warfare (Routledge, 1990), David French outlined the skillful combination of maritime, economic and diplomatic power employed by Britain to achieve its international goals. Almost two decades later, this collection offers a reassessment of French's thesis, using it as a lens through which to explore Britain's relationship with various kinds of power (military and civil) and how this was employed across the globe. In particular, each essay addresses the ways in which the use of power manifested itself in the maintenance of Britain's place within the international system between 1856 and 1956. Adopting twin methodologies, the collection firstly addresses the broad question of Britain's relationship with other Great Powers and how these influenced the strategies used, before then testing these with specific case studies. By taking this approach, it is possible to discern which policies were successful and which failed, and whether these remained constant across time and space. Measuring Britain's strategy against her commercial, imperial and military competitors (including France, the USA, Italy, Germany and Russia) allows intriguing conclusions to be drawn about just how an essentially maritime power could compete with much larger - and potentially more powerful - continental rivals. With contributions from an outstanding selection of military scholars, this collection addresses fundamental questions about the intersection of military, economic and diplomatic history, that are as relevant today as they were during the height of Britain's imperial power. It will prove essential reading, not only for those with an interest in British military history, but for anyone wishing to understand how power - in all its multifaceted guises - can be employed for national advantage on the international stage.
The military events of the Second World War have been the subject of historical debate from 1945 to the present. It mattered greatly who won, and fighting was the essential determinant of victory or defeat. In Volume 1 of The Cambridge History of the Second World War a team of twenty-five leading historians offer a comprehensive and authoritative new account of the war's military and strategic history. Part I examines the military cultures and strategic objectives of the eight major powers involved. Part II surveys the course of the war in its key theatres across the world, and assesses why one side or the other prevailed there. Part III considers, in a comparative way, key aspects of military activity, including planning, intelligence, and organisation of troops and matérial, as well as guerrilla fighting and treatment of prisoners of war.
Two men came to personify generalship in the Second World War: Bernard Montgomery for the British and Erwin Rommel for the Germans. In the span of a few short years, they fought a series of extraordinary duels across several theaters of war. Ever since, historians have assessed their outstanding leadership, personalities, and skill. Monty and Rommel is the first comparative biography written of these two extraordinary soldiers. It explores how each was "made" by their war leaders, Churchill and Hitler, and how the thoughts of both permeate down to today's armies.
Winner of the Pulitzer Prize: “The richest and most powerful single document of the American experience in World War II” (The Boston Globe). The Good War is a testament not only to the experience of war but to the extraordinary skill of Studs Terkel as an interviewer and oral historian. From a pipe fitter’s apprentice at Pearl Harbor to a crew member of the flight that dropped the atomic bomb on Nagasaki, his subjects are open and unrelenting in their analyses of themselves and their experiences, producing what People magazine has called “a splendid epic history” of WWII. With this volume Terkel expanded his scope to the global and the historical, and the result is a masterpiece of oral history. “Tremendously compelling, somehow dramatic and intimate at the same time, as if one has stumbled on private accounts in letters locked in attic trunks . . . In terms of plain human interest, Mr. Terkel may well have put together the most vivid collection of World War II sketches ever gathered between covers.” —The New York Times Book Review “I promise you will remember your war years, if you were alive then, with extraordinary vividness as you go through Studs Terkel’s book. Or, if you are too young to remember, this is the best place to get a sense of what people were feeling.” —Chicago Tribune Book World “A powerful book, repeatedly moving and profoundly disturbing.” —People
On the eve of World War II, the British army was more an international police force than a true combat-ready fighting machine. Raymond Callahan chronicles its trial-by-fire transformation in a new and unflinching look at Great Britain's top commanders in the field. Callahan reexamines the much-maligned performance of the British army in that war by reevaluating its commanders' victories and defeats, their leadership abilities and flaws, and their often rocky relationships with Prime Minister Winston Churchill, whose powerful presence looms over every page. Revisiting wartime theaters stretching from Southeast Asia across India through the Middle East, into North Africa, and across Europe, Callahan revises and expands our understanding of how British commanders--both the best and worst--led their troops and executed their strategies. Callahan explores the way Churchill, with his own idea about the army's goals and concerned about the precariousness of his political fortunes, dealt with his generals, who often held views different from his own. He probes the relationship between Churchill's political goals and war aims, the army's capabilities, and its generals' battlefield performance, while assessing the roles of such leaders as Alan Brooke, Bernard Montgomery, Archibald Wavell, Claude Auchinleck, and Harold Alexander. He also reveals why William Slim should be regarded as the outstanding British commander of the war and Britain's best field commander since Wellington--and how other generals such as Neil Richie, Henry Wilson, and Oliver Leese exemplify the role of chance in history. Past criticism has tended to ignore both the obstacles confronting the army and its dramatic improvementby war's end. Callahan sets that record straight while offering insight into the evolution of the British wartime army within the contexts of coalition warfare, the constraints of a far-flung Empire, and Churchill's political concerns and desire to retain a British presence on the world stage. He considers problems posed by manpower, training, doctrine, equipment, and new military technologies and strategies as the army faced a multifront global war that pushed an already overextended fighting force nearly to the breaking point. Churchill and His Generals is the most comprehensive analysis of this wartime relationship, an account of institutional transformation under extreme stress that balances Churchill's own self-serving memoirs. It clearly demonstrates that what political leaders demand from their armies is less important than what those armies are designed to do--and that this oft-recurring disconnect lies at the root of much wartime civil-military tension.

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