World War II in 1941: The History of the War's Most Pivotal Year

World War II in 1941: The History of the War's Most Pivotal Year

by Charles River Editors


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*Includes pictures

*Includes accounts of fighting

*Includes online resources and a bibliography for further reading

At the beginning of 1941, it was unclear whether the Allies would be able to remain in the war for much longer. British Prime Minister Winston Churchill had already immortalized the men of the Royal Air Force with one of the West's most famous war-time quotes, but the potential of a German invasion of Britain still loomed. With the comfort of hindsight, historians now suggest that the picture was actually more complex than that, but the Battle of Britain, fought throughout the summer and early autumn of 1940, was unquestionably epic in scope. The largest air campaign in history at the time, the vaunted Nazi Luftwaffe sought to smash the Royal Air Force, but thankfully, the RAF stood toe to toe with the Luftwaffe and ensured Hitler's planned invasion was permanently put on hold. The Allied victory in the Battle of Britain inflicted a psychological and physical defeat on the Luftwaffe and Nazi regime at large, and as the last standing bastion of democracy in Europe, Britain would provide the toehold for the June 1944 invasion of Europe that liberated the continent. For those reasons alone, the Battle of Britain was one of the decisive turning points of history's deadliest conflict.

In the warm predawn darkness of June 22, 1941, 3 million men waited along a front hundreds of miles long, stretching from the Baltic coast of Poland to the Balkans. Ahead of them in the darkness lay the Soviet Union, its border guarded by millions of Red Army troops echeloned deep throughout the huge spaces of Russia. This massive gathering of Wehrmacht soldiers from Adolf Hitler's Third Reich and his allied states - notably Hungary and Romania - stood poised to carry out Operation Barbarossa, Hitler's surprise attack against the country of his putative ally, Soviet dictator Joseph Stalin.

Stalin knew that if he could delay an invasion through the summer of 1941, he would be safe for another year, but Hitler began to plan to invade Russia by May of 1941. Since military secrets are typically the hardest to keep, Stalin soon began to hear rumors of the invasion, but even when Winston Churchill contacted him in April of 1941 warning him that German troops seemed to be massing on Russia's border, Stalin remained dubious. Stalin felt even more secure in his position when the Germans failed to invade the following May.

What Stalin did not realize was that Hitler had simply overstretched himself in Yugoslavia and only planned to delay the invasion by a few weeks. As the beginning the start of the fighting on the Eastern Front, the deadliest part of history's deadliest war, Operation Barbarossa would turn out to be arguably the most fateful choice of World War II., but if it wasn't, that distinction may very well go to another decision made in the second half of 1941.

All Americans are familiar with the "day that will live in infamy." At 9:30 a.m. on Sunday, December 7, 1941, Pearl Harbor, the advanced base of the United States Navy's Pacific Fleet, was ablaze. It had been smashed by aircraft launched by the carriers of the Imperial Japanese Navy. All eight battleships had been sunk or badly damaged, 350 aircraft had been knocked out, and over 2,000 Americans lay dead. Indelible images of the USS Arizona exploding and the USS Oklahoma capsizing and floating upside down have been ingrained in the American conscience ever since. In less than an hour and a half the Japanese had almost wiped out America's entire naval presence in the Pacific.

World War II in 1941: The History of the War's Most Pivotal Year chronicles the year that the fate of the free world hung in the balance. Along with pictures of important people, places, and events, you will learn about World War II in 1941 like never before.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781984226976
Publisher: CreateSpace Publishing
Publication date: 01/26/2018
Pages: 374
Product dimensions: 8.50(w) x 11.00(h) x 0.77(d)

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