WWII

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BEHIND THE IMAGE: Number of people mobilised in World War II

The Second World War was the deadliest conflict in human history – involving 30 belligerent nations, it was fought from the far north of Europe to the South Pacific, and mobilised 1 in 9 of the global population. Estimates of the total number of soldiers and civilians killed range from 56 million to 85 million.

Orwell-at-BBC

Auntie’s Secret Resistance Messages

How did London communicate with the Resistance in Occupied Europe during the Second World War? A newly released archive of BBC documents has revealed that coded messages were often sent in regular radio bulletins.

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War Reporters: Martha Gellhorn

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.

German SS Troops with a Panzer Division

The Ardennes, 1944

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?

Cobra-map

Battle Map: Operation Cobra

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.

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War on Film: A Bridge Too Far

Making an international, big-budget, action movie about Operation Market Garden was never going to be easy. To start with, the operation was a failure and does not have the feel-good factor of, say, The Longest Day.

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