8 juin 1944. La division Das Reich, forte de 15 000 hommes, quitte Montauban en direction de la Normandie. Elle mettra quinze jours - au lieu des trois initialement prévus - pour arriver sur les lieux du Débarquement. Le temps pour la 2 e division SS de se livrer à des exactions barbares et d'acquérir une réputation sinistre. Commandée par le général Heinz Lammerding, pur produit du système nazi, la division Das Reich voit sa progression entravée par la Résistance, par des opérations de commando et par les bombardements de l'aviation alliée. Mais cette légendaire action de guérilla restera marquée par deux représailles sanglantes: les pendaisonsde Tulle et le massacred'Oradour-sur-Glane.
Dans un cortège de morts et de destructions la division Das Reich, bourreau d'Oradour et de Tulle, connaît une progression sanglante, semée d'embûches par la résistance déterminée à empêcher les Allemands d'atteindre la Normandie à temps pour s'opposer au Débarquement. Mais quelle fut la véritable histoire de la division Das Reich pendant ce mois de juin 44 ? Partie de Montauban pour rejoindre la Normandie, la division Das Reich, forte de 15 000 hommes, subit bombardements alliés et opérations de commandos de la résistance. Elle mettra 15 jours au lieu de 3 pour parcourir les 725 kilomètres qui devaient la mener sur les plages de Normandie. Après les pendaisons de Tulle et le massacre d'Oradour-sur-Glane, la division déjà ralentie et fatiguée ne parviendra pas à rejoindre à temps la Normandie pour s'opposer au Débarquement. Dans quelle mesure la Résistance parvint-elle à freiner la progression de la division ? Quel rôle joua-t-elle réellement dans le déroulement de ces événements ?
A partir des témoignages alliés, des résistants, des hommes de Vichy et des Allemands, le livre suit pas à pas la progression de la division Das Reich et analyse tous les événements qui la ponctuent.
Il fait la part des responsabilités, de la cruauté et de l'héroïsme des deux camps. Cette analyse du contexte des événements décrit une réalité - dramatique - dans une phase critique des hostilités et tente de rétablir les rôles de cette épopée sanglante.
''As gripping as any spy thriller, Hastings''s achievement is especially impressive, for he has produced the best single volume yet written on the subject'' Sunday Times ''Authoritative, exciting and notably well written'' Daily Telegraph ''A serious work of rigourous and comprehensive history ... royally entertaining and readable'' Mail on Sunday In The Secret War , Max Hastings presents a worldwide cast of characters and extraordinary sagas of intelligence and Resistance to create a new perspective on the greatest conflict in history. The book links tales of high courage ashore, at sea and in the air to the work of the brilliant ''boffins'' battling the enemy''s technology. Here are not only the unheralded codebreaking geniuses of Bletchley Park, but also their German counterparts who achieved their own triumphs and the fabulous espionage networks created, and so often spurned, by the Soviet Union. With its stories of high policy and human drama, the book has been acclaimed as the best history of the secret war ever written.
An epic, intimate new account of one of the greatest naval dramas of World War II, from number one bestselling historian Max Hastings. Operation Pedestal was a crucial relief mission that became an epic, bloody naval battle and a pivotal moment in the Second World War. In 1942, the Luftwaffe had a stranglehold on Malta. In the months of April and May, they dropped more bombs on the island than on London in the entire Blitz. British attempts to bring in supplies and reinforcements were failing with heavy losses, and the people on Malta were closing in on starvation as the Axis attempted to force their surrender. Operation Pedestal saw an armada of fifty British ships, painstakingly loaded with food and medical supplies, ammunition and fuel, attempt to fight its way in convoy to the island. The ensuing battle was brutal on both sides, Italian submarines and German planes dealing serious damage alongside the naval skirmishing. Over the course of a few fierce days, Britain scraped a victory and ensured Malta''s survival - though at the loss of a horrifying number of ships and lives. It was an emblematic moment when, in the cruel accountancy of war, the price was worth paying. In his signature brilliant style, Max Hastings gives a thrilling narrative of this little-known but crucial naval battle, retelling the intense action which perfectly encapsulates the spirit and power of the Royal Navy, surely the fiercest and most iconic fighting force of WW2.
THE SUNDAY TIMES BESTSELLER ''His masterpiece'' Antony Beevor, Spectator ''A masterful performance'' Sunday Times ''By far the best book on the Vietnam War'' Gerald Degroot, The Times , Book of the Year Vietnam became the Western world''s most divisive modern conflict, precipitating a battlefield humiliation for France in 1954, then a vastly greater one for the United States in 1975. Max Hastings has spent the past three years interviewing scores of participants on both sides, as well as researching a multitude of American and Vietnamese documents and memoirs, to create an epic narrative of an epic struggle. He portrays the set pieces of Dienbienphu, the Tet offensive, the air blitz of North Vietnam, and less familiar battles such as the bloodbath at Daido, where a US Marine battalion was almost wiped out, together with extraordinary recollections of Ho Chi Minh''s warriors. Here are the vivid realities of strife amid jungle and paddies that killed 2 million people. Many writers treat the war as a US tragedy, yet Hastings sees it as overwhelmingly that of the Vietnamese people, of whom forty died for every American. US blunders and atrocities were matched by those committed by their enemies. While all the world has seen the image of a screaming, naked girl seared by napalm, it forgets countless eviscerations, beheadings and murders carried out by the communists. The people of both former Vietnams paid a bitter price for the Northerners'' victory in privation and oppression. Here is testimony from Vietcong guerrillas, Southern paratroopers, Saigon bargirls and Hanoi students alongside that of infantrymen from South Dakota, Marines from North Carolina, Huey pilots from Arkansas. No past volume has blended a political and military narrative of the entire conflict with heart-stopping personal experiences, in the fashion that Max Hastings'' readers know so well. The author suggests that neither side deserved to win this struggle with so many lessons for the 21st century about the misuse of military might to confront intractable political and cultural challenges. He marshals testimony from warlords and peasants, statesmen and soldiers, to create an extraordinary record.
THE SUNDAY TIMES BESTSELLER A masterly history of the Dambusters raid from bestselling and critically acclaimed Max Hastings. Operation Chastise was one of the most extraordinary episodes of the Second World War, yet it has also become one of the most misunderstood. Max Hastings tells the gripping story of the Dambusters raid, from the invention of the bouncing bomb to the moonlit cockpits of young pilots flying at treetop height through lethal enemy fire. But Hastings also challenges what we think we know about the Dambusters, bringing to light the difficult truths that have often been left out of the legend. ''Brings it to life as never before ... Hour by nerve-jangling hour'' Daily Mail ''Superb ... The heroes shine, but their achievement haunts'' Times ''A virtuoso performance from a veteran military historian. It is a white-knuckle narrative that brings clarity and insight to a much-loved tale, as well as offering a vital corrective to the drum-thumping conclusions of earlier books'' Sunday Times
''A fascinating collection of military stories ... The sort of book that can be picked up at intervals ... [but] once tasted, is hard to put down'' Washington Post From bestselling author Max Hastings, a collection of the most extraordinary stories of war, courage, tragedy, strategy and survival.
Men at War is a collection of the very best stories about soldiers, brought together by the award-winning, bestselling historian Max Hastings. In his almost sixty years of military study and his work in the midst of modern conflicts as a foreign correspondent, these are the stories that left a mark.
In these pages you will find heroes and cowards; triumphs, tragedies and comedies. It illustrates, mostly through people''s own words, what it''s been like to fight in wars, to live and die as a warrior, from Greek and Roman times through to today''s Iraq and Afghanistan.
The characters include the Black Prince and Cromwell, Wellington at Waterloo, Siegfried Sassoon at the Somme, George Orwell in the Spanish Civil War and Evelyn Waugh as a commando. But there are also Americans, Frenchmen, Israelis, Russians, not to mention the women warriors of Dahomey, Queen Boudicca and the women who serve today in the US Marines.There are more than 300 stories in all,and an astounding variety of soldiers'' experiences through the ages.Many have been responsible for wonderful achievements but a few, also, for dreadful crimes.Some relate horrors, while others tell terrific jokes.
This is a book that might make you feel as grateful that whatever the troubles of our own times, we are spared the mud and blood and anguish, if also the moments of glory, that the soldiers in these pages bring so vividly to life.
Somehow the Germans found the strength to halt the Allied advance in its tracks and to prolong the war to 1945. This book is the epic story of those last eight months of the war in northern Europe.
A magisterial history of the greatest and most terrible event in history, from one of the finest historians of the Second World War. A book which shows the impact of war upon hundreds of millions of people around the world- soldiers, sailors and airmen; housewives, farm workers and children.Reflecting Max Hastings's thirty-five years of research on World War II, All Hell Let Loose describes the course of events, but focuses chiefly upon human experience, which varied immensely from campaign to campaign, continent to continent.The author emphasises the Russian front, where more than 90% of all German soldiers who perished met their fate. He argues that, while Hitler's army often fought its battles brilliantly well, the Nazis conducted their war effort with 'stunning incompetence'. He suggests that the Royal Navy and US Navy were their countries' outstanding fighting services, while the industrial contribution of the United States was much more important to allied victory than that of the US Army.The book ranges across a vast canvas, from the agony of Poland amid the September 1939 Nazi invasion, to the 1943 Bengal famine, in which at least a million people died under British rule- and British neglect. Among many vignettes, there are the RAF's legendary raid on the Ruhr dams, the horrors of Arctic convoys, desert tank combat, jungle clashes. Some of Hastings's insights and judgements will surprise students of the conflict, while there are vivid descriptions of the tragedies and triumphs of a host of ordinary people, in uniform and out of it.'The cliché is profoundly true', he says. 'The world between 1939 and 1945 saw some human beings plumb the depths of baseness, while others scaled the heights of courage and nobility'. This is 'everyman's story', an attempt to answer the question: 'What was the Second World War like ?', and also an overview of the big picture. Max Hastings employs the technique which has made many of his previous books best-sellers, combining top-down analysis and bottom-up testimony to explore the meaning of this vast conflict both for its participants and for posterity.
8 juin 1944... La division «Das Reich», forte de quinze mille hommes, deux cent neuf chars et pièces d'artillerie, s'ébranle à Montauban en direction de la Normandie. Entravée dans sa progression par la Résistance, par des opérations de commando et les bombardements de l'aviation alliée, elle va sur son trajet acquérir bientôt une terrible notoriété, en se livrant, à Tulle et à Oradour-sur-Glane, à deux représailles sanglantes dont le souvenir tragique ne s'est jamais effacé. Ces exactions barbares, perpétrées lors d'une phase critique des hostilités, allaient avoir indirectement d'importantes conséquences au niveau stratégique. En effet, si la division «Das Reich» était arrivée à temps sur les lieux du débarquement, elle aurait, selon toute vraisemblance, sinon permis aux forces allemandes de rejeter les alliés à la mer, du moins contribué à différer l'issue de la bataille, retardant du même coup la libération rapide de la France. Quel rôle la Résistance joua-t-elle dans le déroulement de ces événements ? Dans quelle mesure sa participation héroïque freina-t-elle la marche de la division ? Voici l'une des pages les plus douloureuses et les plus extraordinaires de la guerre secrète dont certains épisodes n'avaient encore jamais été racontés.
A magisterial history of the greatest and most terrible event in history, from one of the finest historians of the Second World War. A book which shows the impact of war upon hundreds of millions of people around the world- soldiers, sailors and airmen; housewives, farm workers and children.
The Amazon History Book of the Year 2013 is a magisterial chronicle of the calamity that befell Europe in 1914 as the continent shifted from the glamour of the Edwardian era to the tragedy of total war.
1914: a year of unparalleled change. The year that diplomacy failed, Imperial Europe was thrown into its first modernised warfare and white-gloved soldiers rode in their masses across pastoral landscapes into the blaze of machine-guns. What followed were the costliest days of the entire War. But how had it happened?
In Catastrophe: 1914 Max Hastings, best-selling author of the acclaimed All Hell Let Loose, answers at last how World War I could ever have begun. Ranging across Europe, from Paris to St. Petersberg, from Kings to corporals, Catastrophe 1914 traces how tensions across the continent kindled into a blaze of battles; not the stalemates of later trench-warfare but battles of movement and dash where Napoleonic tactics met with weapons from a newly industrialised age. A searing analysis of the power-brokering, vanity and bluff in the diplomatic maelstrom reveals who was responsible for the birth of this catastrophic world in arms. Mingling the experiences of humbler folk with the statesmen on whom their lives depended, Hastings asks: whose actions were justified?
From the out-break of war through to its terrible making, and the bloody gambles in Sarajevo and Mons, Le Cateau, Marne and Tannenberg, this is the international story of World War I in its most severe and influential period. Published to coincide with its 100th Anniversary, Catastrophe: 1914 explains how and why this war, which shattered and changed the Western world for ever, was fought.