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The Hinge of Fate
One of the most fascinating works of history ever written, Winston Churchill´s monumental The Second World War is a six-volume account of the struggle of the Allied powers in Europe against Germany and the Axis. Told through the eyes of British Prime Minister Winston Churchill, The Second World War is also the story of one nation´s singular, heroic role in the fight against tyranny. Pride and patriotism are evident everywhere in Churchill´s dramatic account and for good reason. Having learned a lesson at Munich that they would never forget, the British refused to make peace with Hitler, defying him even after France had fallen and after it seemed as though the Nazis were unstoppable. Churchill remained unbowed throughout, as did the people of Britain in whose determination and courage he placed his confidence.
Patriotic as Churchill was, he managed to maintain a balanced impartiality in his description of the war. What is perhaps most interesting, and what lends the work its tension and emotion, is Churchill´s inclusion of a significant amount of primary material. We hear his retrospective analysis of the war, to be sure, but we are also presented with memos, letters, orders, speeches, and telegrams that give a day-by-day account of the reactions - both mistaken and justified - to the unfolding drama. Strategies and counterstrategies develop to respond to Hitler´s ruthless conquest of Europe, his planned invasion of England, and his treacherous assault on Russia. It is a mesmerizing account of the crucial decisions that have to be made with imperfect knowledge and an awareness that the fate of the world hangs in the balance.
The fourth volume in this work, The Hinge of Fate is, as its name might suggest, the dramatic account of the Allies´ changing fortunes. By the end of the previous volume, The Grand Alliance, the Russians and the Americans had both entered the war on the side of the British, but Germany, Italy and Japan continued pressing forward successfully with their terrible onslaught. In the first half of The Hinge of Fate, Churchill describes the fearful period in which the Germans threaten to overwhelm the Red Army, Rommel dominates the war in the desert, and Singapore falls to the Japanese. In the span of just a few months, however, the Allies begin to turn the tide, achieving decisive victories at Midway and Guadalcanal, and repulsing the Germans at Stalingrad. As their confidence builds, and they begin to gain ground against the Axis powers, the Allies can begin to see the end of this terrible conflict in sight.
Churchill won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1953 due in no small part to this awe-inspiring work.