Seema Syeda appreciates the charm and chutzpah of indefatigable war correspondent Martha Gellhorn. Having crossed the Atlantic to cover her first conflict, the Spanish Civil War, Gellhorn found herself in Czechoslovakia, just before the Nazi occupation of the region known to the Germans as the Sudetenland.
More than 4,000 square miles of hills and ridges, thickly forested, dissected by streams and rivers, its few roads punctuated by chokepoints. One of Western Europe’s ancient wildernesses. How was the Ardennes Offensive executed, and how did it accelerate the bitter end of one of history’s most brutal regimes?
The truth is that the Normandy Campaign was a vast enterprise, of engineering, logistics, strategy, and planning, but it was also, once under way, driven by events that could not be foreseen.
Operation Cobra was a resounding success for the Allied forces on their path to liberating France in the summer of 1944, and one of the key turning-points in the history of the Second World War. Those days of fast-moving action between 25 and 30 July saw the beginning of the final collapse of the German occupation of France.
Tim Bouverie’s Appeasing Hitler strides boldly and confidently through a decade of British political and diplomatic history. Such history could be dull, but not in the hands of Bouverie, whose narrative is tense and written with great verve.
The world’s largest ever airborne operation was launched during September 1944, with less than a week of planning. This was one of many ingredients in what, for the Allies, would become a major strategic setback. What went wrong?
William F Buckingham has written what may become the definitive British account of the Battle of Arnhem. In a crowded field, Buckingham’s meticulous reconstruction of the battle provides the reader with a detailed yet accessible narrative of those remarkable events of 75 years ago.
It is perhaps surprising that no one had written a history of the Commonwealth armies in the Second World War before this new book by Jonathan Fennell. At the heart of Fennell’s history is the story of the morale of the different armies – British, Canadian, Australian, New Zealand, South African, and Indian.
Blockbuster movies have been made about the legendary D-Day landings, but little attention is paid to what happened afterwards. Although the Allies succeeded in puncturing the German Atlantic Wall, a long campaign of bitter fighting through the fields and hedgerows of the Normandy countryside –otherwise known as the bocage – lay ahead. How were the Germans brought to final defeat?
Dan Keane reviews Benjamin Britten’s War Requiem, a key highlight of the London Coliseum’s 2018/2019 season. It is difficult for any artist to find an appropriate medium to convey the immensity of pain generated by war. Such is the task of Benjamin Britten’s War Requiem, first performed in 1962 to mark the consecration of the […]