Author(s): Michael Swift
The Second World War was a watershed in world history: the seizing of power by Hitler and the Nazis, the slowly building crescendo of annexations that led to Blitzkrieg, the conquest of Europe, the U-boat war, the strategic bombing campaign, the invasion of Russia, Stalingrad and D-Day, and the long German retreat to unconditional surrender.
Mapping the Second World War does not try to retell every point in the story of the war in Europe, rather it seeks to provide – through contemporary documents – a different view of the war and suggest avenues for further research. Presenting over 100 maps it looks both at the broad sweep of events – such as the invasion of Europe in June 1944 – and at details – the two-man X-craft attack on the battleship Tirpitz – to provide a fascinating sample of how events during the war were mapped out. Charts and maps were vital to the conduct of the war: before each military event there was planning, the reconnaissance, the conjecture as to enemy dispositions: after the event there would be debriefing, analysis of success and failure, and a redrawing of maps to show new troop positions and boundaries.
Many of the maps selected have been used in actual combat and are marked up accordingly. Such battlefield annotations add to this fascinating overview of some of the key events in the Second World War and are referenced in the extended accompanying map captions. The volume is complete with a detailed narrative introduction to the progress of the war.