The Most Devastating Battle of the Great War in the Words of Those Who Survived
Author: Joshua Levine
Pubpsher: Random House
1916. The Somme. With over a million casualties, it was the most brutal battle of World War I. It is a clash that even now, over 90 years later, remains seared into the national consciousness, conjuring up images of muddy trenches and young lives tragically wasted. Its first day, July 1st 1916 - on which the British suffered 57,470 casualties, including 19,240 dead - is the bloodiest day in the history of the British armed forces to date. On the German side, an officer famously described it as 'the muddy grave of the German field army'. By the end of the battle, the British had learned many lessons in modern warfare while the Germans had suffered irreplaceable losses, ultimately laying the foundations for the Allies' final victory on the Western Front. Drawing on a wealth of material from the vast Imperial War Museum Sound Archive, Forgotten Voices of the Somme presents an intimate, poignant, sometimes even bleakly funny insight into life on the front line: from the day-to-day struggle of extraordinary circumstances to the white heat of battle and the constant threat of injury or death. Featuring contributions from soldiers of both sides and of differing backgrounds, ranks and roles, many of them previously unpublished, this is the definitive oral history of this unique and terrible conflict.
In 1960, the Imperial War Museum began a momentous and important task. A team of academics, archivists and volunteers set about tracing WWI veterans and interviewing them at length in order to record the experiences of ordinary individuals in war. The IWM aural archive has become the most important archive of its kind in the world. Authors have occasionally been granted access to the vaults, but digesting the thousands of hours of footage is a monumental task. Now, forty years on, the Imperial War Museum has at last given author Max Arthur and his team of researchers unlimited access to the complete WWI tapes. These are the forgotten voices of an entire generation of survivors of the Great War. The resulting book is an important and compelling history of WWI in the words of those who experienced it.
An Inside History of Special Operations in the Second World War
Author: Roderick Bailey
Pubpsher: Random House
'The Gestapo kept me three days in this interrogation house. They especially wanted to know what I did after my escape, and precise things on the organisation of the SOE. And just for fun I suspect, because I had really not much to tell them, they pulled one of my toenails out...' - Robert Sheppard, SOE agent The Special Operations Executive (SOE) was a secret British organisation created early in World War 2 to encourage resistance and carry out sabotage behind enemy lines: in Winston Churchill's famous phrase, to 'set Europe ablaze'. Drawing on the vast resources of the Imperial War Museum Sound Archive and featuring a mass of previously unpublished personal testimonies, Forgotten Voices of the Secret War tells the stories of SOE agents, HQ staff, diplomats, aircrew and naval personnel in their own words. As the war unfolds, we learn of parachute drops into enemy territory, torture by the Gestapo and nerve-wracking sabotage missions in far-flung climes. Forgotten Voices of the Secret War is both an incredible account of espionage during World War 2 and a fitting testament to the efforts and sacrifices of a dedicated group of courageous men and women.
Often referred to as a forgotten war, the Falklands conflict was the first war of the modern age, using satellite surveillance, night observation devices, and all the very latest weaponry military technology had to offer. It was also the first real media war--the public's perception of this far-off conflict mediated by what they saw on their television screens and read in their newspapers. Drawing upon the vast resources of the Imperial War Museum's Sound Archive, and containing previously unpublished material, this work presents the first complete oral history of the Falklands War. From the initial invasion of the islands to the British landings to the Argentinean surrender and its aftermath, the book is a unique and essential chronicle of the conflict from all sides and perspectives, told in the participants' own voices.
A New History of the Second World War in the Words of the Men and Women Who Were There
Author: Max Arthur
Pubpsher: Random House
The Imperial War Museum holds a vast archive of interviews with soldiers, sailors, airmen and civilians of most nationalities who saw action during WW2. As in the highly-acclaimed Forgotten Voices of the Great War, Max Arthur and his team of researchers spent hundreds of hours digging deep into this unique archive, uncovering tapes, many of which have not been listened to since they were created in the early 1970s. The result will be the first complete oral history of World War 2. We hear at first from British, German and Commonwealth soldiers and civilians. Accounts of the impact of U.S. involvement after Pearl Harbour and the major effects it had on the war in Europe and the Far East is chronicled in startling detail, including compelling interviews from U.S. and British troops who fought against the Japanese. Continuing through from D-Day, to the Rhine Crossing and the dropping of the Atom Bomb in August 1945, this book is a unique testimony to one of the world's most dreadful conflicts. One of the hallmarks of Max Arthur's work is the way he involves those left behind on the home front as well as those working in factories or essential services. Their voices will not be neglected.
Indian soldiers served in France from 1914 to 1918. This book is a selection of their letters. By turns poignant, funny, and almost unbearably moving, these documents vividly evoke the world of the Western Front - as seen through 'subaltern' Indian eyes. The letters also bear eloquent witness to the sepoys' often unsettling encounter with Europe, and with European culture. This book helps to map the imaginative landscape of South Asia's warrior-peasant communities.
Although the Second World War ended sixty years ago, there are still untold stories waiting to be heard: stories not only of diplomats and soldiers but also of refugees, camp inmates and ordinary people living in occupied territories, stories of women's and children's lives as well as those of men. In Hard Labour the forgotten voices of a group of young women who left Latvia in 1944 are captured, telling the story of their flight from the advancing Soviet Army, their difficult journeys across central Europe, their lives as displaced people in Allied camps in Germany and finally their refuge in Britain. Hard work is at the centre of these stories, as the women became 'volunteer' workers, first for the Nazi war effort and then as labourers in the British post-war reconstruction plan. In what has been described as a 'venemous postscript' to the War, the fit and able amongst the vast homeless and often stateless population that fetched up in camps run by the Allies in war-devastated Germany were recruited by western states as labourers. Great Britain was the first nation to recruit displaced persons, offering jobs in hospitals and private homes as domestic workers and in the textile industry to young single women (and later men) from Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia, and other once independent states. Many of these women spent the rest of their lives in Britain, longing to return to their homelands but independence came too late for many of them. At the centre of Hard Labour are the lives of twenty-five now elderly Latvia women who came to Britain between 1946 and 1949. Their memories are placed in the context of recent work in feminist history, illuminating debates about displacement and loss as well as the transformation of women's lives in post-war Britain.
The subject of the new major film by Christopher Nolan It could have been the biggest military disaster suffered by the British in the Second World War, but against all odds the British Army was successfully evacuated, and 'Dunkirk spirit' became synonymous with the strength of the British people in adversity. On the same day that Winston Churchill became Prime Minister, Nazi troops invaded Holland, Luxembourg and Belgium. The eight-month period of calm that had existed since the declaration of war was over. But the defences constructed by the Allies in preparation failed to repel a German army with superior tactics.The British Expeditionary Force soon found themselves in an increasingly chaotic retreat. By the end of May 1940, over 400,000 Allied troops were trapped in and around the port of Dunkirk without shelter or supplies. Hitler's army was just ten miles away. On 26 May, the British Admiralty launched Operation Dynamo. This famous rescue mission sent every available vessel - from navy destroyers and troopships to pleasure cruisers and fishing boats - over the Channel to Dunkirk. Of the 850 'Little Ships' that sailed to Dunkirk, 235 were sunk by German aircraft or mines, but over this nine day period 338,000 British and French troops were safely evacuated. Drawing on the wealth of material from the Imperial War Museum Sound Archive, Forgotten Voices of Dunkirk presents in the words of both rescued and rescuers in an intimate and dramatic account of what Winston Churchill described as a 'miracle of deliverance'.
A New History in the Words of the Men and Women on Both Sides
Author: Joshua Levine
Pubpsher: Random House
Drawing material from the Imperial War Museum's extensive aural archive, Joshua Levine brings together voices from both sides of the Blitz and the Battle of Britain to give us a unique, complete and compelling picture of this turbulent time. In June 1940, British citizens prepared for an imminent German onslaught. Hitler's troops had overrun Holland, Belgium and France in quick succession, and the British people anticipated an invasion would soon be upon them. From July to October, they watched the Battle of Britain play out in the skies above them, aware that the result would decide their fate. Over the next nine months, the Blitz killed more than 43,000 civilians. For a year, the citizens of Britain were effectively front-line soldiers in a battle which united the country against a hated enemy. We hear from the soldiers, airmen, fire-fighters, air-raid wardens and civilians, people in the air and on the ground, on both sides of the battle, giving us a thrilling account of Britain under siege. With first-hand testimonies from those involved in Dunkirk and the Battle of Britain, Black Saturday on 7th September 1940 when the Luftwaffe began the Blitz, to its climax on the 10th May 1941, this is the definitive oral history of a period when Britain came closer to being overwhelmed by the enemy than at any other time in modern history.