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In his six-volume history of World War II, Winston Churchill deemed the year 1942 as "the hinge of fate," the year in which the German and Japanese armies began to be turned back. John Lukacs suggests that the last days of May 1940 were more important still in turning the tide of war in democracy's favor, for it was in those few days that Churchill convinced his cabinet that Britain should fight on, alone, if need be, against Adolf Hitler's regime. Even as a quarter of a million British troops were being evacuated from Dunkirk, Churchill struggled to reverse the British government's policy of appeasement. In this, he faced opposition from several quarters, including prominent figures within his own Conservative Party. Writing with evident admiration for Churchill--who, he points out, was not well liked, and who had been prime minister for only two weeks when war broke out--Lukacs gives his readers a fly-on-the-wall view of the heated conferences between such well-known participants as Harold Nicholson, Lord Halifax, Neville Chamberlain, and Alexander Cadogan.
"Churchill understood something that not many people understand even now," Lukacs writes in the closing pages of his book. "The greatest threat to Western civilization was not Communism. It was National Socialism. The greatest and most dynamic power in the world was not Soviet Russia. It was the Third Reich of Germany. The greatest revolutionary of the twentieth century was not Lenin or Stalin. It was Hitler." By convincing his government that his view was correct, Churchill afforded Western civilization a slim chance at survival--no small achievement, and one well worth honoring with this fine study. --Gregory McNamee --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Eminent historian Lukacs (Thread of Years, etc.) delivers the crown jewel to his long and distinguished career with this account of five daysAMay 24-28, 1940A"that could have changed the world." Lukacs posits that it was during those five days in London "that Western civilization, not to mention the Allied cause in WWII, was saved from Hitler's tyranny." A grand view, to be sure, but the consequences are not in dispute: "Had Britain stopped fighting in May 1940, Hitler would have won his war," writes Lukacs. "Thus he was never closer to victory than during those five days in May 1940." A quarter-million British troops were trapped by the Germans at Dunkirk. The British public, ill-informed about this reality, remained apathetic, and the War Cabinet was divided over what action to take. Neither the United States nor the Soviet Union had yet entered the war, but Churchill resolved to fight "till Hitler is beat or we cease to be a state." Lukacs draws heavily on newspapers and public opinion research of the time to re-create the rapid series of events that turned the tide, swaying both the citizenry and the War Cabinet to rally behind Churchill. Though Churchill did not win the war in May 1940, as Lukacs puts it, he "did not lose it" then. Lukacs covered some of the same turf in The Duel, yet this new work focuses on these five days with a microscopic view. It is the work of a man who lives and breathes history, whose knowledge is limitless and tuned to a pitch that rings true. (Oct.)
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
John Lukacs is an extremely skilled historian and writer, who takes a laser-like focus at the five critical days in May 1940, when Hitler may have had his bets chance to win World... Read morePublished 1 day ago by Kiwiwriter
What a grand idea to focus on just five days in history that meant so much to Churchill and the world. Read morePublished 3 months ago by John C. Kolojeski
The inside store of what was going on in the gov't during this short but critical period... Fascinating!Published 4 months ago by JazzerIvan
Writing about a short period of time is always difficult; however, Lukacs' book does more than accomplish this difficult task. Read morePublished 5 months ago by Student Reviewer
The best, most thorough researched book on the moment when the world as we know it could have changed forever. Read morePublished 5 months ago by William M. Hodgman
Great book to read. I hope this never happens again, and if it does, the British handle it with the same bulldog determination and guts. A must read book.Published 6 months ago by princeazariah
This is critical for anyone wanting to understand the second world war and the incredible brave stand taken by Britain when greatly outnumbered she could have faced annihilation.Published 8 months ago by Jim Mountford