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World in the Balance: The Perilous Months of June?October 1940

Overview

In mid-1940, the British Expeditionary Force desperately attempted to flee the small French port of Dunkirk and reach British shores. France was falling, and the men were well aware that the German army had already conquered Poland, Denmark, Norway, Holland, and Belgium. Only Britain remained. Churchill then proclaimed to the House of Commons, “Hitler will have to break us in this island or lose the war.” There were, perhaps, no more telling words spoken in World War II. For the following five months, Great ...
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World in the Balance: The Perilous Months of June-October 1940

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Overview

In mid-1940, the British Expeditionary Force desperately attempted to flee the small French port of Dunkirk and reach British shores. France was falling, and the men were well aware that the German army had already conquered Poland, Denmark, Norway, Holland, and Belgium. Only Britain remained. Churchill then proclaimed to the House of Commons, “Hitler will have to break us in this island or lose the war.” There were, perhaps, no more telling words spoken in World War II. For the following five months, Great Britain waged a heroic, and clandestine, struggle with Nazi Germany—one both psychological and diplomatic—over the fate of the world.

World in the Balance recounts these pivotal months. Rallying after Churchill’s speeches, destroying the French fleet so it would not fall to the Germans, fending off Nazi agents from former King Edward VIII, weakening England’s defenses to build up those of Egypt, establishing a dedication to secret radar, and engaging in deft diplomacy—notably saving Gibraltar by keeping Spain neutral and successfully courting favor in the United States—set all the pieces in place for eventual victory over Axis fascism.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Brooke C. Stoddard’s well-judged and clear narrative of five crucial months in 1940 that shaped the course of world history sets a cracking pace as world events conspire to unbalance a flawed and fragile peace and escalate Europe into full-scale war. He successfully weaves together strategy, politics, high-level diplomacy, and important technological developments—demonstrating the timeless nature and close interaction of these factors in any conflict—with compelling frontline accounts that effectively illustrate the human consequences of political-strategic decision making. Stoddard’s timely analysis of a frequently overlooked period of World War II combines a fascinating factual account of actual events with an authoritative consideration of why they took place and their wider consequences."

"For five months in 1940, the world seemed to be coming to an end. Brooke Stoddard vividly describes how British courage and American support pulled democracy back from the abyss, and he reminds us that the momentum of conflict must be brought firmly to a halt."

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781597975162
  • Publisher: Potomac Books Inc.
  • Publication date: 1/31/2011
  • Pages: 278
  • Sales rank: 1,291,947
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.10 (h) x 1.20 (d)

Meet the Author

Brooke C. Stoddard is the former editor of Military Heritage magazine and the author of several articles on the summer and autumn of 1940. He is also a former editor at Time-Life Books. He lives in Alexandria, Virginia.
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Table of Contents

Introduction xi

1 Prelude 1

2 June: Collapse 27

3 The Race to Read the Codes 51

4 July: Fire and Wait 67

5 Radar, Radio Waves, and the Race for Air Superiority 93

6 August: The Mailed Fist 109

7 Cracking a People's Will to Fight 141

8 September: From under the Rubble 155

9 Diplomacy: The Craft of Binding Friends and Stabbing Enemies 183

10 October: How the Pieces Fell 197

11 Postlude 219

Notes 229

Bibliography 245

Index 249

About the Author 255

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 20, 2011

    New Insights into World War II

    Americans too often forget that World War II didn't begin with D-Day. Brooke Stoddard's engrossing treatment of the war's early years illuminates the choices and decisions that took the Western world to the brink and conveys how near we came to the end of democracy. In addition to giving a month-by-month account of the conflict on land and sea and in the air, he fills in background details about the technological advances that shaped it. I particularly appreciated his clear explanation of many details that broader histories take for granted: military organization, weapons design, code-breaking technology. I've read many histories of World War II, but still found new insights here.

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