Bringing together the work of nine leading historians, and superbly illustrated with contemporary photography and colour maps, The Second World War gives readers a comprehensive understanding of all aspects of history's greatest conflict.

The period from 1939 to 1945 saw some of the most devastating and remarkable events in living memory. Labouring beneath a daily burden of fear, sacrifice, deprivation and uncertainty, soldiers and civilians of all nationalities were driven to extremes of selfless loyalty, dogged determination or bitter cruelty by the demands of a world at war.

This book tells the stories of the men and women who lived and died during the Second World War, from politicians to factory workers, and from High Command to the conscripted men on the front lines. The experience of war is brought to life through a wealth of contemporary documentation, private writings and historical research, whilst the political, military and historical significance of the war is assessed and examined.

From Europe's Western and Eastern Fronts to the war at sea, and from the Pacific to the Mediterranean and North Africa, every fighting front of the Second World War is covered in this truly comprehensive volume.

Table of Contents


Europe: the source of war
War at sea
The Mediterranean Theater
The Pacific War
The Eastern Front
Northwest Europe, 1944–1945


Chapter 1: Northwest Europe, 1939–1943
Warring sides
Outbreak: “a solution by force”
The fighting
Portrait of a soldier
The war economy
Occupation, division, and resistance

Chapter 2: War at Sea
Warring sides
Outbreak: the European naval war, 1939–1940
Northern waters, 1940–1944
The Mediterranean Sea
The Indian Ocean
Portrait of a sailor
From Operation Neptune to Berlin

Chapter 3: The Mediterranean Theater
Warring sides
Outbreak: a parallel war
The fighting: from the Desert to the Po
Portrait of a soldier

Chapter 4: The Pacific War
Warring sides
Outbreak: Japan's opening moves, 1941
The fighting, January 1942–August 1945
Prisoners of war
A new weapon of war

Chapter 5: The Eastern Front
Warring sides
Outbreak: Barbarossa, June–December 1941
The fighting, 1942–1945

Chapter 6: Northwest Europe, 1944–1945
Warring sides
Outbreak: Overlord, 6 June–30 August 1944
The fighting: from Market-Garden to VE-Day
Portrait of a soldier

A shattered Germany
The new superpowers
Counting the cost
A catalyst for change


Product details

Published Sep 20 2018
Format Ebook (PDF)
Edition 1st
Extent 368
ISBN 9781472833945
Imprint Osprey Publishing
Illustrations Fully illustrated with contemporary images and colour maps.
Series General Military
Short code GNM
Publisher Bloomsbury Publishing

About the contributors


David Horner

David Horner is an emeritus professor at the Strat…


Robin Havers

Dr Robin Havers is currently President of the Geor…


Alastair Finlan

Alastair Finlan is a Professor of War Studies at t…


Mark J Grove

Mark J Grove has degrees in history from the unive…


Philip D. Grove

Philip D. Grove BSc(Econ), MSc(Econ), FHEA has tau…


Paul Collier

Paul Collier has lived and worked extensively in E…


Geoffrey Jukes

After leaving Oxford in 1953 Geoffrey Jukes spent…


Russell Hart

Dr Russell A. Hart is Professor of History and Dir…


Stephen A. Hart

Dr Stephen A Hart is senior lecturer in the War St…


Max Hastings

Sir Max Hastings Military historian and Fleet Str…


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