Category: WWII

A Gotha loaded with bombs for a night raid

Strategic bombing: Gothas over London

A hundred years ago this summer, German aircraft opened a shocking aerial campaign against London. Whereas the much-feared Zeppelins had appeared furtively under the cloak of darkness, the Gotha bombers appeared brazenly in broad daylight. Ian Castle analyses the German air offensive against London in 1917-1918.

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Interwar policy and the disaster at Dunkirk, 1940

Outgeneralled, the British Army crashed to defeat before the German Blitzkrieg in May 1940. The greatest defeat in British imperial history, it was the price of interwar conservatism. But the soldiers had fought with gritty determination and most of them were rescued from the beaches of Dunkirk. So Britain would survive to fight again.   […]

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What is the significance of the Dambusters legend?

MHM Editor Neil Faulkner analyses the RAF’s controversial strategic bombing campaign. What is the real significance of the Dambusters legend? James Holland and I clashed on this question on the BBC radio air-waves on 17 May 2013, the 70th anniversary of Operation Chastise, the famous bouncing-bomb raid on the Möhne, Eder, and Sorpe dams. We both agreed […]

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Churchill: ‘Blood, toil, tears, and sweat’

What’s that quote on the new £5 note? The phrase ‘I have nothing to offer but blood, toil, tears, and sweat’ is featured under the portrait of Winston Churchill, and it is a quote from Churchill’s first speech to the House of Commons, which he gave on 13 May 1940. Delivering his speech during the Battle […]

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WWII Berlin in photographs

The Battle of Berlin, fought between 16 April and 2 May 1945, was the last major European offensive of the Second World War. The 17-day Soviet assault centred on the German capital, which suffered a total of 363 air raids during the war. By May 1945, 1.7 million people had fled the city. Here, MHM takes a […]

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5 key reasons Churchill lost the 1945 general election

Despite a succession of victories during the Second World War, Conservative leader Winston Churchill faced a crushing defeat in Britain’s 1945 general election – one of the most astonishing political events in British history. Churchill’s approval rating was 83% just months prior to his loss, but in an unexpected landslide victory Clement Attlee’s Labour party swept to power […]

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Great Escapes: Roger Bushell

Patrick Boniface examines the lives of history’s most daring wartime captives. Roger Joyce Bushell was born on 30 August 1910 in Springs, Transvaal, in South Africa. His parents had moved to South Africa to pursue business interests in the mining industry. Roger received a first-class education there until the age of 14, when he transferred […]

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Blitzed: drugs in Nazi Germany

Hitler almost died of a cocaine overdose, and the Wehrmacht’s blitzkrieg was powered by methamphetamine. These are just two of the areas of investigation in Blitzed, Norman Ohler’s study of the massive pharmacological intake at all levels of the Nazi war-machine. Ohler begins by detailing the widespread availability of cocaine and morphine in early 20th-century […]

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Mussolini’s secret time-capsule

Classics scholars Hans Lemers and Bettina Reitz-Joosse have produced an critical edition and translation of a forgotten Latin text that reveals the ideological intricacies of Italian dictator Benito Mussolini’s Fascism. The text is the Codex Fori Mussolini (or the Mussolini Forums Codex), and it lies beneath the Mussolini obelisk in Rome – a stone column […]

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World’s only portrait signed by Churchill displayed

The only portrait that Winston Churchill ever signed has gone on public display for the first time. It was painted by artist Paul Trevillion in 1955. Born in 1934, Paul was a schoolboy during the Second World War. He told MHM, ‘My school desk faced a large poster hanging on the school wall, it had the face of Churchill […]

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