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Second World War

Road to Surrender
In school and college, many had been exposed to books and scholarship that argued that, by August 1945, Japan was ready to surrender, and that America’s real motivation in dropping the A-bomb was to intimidate Russia in the earliest days of the Cold…
Arctic Convoy JW-53
Contrary to the prevailing mythology, not only did the Allies and the Royal Navy win the campaign in the Arctic, but they did so with the help of a huge and previously largely unacknowledged signals intelligence effort, at the heart of which lay the…
Polish II Corps
It has taken a long time for the endeavours of forces like the Polish II Corps to make their way back into the global consciousness. There is still a long way to go until both the heroism and betrayal are fully appreciated.
Arbeit Macht Frei, Auschwitz
The Wannsee Conference of 20 January 1942, was a cross-departmental meeting of the Nazi government. Its goal was brutally and clinically simple: to organise the final solution to the Jewish question.
Operation Barbarossa
On 22 June 1941 the Nazis launched Operation Barbarossa, the biggest invasion force in the history of warfare against their ally, the Soviet Union. The invasion date was planned for 15 May 1941, which would have given Hitler much more of the summer…
David Low cartoon, 1934
Starting on the night of the 30 June 1934, the Nazis removed their political opponents and paramilitary supporters in a single purge in what became known as the Night of the Long Knives. Having gained political power in the 1933 election, Hitler…
Adolf Hitler surveying damage at the Wolf's Lair after the Bomb Plot
On 20 July 1944, Claus von Stauffenberg entered the conference room at the Wolf’s Lair in Rastenburg, East Prussia, carrying a briefcase with a primed bomb. Shortly after the start of the meeting, he received an urgent telephone call and excused…
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