The Grand Alliance by Winston S. Churchill Download (read online) free eBook (PDF ePub Kindle)

The Grand Alliance (The Second World War, #3)

Winston Churchill’s six-volume history of the cataclysm that swept the world remains the definitive history of the Second World War. Lucid, dramatic, remarkable both for its breadth and sweep and for its sense of personal involvement, it is universally acknowledged as a magnificent reconstruction and is an enduring, compelling work that led to his being awarded the Nobel P

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    Mikey B.

    This third volume is a transitional year (1941) in which the British Isles were no longer fighting alone. The Soviet Union was viciously attacked by Nazi Germany in June and of course Pearl Harbor brought in the United States at year’s end. It also marks a turning point in that Churchill made two voyages to North America in 1941. There were to be many more perilous trips undertaken by Churchill during the war. The descriptions of these trips are exquisite.

    It should be emphasized that the United

    It should be emphasized that the United States and the Soviet Union were entirely different types of allies to Britain; this becomes clearly apparent as we read through this volume. The U.S. was giving some form of aid to Churchill, particularly after Lend Lease was enacted early in 1941. Until June ’41 the Soviet Union was an indirect ally of Nazi Germany providing Hitler’s armies with vast quantities of raw materials.

    But prior to the German invasion of the Soviet Union Britain was still on her own. She was still protecting her island from potential invasion. She was trying to meet German troops wherever she could – in the Middle East and in Greece. We feel Churchill’s anguish when sending troops (many of them from New Zealand and Australia) to meet German forces in Greece. He felt the situation dire and rather forlorn – and once more British and Allied troops were forced to withdraw from Europe in the face of German troops. But of great consequence was that intervention in Greece and Yugoslavia forced Hitler to delay by over a month his attack on the Soviet Union. This became of significance later that year when Nazi troops floundered in the early Soviet winter in front of Moscow.

    Page 206 (my volume)

    I have now set forth in narrative the outstanding facts of our adventure in Greece. After things are over it is easy to choose the fine mental and moral positions which one should adopt. In this account I have recorded events as they occurred in action as it was taken. Later on these can be judged in the glare of consequences; and finally, when our lives have faded, history will pronounce its cool, detached, and shadowy verdict.

    This book contains many of Churchill’s letters and memorandum which are highly detailed. We are provided with a tremendous view of how conditions were being coped in that moment in time. I find it fascinating how he probed and cajoled his administrators and generals on all aspects. If he felt something remiss – he would pounce – woe to the subjects under scrutiny!

    Here are two letters sent out: (page 647 and 663)

    Prime Minister to Secretary of State for War 4 Feb 41

    Please see the Times of February 4. Is it really true that a seven-mile cross-country run is enforced upon all in this division, from general to privates? Does the Army Council think this a good idea? It looks to me rather excessive. A colonel or a general ought not to exhaust himself in trying to compete with young boys running across country seven miles at a time. The duty of officers is no doubt to keep themselves fit, but still more to think of their men, and to take decisions affecting their safety or comfort. Who is the general of this division, and does he run the seven miles himself? If so, he may be more useful for football than war. Could Napoleon have run seven miles across country at Austerlitz? Perhaps it was the other fellow he made run. In my experience, based on many years’ observation, officers with high athletic qualifications are not usually successful in the higher ranks.

    Prime Minister to Controller, Admiralty 15 Mar 41

    Give me a report on the progress of the ships to carry and disgorge tanks. How many are there? What is their tonnage? How many tanks can they take in flight? When will each be ready? Where are they being built? What mark of tank can they carry?

    As Churchill said the future is inscrutable. For example, would Hitler’s armies march through Spain and Gibraltar blocking off the western entrance of the Mediterranean? After taking Greece was Hitler to proceed through Turkey. Preparations had to be made for any projected eventualities.

    The Battle of the Atlantic encompassing a vast area was the most crucial zone. Constant attacks by U-boats, armed ships, and planes had to be fought off to keep Britain’s life-line from North America alive. After the German invasion Stalin constantly asked Churchill to open a second front by attacking German occupied France. He had no understanding that Britain’s small army, dispersed as it was, was no match for German continental forces. There was no shipping, particularly specialized shipping for landing armoured vehicles and troops on beaches. And even if Britain had embarked on this, all trans-Atlantic shipping would have been impacted, not to mention the Arctic convoys bringing supplies to the Soviet Union.

    With Japan now becoming a significant adversary and America’s lack of military preparedness Churchill at the end of 1941 saw many dark days ahead.

    Page 603
    An indefinite period of military disaster lay certainly before us. Many dark and weary months of defeat and loss must be endured before the light would come again.

    The link below contains a portion of Churchill’s speech to the Canadian Parliament in Ottawa on December 30, 1941 (click on the “listen” (play) button)

    http://www.cbc.ca/archives/entry/1941…

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