In this major new history, Gordon Corrigan argues that what we call the Second World War was in fact two separate conflicts: one against Germany (and, for a while, Italy) in Western Europe, Soviet Russia and North Africa; the other against Japan in the Far East and Pacific. Each conflict had distinct causes and had to be fought in different ways against very different enemies, who rarely, if ever, coordinated their efforts. This is a new and cogent account of an immense, exhausting six-year conflict that continues to fascinate. Corrigan examines the agendas of the warring nations and offers fresh and vivid interpretations; Britain's own part in the war comes in for particularly close scrutiny: militarily, the British suffered an agonising series of defeats before the tide turned. The country emerged economically broken, with the loss of her empire a virtual certainty. The Second World War is vast in its erudition and epic in its execution. It will change forever the way we think about the titanic conflicts that dominated the years 1939 to 1945.

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