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A landmark account of the fall of the Weimar Republic and the rise of Hitler, based on award-winning research, and recently discovered archival material.
In the 1930s, Germany was at a turning point, with many looking to the Nazi phenomenon as part of widespread resentment towards cosmopolitan liberal democracy and capitalism. This was a global situation that pushed Germany to embrace authoritarianism, nationalism and economic self-sufficiency, kick-starting a revolution founded on new media technologies, and the formidable political and self-promotional skills of its leader.
Based on award-winning research and recently discovered archival material, The Death Of Democracy is a panoramic new survey of one of the most important periods in modern history, and a book with a resounding message for the world today.
Tyrant, psychopath, and implementer of a ruthless programme of racial extermination, Adolf Hitler was also the charismatic Fuhrer of millions of dedicated followers. In this major new biography, internationally acclaimed German historian Peter Longerich brings Hitler back to centre-stage in the history of Nazism, revealing a far more active and interventionist dictator than we are familiar with from recent accounts, with a flexibility of approach that often surprises. Whether it was foreign policy, war-making, terror, mass murder, cultural and religious affairs, or even mundane everyday matters, Longerich reveals how decisive a force Hitler was in the formulation of policy, sometimes right down to the smallest details, in a way which until now has not been fully appreciated. Consistently and ruthlessly destroying both the people and the power structures that stood in his way, Longerich shows how over time Hitler succeeded in forging his 'Fuhrer dictatorship' - with terrifying and almost limitless power over the German people.
'A fascinating, superbly researched and revelatory book - told with tremendous pace and excitement' William Boyd 'This compelling and complete account of the extraordinarily courageous women of SOE is at turns enthralling, edge-of-smart exciting and also heart-breaking. The way in which they were sent into Nazi-occupied Europe and left to face unspeakable danger remains astonishing and Stroud's book is a reminder and fitting testimony to their immense bravery.' James Holland On 18 June 1940 General de Gaulle broadcast from London to his countrymen in France about the catastrophe that had overtaken their nation - the victory of the invading Germans. He declared 'Is defeat final? No! . . . the flame of French Resistance must not and will not be extinguished'. The Resistance began almost immediately. At first it was made up of small, disorganised groups working in isolation. But by the time of the liberation in 1944 around 400,000 French citizens, nearly 2 per cent of the population, were involved. The Special Operations Executive (SOE) set up by Winston Churchill in 1941 saw its role in France as helping the Resistance by recruiting and organising guerrilla fighters; supplying and training them; and then disrupting the invaders by any means necessary. The basic SOE unit was a team of three: a leader, a wireless operator and a courier. These teams operated in Resistance circuits and the agents were given random codenames. The aim of this work was to prepare for the invasion of Europe by Allied forces and the eventual liberation of France. It was soon decided that women would play a vital role. There were 39 female agents recruited from all walks of life, ranging from a London shop assistant to a Polish aristocrat. What linked them was that they knew France well, were fluent in French and were prepared to sacrifice everything to help defeat the enemy. The women trained alongside the men, learning how to disappear into the background, how to operate a radio transmitter and how to kill a man with their bare hands. Once trained they were infiltrated behind the lines by parachute or tiny aircraft that could land in remote fields. Some of the women went on to lead thousands of Resistance fighters, while others were arrested, brutally interrogated and sent to concentration camps where they endured torment and death. Lonely Courage tells their story and sheds light on what life was really like for these brave women who tumbled from the sky.
A magisterial history of the greatest and most terrible event in history, from one of the finest historians of the Second World War. A book which shows the impact of war upon hundreds of millions of people around the world- soldiers, sailors and airmen; housewives, farm workers and children.. Reflecting Max Hastings's thirty-five years of research on World War II, All Hell Let Loose describes the course of events, but focuses chiefly upon human experience, which varied immensely from campaign to campaign, continent to continent. The author emphasises the Russian front, where more than 90% of all German soldiers who perished met their fate. He argues that, while Hitler's army often fought its battles brilliantly well, the Nazis conducted their war effort with 'stunning incompetence'. He suggests that the Royal Navy and US Navy were their countries' outstanding fighting services, while the industrial contribution of the United States was much more important to allied victory than that of the US Army. The book ranges across a vast canvas, from the agony of Poland amid the September 1939 Nazi invasion, to the 1943 Bengal famine, in which at least a million people died under British rule- and British neglect. Among many vignettes, there are the RAF's legendary raid on the Ruhr dams, the horrors of Arctic convoys, desert tank combat, jungle clashes. Some of Hastings's insights and judgements will surprise students of the conflict, while there are vivid descriptions of the tragedies and triumphs of a host of ordinary people, in uniform and out of it. 'The cliche is profoundly true', he says. 'The world between 1939 and 1945 saw some human beings plumb the depths of baseness, while others scaled the heights of courage and nobility'. This is 'everyman's story', an attempt to answer the question: 'What was the Second World War like ?', and also an overview of the big picture. Max Hastings employs the technique which has made many of his previous books best-sellers, combining top-down analysis and bottom-up testimony to explore the meaning of this vast conflict both for its participants and for posterity.
Follow the conflict of the Second World War from 1939 to 1945 in this unique volume, published in association with Imperial War Museums, London, featuring historical maps and photographs from their archives, and fascinating commentary from an expert historian. Over 150 maps tell the story of how this global war was fought. Types of maps featured: * Strategic maps showing theatres of war, frontiers and occupied territories * Maps covering key battles and offensives on major fronts * Planning and operations maps showing defences in detail * Propaganda and educational maps for the armed forces and general public * Maps showing dispositions of Allied and enemy forces * Bomber and V-weapon target maps Descriptions of key historical events accompany the maps, giving an illustrated history of the war from an expert historian. Key topics covered include * 1939: Invasion of Poland * 1940: German invasion of Low Countries & France * 1940: Battle of Britain & German invasion threat * Dec 1941: Pearl Harbor * 1942: Turning points: Midway, Alamein, Stalingrad * 1941-45: Barbarossa and the Eastern Front * The War at Sea * The advances to Jerusalem, Damascus and Baghdad * The War in the Air * 1944: Neptune & Overlord; D-Day & liberation of France
Forgotten is an extraordinary blend of military and social history - a story that pays tribute to the valour of an all-black battalion whose crucial contributions at D-Day have gone unrecognised to this day. In the early hours of June 6, 1944, the 320th Barrage Balloon Battalion, a unit of African-American soldiers, landed on the beaches of France. Their orders were to man a curtain of armed balloons meant to deter enemy aircraft. One member of the 320th would be nominated for the Medal of Honor, an award he would never receive. The nation's highest decoration was not given to black soldiers in the Second World War. Drawing on newly uncovered military records and dozens of original interviews with surviving members of the 320th and their families, Linda Hervieux tells the story of these heroic men. In England and Europe, they discovered freedom they had not known in a homeland that treated them as second-class citizens - experiences they carried back to America, fuelling the budding civil rights movement. In telling the story of the Battalion, Hervieux offers a vivid account of the tension between racial politics and national service in wartime America, and a moving narrative of human bravery and perseverance in the face of injustice.
This Pitkin Guide explores the reality, and unpacks the myths, of `Tommy', the British soldier on the Western Front in the First World War. It looks at every aspect of his personal experience - uniform, kit, trench cuisine, health and hygiene, pay, training and weaponry. It conveys the horrors of the early days of industrial warfare, from machine guns and artillery barrages to close-quarters combat within the enemy trenches and bunkers, and much much more. As well as the most visible aspects of the Tommy's experience, it also delves into more hidden worlds, and answers key questions. What did the Tommy do on his rest periods behind the frontlines? What caused him to suffer from shell shock, and how was he treated? How was he punished for disciplinary offences? These questions and many more are answered through a factual narrative.
Days after the assassination of his prime minister in the middle of Rome in November 1848, Pope Pius IX found himself a virtual prisoner in his own palace. The wave of revolution that had swept through Europe now seemed poised to put an end to the popes' thousand-year reign over the Papal States, if not indeed to the papacy itself. Disguising himself as a simple parish priest, Pius escaped through a back door. Climbing inside the Bavarian ambassador's carriage, he embarked on a journey into a fateful exile. Only two years earlier Pius's election had triggered a wave of optimism across Italy. After the repressive reign of the dour Pope Gregory XVI, Italians saw the youthful, benevolent new pope as the man who would at last bring the Papal States into modern times and help create a new, unified Italian nation. But Pius found himself caught between a desire to please his subjects and a fear-stoked by the cardinals-that heeding the people's pleas would destroy the church. The resulting drama-with a colorful cast of characters, from Louis Napoleon and his rabble-rousing cousin Charles Bonaparte to Garibaldi, Tocqueville, and Metternich-was rife with treachery, tragedy, and international power politics. David Kertzer is one of the world's foremost experts on the history of Italy and the Vatican, and has a rare ability to bring history vividly to life. With a combination of gripping, cinematic storytelling, and keen historical analysis rooted in an unprecedented richness of archival sources, The Pope Who Would Be King sheds fascinating new light on the end of rule by divine right in the west and the emergence of modern Europe.
The arrest of Mikhail Khodorkovsky, the head of the Yukos oil company, in October 2003, was a key turning point in modern Russian history. From being one of the world's richest and most powerful men, Khodorkovsky became Putin's prisoner. After two controversial trials, attracting widespread international condemnation (revealing accounts of which feature in the book) Khodorkovsky was sentenced to fourteen years in jail. In this book, Richard Sakwa examines the rise and fall of Yukos and considers the relationship between Putin's state and big business during Russia's traumatic shift from the Soviet planned economy to capitalism, as well as Russia's emergence as an energy superpower. The attack on Khodorkovsky had - and continues to have - far-reaching political and economic consequences but it also raises fundamental questions about the quality of freedom in Putin's Russia as well as in the world at large. In addition the author delves into the writings of Mr. Khodorkovsky in prison which show him to be a thoughtful critic of Russian reality.
Hailed as Newby's 'masterpiece', 'Love and War in the Apennines' is the gripping real-life story of Newby's imprisonment and escape from an Italian prison camp during World War II. After the Italian Armistice of 1943, Eric Newby escaped from the prison camp in which he'd been held for a year. He evaded the German army by hiding in the caves and forests of Fontanellato, in Italy's Po Valley. Against this picturesque backdrop, he was sheltered for three months by an informal network of Italian peasants, who fed, supported and nursed him, before his eventual recapture. 'Love and War in the Apennines' is Newby's tribute to the selfless and courageous people who were to be his saviours and companions during this troubled time and of their bleak and unchanging way of life. Of the cast of idiosyncratic characters, most notable was the beautiful local girl on a bike who would teach him the language, and eventually help him escape; two years later they were married and would spend the rest of their lives as co-adventurers. Part travelogue, part escape story and part romance, this is a mesmerising account of wisdom, courage, humour and adventure, and tells the story of the early life of a man who would become one of Britain's best-loved literary adventurers.
The Second World War almost destroyed Stalin's Soviet Union. But victory over Nazi Germany provided the dictator with his great opportunity: to expand Soviet power way beyond the borders of the Soviet state. Well before the shooting stopped in 1945, the Soviet leader methodically set about the unprecedented task of creating a Red Empire that would soon stretch into the heart of Europe and Asia, displaying a supreme realism and ruthlessness that Machiavelli would surely have envied. By the time of his death in 1953, his new imperium was firmly in place, defining the contours of a Cold War world that was seemingly permanent and indestructible - and would last until the collapse of the Berlin Wall in 1989. But what were Stalin's motives in this spectacular power grab? Was he no more than a latter-day Russian tsar, for whom Communist ideology was little more than a smoke-screen? Or was he simply a psychopathic killer? In Stalin's Curse, best-selling historian Robert Gellately firmly rejects both these simplifications of the man and his motives. Using a wealth of previously unavailable documentation, Gellately shows instead how Stalin's crimes are more accurately understood as the deeds of a ruthless and life-long Leninist revolutionary. Far from being a latter day 'Red Tsar' intent simply upon imperial expansion for its own sake, Stalin was in fact deeply inspired by the rhetoric of the Russian revolution and what Lenin had accomplished during the Great War. As Gellately convincingly shows, Stalin remained throughout these years steadfastly committed to a 'boundless faith' in Communism - and saw the Second World War as his chance to take up once again the old revolutionary mission to carry the Red Flag to the world.
"This is the book on porcelain we have been waiting for. . . . A remarkable achievement."-Edmund de Waal, author of The Hare with Amber Eyes A sweeping cultural and economic history of porcelain, from the eighteenth century to the present Porcelain was invented in medieval China-but its secret recipe was first reproduced in Europe by an alchemist in the employ of the Saxon king Augustus the Strong. Saxony's revered Meissen factory could not keep porcelain's ingredients secret for long, however, and scores of Holy Roman princes quickly founded their own mercantile manufactories, soon to be rivaled by private entrepreneurs, eager to make not art but profits. As porcelain's uses multiplied and its price plummeted, it lost much of its identity as aristocratic ornament, instead taking on a vast number of banal, yet even more culturally significant, roles. By the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, it became essential to bourgeois dining, and also acquired new functions in insulator tubes, shell casings, and teeth. Weaving together the experiences of entrepreneurs and artisans, state bureaucrats and female consumers, chemists and peddlers, Porcelain traces the remarkable story of "white gold" from its origins as a princely luxury item to its fate in Germany's cataclysmic twentieth century. For three hundred years, porcelain firms have come and gone, but the industry itself, at least until very recently, has endured. After Augustus, porcelain became a quintessentially German commodity, integral to provincial pride, artisanal industrial production, and a familial sense of home. Telling the story of porcelain's transformation from coveted luxury to household necessity and flea market staple, Porcelain offers a fascinating alternative history of art, business, taste, and consumption in Central Europe.
The legions of Rome were among the greatest fighting forces in history. For almost half a millennium they secured the known world under the power of the Caesars. This pioneering account gathers together the stories of each and every imperial legion, telling the tales of their triumphs and defeats as they policed the empire and enlarged its borders. Focusing on the legions as the core of the Roman army, and chronicling their individual histories in detail, this volume builds on the thematic account of the Roman military force given by its companion The Complete Roman Army , and is vital reading for anyone who has enjoyed that book.
From late antiquity through to the early middle ages, people across north-western Europe were inscribing runes on a range of different objects. Once identified and interpreted by experts, runes provide us with invaluable evidence for the early Germanic languages including English, Dutch, German and the Scandinavian languages and reveal a wealth of information about our early civilisations. Runes employ many techniques from informal scratchings to sophisticated inlaid designs on weapons, or the exquisite relief carvings of the Franks Casket. The task of reading and understanding them involves a good deal of detective-work, calling on expertise from a number of academic disciplines: archaeology, art history, linguistics, and even forensic science. This book tells the story of runes from their mysterious origins, their development as a script, to their use and meaning in the modern world. Illustrated with a range of beautiful objects from jewellery to tools and weapons, Runes will reveal memorials for the dead, business messages, charms and curses, insults and prayers, giving us a glimpse into the languages and cultures of Europeans over a thousand years ago.
The fifth instalment in this popular and highly successful series, Viking follows on from Legionary, Gladiator, Knight and Samurai, your guide to the Norse world of the tenth century ad. Discover everything you will need to become a successful Viking warrior: how to join a war band; what to look for in a good leader; how to behave at a feast; what weapons and armour to choose; how to fight in a shield wall; where to go raiding; how to plunder a monastery and ransom a monk; how to navigate at sea; and what to expect if you die gloriously in battle. Modern reconstructions and ancient artefacts, including 16 pages of brilliant colour images, will immerse the reader visually in the Viking world. The humorous text peppered with quotes from sagas and chronicles will take you on an engrossing journey from joining a raiding party to how to die gloriously.
A compelling history of the Black Death that scoured Europe in the mid 14th-century killing twenty-five million people. It was one of the worst human disasters in history. 'The bodies were sparsely covered that the dogs dragged them forth and devoured them...And believing it to be the end of the world, no one wept for the dead, for all expected to die.' Agnolo di Turo, Siena, 1348 In just over a thousand days from 1347 to 1351 the 'Black Death' travelled across medieval Europe killing thirty per cent of its population. It was a catastrophe that touched the lives of every individual on the continent. The deadly Y. Pestis virus entered Europe in October 1347 by Genoese galley at Messina, Sicily. In the spring of 1348 it was devastating the cities of central Italy, by June 1348 it had reached France and Spain, and by August England. At St Mary's, Ashwell, Hertfordshire, an anonymous hand carved the following inscription for 1349: 'Wretched, terrible, destructive year, the remnants of the people alone remain.' According to the Foster scale, a kind of Richter scale of human disaster, the plague of 1347-51 is the second worst catastrophe in recorded history. Only World War II produced more death, physical damage, and emotional suffering. Defence analysts use it as the measure of thermonuclear war - in geographical extent, abruptness and casualties. In 'The Great Mortality' John Kelly retraces the journey of the Black Death using original source material - diary fragments, letters and manuscripts. It is the devastating portrait of a continent gripped by an epidemic, but also a very personal story, narrated by the individuals whose lives were touched by it.
The authors discovered 150,000 pages of transcriptions of secretly recorded conversations among German prisoners of war, of which approximately one third were made in P.O.W. camps in Britain, another cache was made by bugging prisoners in the Mediterranean theatre of the war (North Africa, Malta, Italy) and the remainder comes from the bugging of prisoners of war in the USA. These transcriptions are thus unmediated, uncensored, and unselfconsciously candid and that is what gives this book its historical significance and extraordinary impact. What emerges from these transcriptions and within these pages is a shocking and profoundly illuminating portrait of the typical German soldier of the time: their thoughts, their feelings and their ideologies. SOLDATEN is a book that explodes many of the myths that we hold on to about Germany and its people during the War.
The history of a bewilderingly exotic city, rarely written about: five hundred years of clashing cultures and peoples, from the glories of Suleiman the Magnificent to its nadir under Nazi occupation. Salonica is the point where the wonders and horrors of the Orient and Europe have met over the centuries. Written with a Pepysian sense of the texture of daily life in the city through the ages, and with breathtakingly detailed historical research, Salonica evokes the sights, smells, habits, songs and responses of a unique city and its inhabitants. The history of Salonica is one of forgotten alternatives and wrong choices, of identities assumed and discarded. For centuries Jews, Christians and Muslims have succeeded each other in ascendancy, each people intent on erasing the presence of their predecessors, and the result is a city of extraordinarily rich cultural traditions and memories of extreme violence and genocide, one that sits on the overlapping hinterlands of both Europe and the East. Mark Mazower has written a work of astonishing depth and originality about this remarkable city. Magnificently researched and beautifully written, it is more than a book about a place; it studies in detail the way in which three great faiths and peoples have inhabited the same territory, and how smooth transitions and adaptations have been interwoven with violent endings and new beginnings.
One of the most dramatic chapters in the history of nineteenth-century Europe, the Commune of 1871 was an eclectic revolutionary government that held power in Paris across eight weeks between 18 March and 28 May. Its brief rule ended in 'Bloody Week' - the brutal massacre of as many as 15,000 Parisians, and perhaps even more, who perished at the hands of the provisional government's forces. By then, the city's boulevards had been torched and its monuments toppled. More than 40,000 Parisians were investigated, imprisoned or forced into exile - a purging of Parisian society by a conservative national government whose supporters were considerably more horrified by a pile of rubble than the many deaths of the resisters. In this gripping narrative, John Merriman explores the radical and revolutionary roots of the Commune, painting vivid portraits of the Communards - the ordinary workers, famous artists and extraordinary fire-starting women - and their daily lives behind the barricades, and examining the ramifications of the Commune on the role of the state and sovereignty in France and modern Europe. Enthralling, evocative and deeply moving, this narrative account offers a full picture of a defining moment in the evolution of state terror and popular resistance.
With Britain's empire collapsing and Stalin's ascendant, U.S. officials under new Secretary of State George C. Marshall set out to reconstruct western Europe as a bulwark against communist authoritarianism. Their massive, costly, and ambitious undertaking would confront Europeans and Americans alike with a vision at odds with their history and self-conceptions. In the process, they would drive the creation of NATO, the European Union, and a Western identity that continues to shape world events. This is the story behind the birth of the Cold War, and the U.S.-led liberal global order, told with verve, insight, and resonance for today. Bringing to bear fascinating new material from American, Russian, German, and other European archives, Benn Steil's book will forever change how we see the Marshall Plan. Focusing on the critical years 1947 to 1949, Steil's gripping narrative takes us through the seminal episodes marking the collapse of postwar U.S.-Soviet relations: the Prague coup, the Berlin blockade, and the division of Germany. In each case, Stalin's determination to crush the Marshall Plan and undermine American power in Europe is vividly portrayed. And in a riveting epilogue, Steil shows how the forces which clove Europe in two after the Second World War have reasserted themselves since the collapse of the Soviet Union. A polished and masterly work of historical narrative, The Marshall Plan is an instant classic of Cold War literature.
'Impossible to put down' Observer 'One of the great books of the century' Times Literary Supplement Rebecca West's epic masterpiece not only provides deep insight into the former country of Yugoslavia; it is a portrait of Europe on the brink of war. A heady cocktail of personal travelogue and historical insight, this product of an implacably inquisitive intelligence remains essential for anyone attempting to understand the history of the Balkan states, and the wider ongoing implications for a fractured Europe.
'A captivating biography ... This rollicking story is packed with anecdotes' The Times Francis I was inconstant, amorous, hot-headed and flawed. Yet he was also arguably the most significant king that France ever had. This is his story. A contemporary of Henry VIII of England, Francis saw himself as the first Renaissance king, a man who was the exemplar of courtly and civilised behaviour throughout Europe. A courageous and heroic warrior, he was also a keen aesthete, an accomplished diplomat and an energetic ruler who turned his country into a force to be reckoned with. Yet he was also capricious, vain and arrogant, taking hugely unnecessary risks, at least one of which nearly resulted in the end of his kingdom. His great feud with his nemesis Charles V, the Holy Roman Emperor, defined European diplomacy and sovereignty, but his notorious alliance with the great Ottoman ruler Suleiman the Magnificent threatened to destroy everything. With access to never-before-seen private archives, Leonie Frieda's comprehensive and sympathetic account explores the life of the most human of all Renaissance monarchs - and the most enigmatic.
In a museum in the small town of Bayeux in Normandy, specially devised to hold this single object, is a strip of linen nearly one thousand years old. It is 230 feet long and about 20 inches high. On it, embroidered in brightly colored wool, are figures of men, animals, buildings, and ships. In a series of vivid scenes, with a running explanatory text in Latin, it relates the invasion of England by William of Normandy and his victory at the Battle of Hastings in 1066. Nothing remotely like the Bayeux Tapestry exists anywhere in the world, yet comparatively few people have been to Bayeux to see it and appreciate how totally absorbing it is. This book, first published in 1985, reproduces the Tapestry in full color and makes it accessible as never before. The story told in the Tapestry has all the ingredients of an epic poem, and a cast of characters that includes King Edward the Confessor; his liegeman, Duke Harold; and William, Duke of Normandy. When Edward dies, Harold succeeds him as king. William, who has a better dynastic claim, invades England, and at the Battle of Hastings Harold is defeated and killed. Here the Tapestry breaks off, but it probably originally concluded with William's coronation--the beginning of a sequence of monarchs that has continued virtually unbroken until today, and of the English nation as we know it. The Tapestry is reproduced in full color over 146 pages, with captions on a fold-out page for easy reference. A second reproduction of the Tapestry in black and white has a detailed accompanying commentary. Sir David Wilson, former Director of the British Museum, provides an up-to-date summary of the historical evidence, explaining each episode and coveringrelated topics such as the costumes, armor, ships, buildings, and customs. One of the primary sources for the history of the period, the Tapestry is a social document of incalculable value. It is the sole survivor of an art form that may once have been widespread, the wall-hanging commemorating the deeds of a great man.
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