Sir Martin Gilbert (1936-2015) was a leading British historian and the author of more than eighty books. Specializing in 20th century history, he was the official biographer of Winston Churchill and wrote a best-selling eight-volume biography of the war leader’s life.
Born in London in 1936, Martin Gilbert was evacuated to Canada with his family at the beginning of World War II as part of the British government’s efforts to protect children from the brutal bombings of the Luftwaffe. He was made a Fellow of Merton College, Oxford, in 1962. He is the author of several definitive historical works examining the Holocaust, the First and Second World Wars, and the history of the 20th century.
In 1990, Gilbert was designated a Commander of the Order of the British Empire, and was awarded a Knighthood in 1995. Oxford University awarded him a Doctorate in 1999. Gilbert was a sought-after speaker on Churchill, Jewish history, and the history of the 20th century, and traveled frequently to lecture at colleges, universities, and organizations around the world.
This volume starts with the outbreak of war in September 1939 and ends with the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor in December 1941. In it, Martin Gilbert reveals not only how each decision was reached, but what influences lay behind it, whether of individuals or of information reaching Churchill from the most secret source of British Intelligence.Drawing on a remarkable diversity of material, including the War Cabinet and other Government records, as well as Churchill’s own archive, the diaries and letters of his private secretariat, and the recollections of those who worked most closely with him, Martin Gilbert reveals the full extent of Churchill’s personal contribution to every aspect of the struggle.On the day Hitler invaded Poland, Churchill, aged sixty-four, had been out of office for ten years. Two days later, on 3 September 1939, he became First Lord of the Admiralty, in charge of British naval policy and at the center of war direction. On 10 May 1940 he became Prime Minister, leading his nation during a time of grave danger and setbacks. His first year and a half as Prime Minister included the Dunkirk evacuation, the fall of France, the Battle of Britain, the Blitz, the Battle of the Atlantic, the struggle in the Western Desert, and Hitler’s invasion of Russia.By the end of 1940, Britain under Churchill’s leadership had survived the onslaught and was making plans to continue the war against an enemy of unlimited ambition and ferocious will.One of Churchill’s inner circle said: "We who worked with Churchill every day of the war still saw at most a quarter of his daily tasks and worries." Martin Gilbert has pieced together the whole, setting in context much hitherto scattered and secret evidence, in order to give an intimate and fascinating account of the architect of Britain’s "finest hour."
This volume takes up the story of "Churchill’s War" with the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941, and carries it on to the triumph of V–E Day, May 8, 1945, the end of the war in Europe.Within a week of Pearl Harbor, Hitler and Mussolini had declared war on the United States. Thus Churchill, Roosevelt, and Stalin were now leaders of the great alliance that held the assurance of ultimate victory. But in 1942, the first year of the new alliance, the war went badly on every front, and Churchill faced serious criticism at home.In this volume, Martin Gilbert charts Churchill’s tortuous course through the storms of Anglo-American and Anglo-Soviet suspicion and rivalry and between the clashing priorities and ambitions of other forces embattled against the common enemy: between General de Gaulle and his compatriots in France and the French Empire; between Tito and other Yugoslav leaders; between the Greek Communists and monarchists; between the Polish government exiled in London and the Soviet-controlled "Lublin" Poles.Amid all these cares and dangers Churchill had to find the course of prudence, of British national interest, and, above all, of the earliest possible victory over Nazism. In doing so he was guided by the most secret sources of British Intelligence: the daily interception of the messages of the German High Command. These pages reveal, as never before, the links between this secret information and the resulting moves and successes achieved by the Allies.
In 1996, prominent Holocaust historian Sir Martin Gilbert embarked on a fourteen-day journey into the past with a group of his MA students from University College, London. Their destination? Places where the terrible events of the Holocaust had left their mark in Europe.From the railway lines near Auschwitz to the site of Oskar Schindler's heroic efforts in Krakow, Poland, Holocaust Journey features intimate personal meditations from one of our greatest modern historians, and is supported by wartime documents, letters, and diaries as well as over 50 photographs and maps by the author, all of which help interweave Gilbert’s trip with his students with the surrounding history of the towns, camps, and other locations visited. The result is a narrative of the Holocaust that ties the past to the present with poignancy and power.
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