Martin Gilbert's histories of the world wars

Reviews, recommendations, books to avoid. What have you been reading?
Forum rules
Reviews, recommendations, books to avoid. What have you been reading?

Re: Martin Gilbert's histories of the world wars

Postby GregB » January 11th, 2012, 8:28 am

I don't know if you've reached July, 1944 and the plot against Hitler but its failure was one of the greatest tragedies of the war. Had it succeeded (ie. had Hitler been killed by von Stauffenberg's bomb) the war would almost certainly have ended soon after - at least in the West - with the conspirators, having assumed power, suing for peace with the Allies. Of course, the Russians may not have agreed to that and continued with their drive into Germany, which would have changed the panorama considerably.

The survival of Hitler convinced him, of course, that Providence had taken a hand and protected him to enable him to continue his mission with Germany and so his delusions grew and the war dragged on for almost another year. He was still planning fantasy campaigns in the bunker when Russian forces were only a few blocks away.
"The wiles of dissembling fate afford us the illusion of freedom, yet in the end always lead us into the same trap."
- Jean Cocteau
User avatar
GregB
 
Posts: 15808
Joined: October 25th, 2007, 11:23 am
Location: Barcelona, Spain

Re: Martin Gilbert's histories of the world wars

Postby Sprocket » January 11th, 2012, 11:07 am

Yes, I read about the bomb plot recently, and am now up to late summer '44, with the Western allies advancing from the Normandy beachhead. Paris has just been liberated, we've established a second beachhead on France's Med. coast, we're advancing into German-occupied Italy, and the Soviets are into Eastern Poland. In Warsaw, a group loyal to the pre-war Polish government, and not fancying becoming a Soviet satellite, rose up before the Soviets reached them, in order to try to pre-empt matters. Britain tried to help by dropping them arms, but they had to fly from Italy, and it was very risky. Stalin's troops were much nearer, but he refused to help, ostensibly because it was a waste of resources, since the rebellion was doomed anyway, but really because he wanted all of Poland to be 'liberated' by the USSR. He also refused to allow Britain to use a Soviet-controlled airstrip in Eastern Poland. The Americans also refused to help Britain help the rebels, because they didn't want to upset Stalin, since they were likely to need his co-operation to use airfields in Siberia in the war against Japan. In the end, Britain found itself alone against the Nazis again.
Treason doth never prosper: what's the reason?
Why, if it prosper, none dare call it treason.
Sir John Harington (1561-1620)
User avatar
Sprocket
 
Posts: 16051
Joined: October 25th, 2007, 11:21 am
Location: Hemel Hempstead, Herts.

Re: Martin Gilbert's histories of the world wars

Postby Sprocket » January 23rd, 2012, 9:41 am

I finally finished it yesterday. Well worth reading, although a single-volume history of the war, even one over 700 pages long, is inevitably a bit sketchy, with only a page or two devoted to major battles which have had whole books devoted to them.
Towards the end of the war, the Western allies were much concerned in private with the inevitable tension between them and the U.S.S.R. which would follow the war. Churchill said to either Eisenhower or Truman, I forget which, "I think it would be desirable to shake hands with the Russians as far East as possible", and our and the Americans' war policy in the last year or so of the war was partly, on the quiet, determined by that aim.
There are a final two chapters on the aftermath of the war, right up to 1989, when the book was first published, and it is perhaps a pity that it wasn't written and published a year or two later, so that it could have mentioned the reunification of Germany and the collapse of Soviet communism, events which could be considered the final, absolute end of World War 2.
Treason doth never prosper: what's the reason?
Why, if it prosper, none dare call it treason.
Sir John Harington (1561-1620)
User avatar
Sprocket
 
Posts: 16051
Joined: October 25th, 2007, 11:21 am
Location: Hemel Hempstead, Herts.

Re: Martin Gilbert's histories of the world wars

Postby maz » April 21st, 2015, 5:28 pm

not sure if I have already posted this (sorry if I have, but I see there are 72 posts so haven't got time to check), but I met and spoke to Martin Gilbert (in the 80's), when he came to do a talk at the local synagogue (which I used to live near), on The Holocaust (think he must have written a book on it).
I am not usually so bold, but I went to the front and chatted with him afterwards.
I don’t want to be known for the things I’m against, but for the things I am for... but....A person who loves flowers will hate weeds
http://gracewalkministries.blogspot.com ... trong.html
User avatar
maz
 
Posts: 1818
Joined: December 19th, 2007, 6:51 pm

Re: Martin Gilbert's histories of the world wars

Postby Sprocket » April 21st, 2015, 9:30 pm

Gosh! He is of course Jewish, though it's not obvious from his name.
Treason doth never prosper: what's the reason?
Why, if it prosper, none dare call it treason.
Sir John Harington (1561-1620)
User avatar
Sprocket
 
Posts: 16051
Joined: October 25th, 2007, 11:21 am
Location: Hemel Hempstead, Herts.

Previous

Return to Book club

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest