The Rise and Fall of Benito Mussolini

Benito Mussolini is often lost in the shadow of Adolf Hitler. Many don’t know that Hitler admired Mussolini and Mussolini had a significant impact on Hitler.

This short video gives a nice summary of the rise and fall of Mussolini.

Battle of Midway Analysis

The video included in this post has two different historical contexts of interest. On one hand, it is a documentary about the Battle of Midway in 1942 during the Second World War. On the other hand, it is training film from 1950 and it reflects that context. You may find the video quite interesting for both reasons.

Peace in Our Time?

Neville Chamberlain, Prime Minister of Britain, truly desired peace for Europe. He believed that Adolf Hitler could be negotiated and that Hitler’s stated intentions were sincere.

The situation was Germany’s plan to send troops into Czechoslovakia. Instead of warning Hitler to keep out, he agreed for Hitler to take part of Czechoslovakia and leave the rest.

This video is painful to watch as we observe the optimism of Chamberlain and the crowd, knowing that it was destined to fail.

D-Day: Juno Beach

Everyone knows that the United States and Great Britain invaded France at Normandy on D-Day. What people are less familiar with is that Canada also had it’s own beach. It could be argued that the Canadians at Juno Beach were the most successful of all the landings.

You can learn more about this battle in this documentary.

Battle of Stalingrad

The Battle of Stalingrad (23 August 1942 — 2 February 1943)was a major battle of World War II in which Nazi Germany and its allies fought the Soviet Union for control of the city of Stalingrad (now Volgograd) in the south-western Soviet Union. Marked by constant close quarters combat and disregard for military and civilian casualties, it is amongst the bloodiest battles in the history of warfare. The heavy losses inflicted on the Wehrmacht make it arguably the most strategically decisive battle of the whole war. It was a turning point in the European theatre of World War II–the German forces never regained the initiative in the East and withdrew a vast military force from the West to reinforce their losses.

The German offensive to capture Stalingrad began in late summer 1942 using the 6th Army and elements of the 4th Panzer Army. The attack was supported by intensive Luftwaffe bombing that reduced much of the city to rubble. The fighting degenerated into building-to-building fighting, and both sides poured reinforcements into the city. By mid-November 1942, the Germans had pushed the Soviet defenders back at great cost into narrow zones generally along the west bank of the Volga River.

On 19 November 1942, the Red Army launched Operation Uranus, a two-pronged attack targeting the weaker Romanian and Hungarian forces protecting the German 6th Army’s flanks. The Axis forces on the flanks were overrun and the 6th Army was cut off and surrounded in the Stalingrad area. Adolf Hitler ordered that the army stay in Stalingrad and make no attempt to break out; instead, attempts were made to supply the army by air and to break the encirclement from the outside. Heavy fighting continued for another two months. By the beginning of February 1943, the Axis forces in Stalingrad had exhausted their ammunition and food. The remaining elements of the 6th Army surrendered. The battle lasted five months, one week, and three days. (taken from the YouTube description)

Dunkirk – Review

DunkirkOne of my biggest interests is that of military history. When I saw that they were making a movie of Dunkirk, I knew that I wanted to see it. The rescue of the soldiers at Dunkirk was one of the most dramatic events of the Second World War.

Although I wanted to see the movie simply because of the topic, I was not prepared for the final product.

Dunkirk is one of the best movies that I have ever seen. I say this not as a fan of war movies. I say it as someone who recognizes a movie done with excellence.

If you don’t know the story of Dunkirk, it takes place near the beginning of World War Two. The Germans had invaded and defeated France. The remnants of the French army and the British army were pushed back to Dunkirk. The Germans fully expected to destroy them at Dunkirk and they took their time to do it.

What the Germans didn’t expect was a fleet of civilian ships and boats crossing the channel to bring back as many soldiers as possible.

I knew the story, but this movie captured more than the facts. It captured the emotions.

It took me a while to realize that not everything in the movie was happening at the same time. There are three perspectives that slowly work toward each other. Christopher Nolan masterfully uses visual and audio elements to draw the audience into the story. The movie has some of the least dialogue of any recent movie and yet the audience is brought into the story by what they see and hear.

I understand that many people don’t like war movies. People don’t want to glorify war. Dunkirk cannot be accused of glorifying war. It portrays it in all of its horror, but does so without the gore of many other war movies.

This film is really about what it means to be human. It is about courage in circumstances that demand despair. It is about compassion and nobility, rising above the easy way.

Even if you have no interest in military history, I highly recommend that you see Dunkirk.

This review originally appeared here.

Welcome to the Second World War Podcast

Second World WarI would like to welcome you to the Second World War podcast. The first episode of the podcast is being worked on right now and will be uploaded soon. If you are interested in the Second World War, you will enjoy this podcast. I will be going through the events between 1939 and 1945. In addition, there will be individual episodes looking at the various figure prominent in this conflict. I also hope to have some interviews with historians and authors.

Keep checking this website for blog posts and podcast episodes.