Excerpt from Warlords by Simon Berthon, Joanna Potts, plus links to reviews, author biography & more

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An Extraordinary Re-Creation of World War II Through the Eyes and Minds of Hitler, Churchill, Roosevelt, And Stalin

by Simon Berthon, Joanna Potts

Warlords by Simon Berthon, Joanna Potts X
Warlords by Simon Berthon, Joanna Potts
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  • First Published:
    Mar 2006, 358 pages

    Apr 2007, 384 pages


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Stalin’s reaction was to order his political commissars to the front to shoot the Soviet commanders, but the real fault was his own as his terror had eliminated the Red Army’s best officers. For Hitler, the Soviet army’s incompetence offered yet more comfort, Goebbels noting on March 15, 1940: "The Russians can never become dangerous for us. If Stalin shoots his own generals, we won’t need to do it. So far we’ve had nothing but advantages from our alliance with Russia."

Now on May 10, 1940, Hitler had struck. The fierce and mutually destructive war of the capitalist and fascist states over which Stalin had drooled eight months before was under way. As always the meticulous creature of habit, he stayed up through the small hours, keeping his apparatchiks away from the comforts of bed and sleep. As the sun set on May 10, 1940, he could only wait, watch and hope that Germany on one side and Britain and France on the other would spend years tearing each other apart.

For Hitler May 10 exceeded even his most optimistic dreams. He had been especially nervous about the prospects of the assault against the Belgian block fortifications at Eben-Emael. Preparations for this operation had been so meticulous that a scale model had been built of the area. The atmosphere in Führer headquarters was electric. Had they managed to take the enemy by surprise? By midday reports were streaming in of conquest and success. "The tension is released," wrote Goebbels, "this struggle decides 1000 years of German history." Hitler could believe that providence was guiding him towards his destiny. In London Churchill felt the same. He worked late into the night piecing together his new administration and would later recall that he felt a "profound sense of relief" that he was now the British nation’s supreme leader and warlord

Within 24 hours the entire character of the war had been transformed. A prime minister had fallen and Hitler’s war machine was sweeping victoriously towards the Channel. The world seemed to hang in the balance between the two overlords of Europe, Winston Churchill and Adolf Hitler. Yet, though no one understood it, they were the last hurrah of one great period of history, the age of European empires. It was the two warlords of the future watching from the wings, Roosevelt and Stalin, who in the coming five years would emerge the ultimate victors and usher in a new age of two ideologically opposed superpowers.

Reprinted from Warlords, Copyright 2006. Reprinted by permission of Da Capo Press.

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