A War To Be Won: fighting the Second World War

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Harvard University Press, Jun 30, 2009 - History - 736 pages

In the course of the twentieth century, no war looms as profoundly transformative or as destructive as World War II. Its global scope and human toll reveal the true face of modern, industrialized warfare. Now, for the first time, we have a comprehensive, single-volume account of how and why this global conflict evolved as it did. "A War To Be Won" is a unique and powerful operational history of the Second World War that tells the full story of battle on land, on sea, and in the air.

Williamson Murray and Allan R. Millett analyze the operations and tactics that defined the conduct of the war in both the European and Pacific Theaters. Moving between the war room and the battlefield, we see how strategies were crafted and revised, and how the multitudes of combat troops struggled to discharge their orders. The authors present incisive portraits of the military leaders, on both sides of the struggle, demonstrating the ambiguities they faced, the opportunities they took, and those they missed. Throughout, we see the relationship between the actual operations of the war and their political and moral implications.

"A War To Be Won" is the culmination of decades of research by two of America's premier military historians. It avoids a celebratory view of the war but preserves a profound respect for the problems the Allies faced and overcame as well as a realistic assessment of the Axis accomplishments and failures. It is the essential military history of World War II--from the Sino-Japanese War in 1937 to the surrender of Japan in 1945--for students, scholars, and general readers alike.


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LibraryThing Review

User Review  - bezoar44 - LibraryThing

This is a one-volume operational military history of the Second World War, which is to say it focuses on the resources available to the Axis and the Allies, the strategic challenges faced by theater ... Read full review

A WAR TO BE WON: Fighting the Second World War, 1937-1945

User Review  - Kirkus

A magisterial, hypnotically detailed tactical narrative of WWII, with the competing military, political, and social histories of the maelstrom writ large—yet comprehensibly presented. Coauthors ... Read full review


1 Origins of a Catastrophe
2 The Revolution in Military Operations 19191939
3 German Designs 19391940
4 Germany Triumphant 1940
5 Diversions in the Mediterranean and Balkans 19401941
6 Barbarossa 1941
7 The Origins of the AsiaPacific War 19191941
8 The Japanese War of Conquest 19411942
14 The Killing Time 19431944
15 The Invasion of France 1944
16 The End in Europe 19441945
17 The Destruction of the Japanese Empire 19441945
19 Peoples at War 19371945
In Retrospect
Suggested Reading

9 The AsiaPacific War 19421944
10 The Battle of the Atlantic 19391943
11 Year of Decision for Germany 1942
12 The Combined Bomber Offensive 19411945
13 The Destruction of Japanese Naval Power 19431944
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Page 19 - See that little stream — we could walk to it in two minutes. It took the British a month to walk to it — a whole empire walking very slowly, dying in front and pushing forward behind. And another empire walked very slowly backward a few inches a day, leaving the dead like a million bloody rugs. No Europeans will ever do that again in this generation.
Page 11 - How horrible, fantastic, incredible it is that we should be digging trenches and trying on gas-masks here because of a quarrel in a far-away country between people of whom we know nothing.

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