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Showing posts from September, 2019

Printed copies of the new book have arrived!

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Just had my first sight of Fighting Churchill, Appeasing Hitler in its final state. Makes all the effort feel worthwhile and thanks to everyone who helped along the way. It's on sale on Tuesday 8th October.

Eighty years ago, Warsaw follows Guernica into the list of cities martyred by bombing

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The Luftwaffe introduced Warsaw and the world to the full horrors of modern warfare. Under the command of Major Freiherr Wolfram von Richthofen it mounted the largest air raid yet on the Polish capital. 1,150 sorties dropped over 600 tonnes of bombs; tiny in comparison to the raids seen later in the war but terrifying nonetheless. The attackers – even including obsolete Ju52s – suffered negligible losses as the city was practically undefended. Von Richthofen was a cousin to the Great War flying aces of the same name; a telling register of how far air warfare had moved on from even the threadbare chivalry of its origins. The attack was intended to force the surrender of Warsaw but the city held out. Only intense direct shelling by the artillery of the Wehrmacht brought the siege to an end. Perhaps 20,000 civilians were killed. This was the end of the Polish campaign. The expansion of the war into the Balkans cam a step closer when the Rumanian premier, Armand C─âlinescu, wa

Eighty years ago, German propaganda creates a legend whilst Stalin reaps the rewards of utmost cynicism

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The Polish army launched a major counter-attack against the German invasion, which led to the largest and most bloody single battle of the Polish campaign, the Battle of Bzura. It saw the last full-scale use of cavalry as a battlefield arm, but, contrary to legend, the Polish cavalry performed effectively on the German flanks. The spurious image of horsemen charging tanks was an appealing one for German propagandists, keen to trumpet German superiority in all things. The thrust to the west of Warsaw did achieve some initial success but was quickly pushed back. The Poles lost some 20,000 men and the Germans 8,000. The Polish army fell back towards Warsaw, but the city was already practically surrounded. The undeclared war between Japan and the Soviet Union in the east, which had reached its most intense in the full-scale battle of Nomonhan on the Khalkin Gol came to an end with s signed cease-fire. The Soviet victory at Nomonhan had played some part in persuading Stalin to

Eighty years ago, Britain and France fight an imaginary war whilst the U-Boats fight a real one

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The first elements of Britain’s small expeditionary force landed in France, giving essentially symbolic support to France which would otherwise have to bear the burden of the war against Germany. The operation was widely mentioned on the French radio but the British had not quite decided whether it should be treated as a secret. In the event it was extensively reported in British newspapers, but the military authorities for some mysterious reason took fright and draconian censorship was applied retrospectively. The police visited newspaper offices and supervised a change in headlines; copies of uncensored newspapers were confiscated from startled commuters. This was one symptom of Britain’s intentional failure to prepare for war. The Ministry of Information, which was responsible for censorship and had an ambiguous responsibility for news management, had existed as little more than a paper planning exercise before the war. Downing Street’s key motivation had been to avoid doing