A new History of the Second World War

Victor Davis Hanson’s “The Second World Wars” is not a chronological retelling of the conflict but a high-altitude, statistics-saturated overview of the dynamics and constraints that shaped it.

In 1936, Charles Lindbergh arrived in Berlin to inspect the Luftwaffe. The visit had been arranged by Truman Smith, an ingenious intelligence officer who knew that Herman Göring, the Nazi air marshal, would find the American aviator’s celebrity irresistible; Lindbergh flew to Berlin with his wife, Anne, as his co-pilot, and then, along with Smith and another officer, spent a few days meeting German pilots, inspecting operations, and even flying several German planes. (The group also had dinner at Göring’s house, where they met his pet lion cub, Augie.) Lindbergh was impressed by what he saw; Göring so enjoyed impressing him that Smith was able to arrange four more visits over the next few years. Drawing on them, Lindbergh sent a dire warning to General Henry (Hap) Arnold, the commander of the U.S. Air Force, in 1938. “Germany is undoubtedly the most powerful nation in the world in military aviation,” he wrote, “and her margin of leadership is increasing with each month that passes.”

I am currently reading this book and highly recommend it, a very interesting read.

  • simus1

    ‘Arnold, commander of the USAAF’
    While the USAAF was in the process of garnering considerable political and private industry support which greatly assisted it in its movement towards becoming a stand alone service called the USAF, at this time it was still entangled in the U S Army bureaucracy at the highest levels.

    • Good catch,the book is a good read. It certainly puts things in perspective, Japan built 17 carriers after Pearl Harbor, the US built almost 150 by wars end of which 18 or 19 were Essex class fleet carriers, the rest were light and escort class.

      • simus1

        The assertion that Deutsches Heer use of horse drawn transport in WW2 was obsolete and reflected a hidebound mentality is not well founded in practice. At this time in much of western Europe and to a lesser extent in the east, the prime movers were freight trains over very dense rail networks, often leaving only the final mile or so at the most to horse drawn means. Gasoline was almost a military only item.
        A Youtube Channel called Military History is good on its own for looking at real world items close up and good also for references.
        At the outbreak of WW2, and later, the German government requisitioned large numbers of what civilian heavy trucks there were in the country. As if they were horses !