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1940: Myth and Reality [Englisch] [Taschenbuch]

Clive Ponting
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Kurzbeschreibung

Oktober 1993
It was the year of the glorious Battle of Britain, of the heroic evacuation of Dunkirk. It was the time when the mighty British empire declared its intention to fight the Nazis—alone if necessary—to the bitter end. It was, as Churchill dubbed it, Britain's "Finest Hour." In 1940: Myth and Reality, Clive Ponting reveals that it was nothing of the sort. Britain was broke in 1940 and utterly dependent on the United States for economic aid. The government fabricated German casualty figures after the Battle of Britain, suppressed knowledge of the complete fiasco that led to Dunkirk, and actually tried secretly to sue for peace that year. The British people were at best grimly resigned to the war; at worst they suffered appalling privations. Without denigrating the heroism of individuals, Mr. Ponting offers a startling account of the ineptitude and propaganda that marked much of 1940: Britain's stormy relations with France, its bizarre attempts to force a united Ireland, and the unpopularity of Winston Churchill. While he made rousing speeches in the House of Commons, Churchill rarely broadcast to the nation: his stirring "we shall fight on the beaches" speech was in fact broadcast by the actor who played Larry the Lamb on Children's Hour.

Produktinformation

  • Taschenbuch: 278 Seiten
  • Verlag: Ivan R. Dee Publisher; Auflage: Reprint (Oktober 1993)
  • Sprache: Englisch
  • ISBN-10: 1566630363
  • ISBN-13: 978-1566630368
  • Größe und/oder Gewicht: 21,8 x 14,2 x 1,9 cm
  • Durchschnittliche Kundenbewertung: 5.0 von 5 Sternen  Alle Rezensionen anzeigen (1 Kundenrezension)
  • Amazon Bestseller-Rang: Nr. 1.343.352 in Fremdsprachige Bücher (Siehe Top 100 in Fremdsprachige Bücher)

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Produktbeschreibungen

Pressestimmen

He brings everything together with enviable clarity and with an unusually sharp eye...He plots convincingly the processes by which decisions were made, or not made. (New Statesman)

Outstanding...masterful...Ponting strips away the myths that have clouded a realistic approach to British problems in World War II. (CHOICE)

Required reading for anyone with a serious interest in World War II. (William L. O'Neill, Professor of History, Rutgers University; author of Coming Apart)

Synopsis

Examines British government policy during World War II, arguing that widely held beliefs about Britain's role in the events of 1940 are largely myth. -- Dieser Text bezieht sich auf eine andere Ausgabe: Gebundene Ausgabe .

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1 von 1 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
5.0 von 5 Sternen "Finest Hour" or Milepost on the Route to Oblivion? 22. April 2000
Format:Taschenbuch
British journalist Clive Ponting squares off against Winston Churchill's version of the Second World War and, on balance, gives a credible portrayal of an island nation under siege. Where Churcill depicted Britain's survival from the onslaught of mechanized warfare and the blitz in terms of sheer heroism, Ponting describes a second-rate power simply muddling through in the expectation of deliverance from abroad. On balance, Ponting's account seems more consistent with human nature and thus, more authentic. Churchill's heroes are larger than life, suitably draped with the Union Jack, while the actors in "1940 Myth and Reality" are real people, exhibiting occasional vanity, pettiness and pigheadedness. Those who history has later villified (such as Chamberlain, Halifax, Joseph P. Kennedy and others) appear in his pages as ordinary public servants serving in extraordinary times under impossible economic and political constraints.Those whose leadership is immortalized by statutory found everywhere in contemporary London (Roosevelt, DeGaulle, George VI, and of course, Sir Winston)were of no greater character. They were, however, far luckier. And their timing was better. Those left standing after the ordeal of 1940-42 were not "heroes"; they were simply "survivors". And of the two, they (like most people under similar circumstances) would have preferred the latter. While Ponting finds few heroes in Britain in 1940, the most revealing aspect of his book is his description of the pre-Pearl Harbor financial dealings between Washington and London by which the former intentionally sought to subjugate the latter. Mr Ponting's 235 pages of lucid reporting ought to be required reading in both countries.
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Amazon.com: 4.6 von 5 Sternen  5 Rezensionen
27 von 29 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
5.0 von 5 Sternen "Finest Hour" or Milepost on the Route to Oblivion? 22. April 2000
Von Barbara Reedhead - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Format:Taschenbuch
British journalist Clive Ponting squares off against Winston Churchill's version of the Second World War and, on balance, gives a credible portrayal of an island nation under siege. Where Churcill depicted Britain's survival from the onslaught of mechanized warfare and the blitz in terms of sheer heroism, Ponting describes a second-rate power simply muddling through in the expectation of deliverance from abroad. On balance, Ponting's account seems more consistent with human nature and thus, more authentic. Churchill's heroes are larger than life, suitably draped with the Union Jack, while the actors in "1940 Myth and Reality" are real people, exhibiting occasional vanity, pettiness and pigheadedness. Those who history has later villified (such as Chamberlain, Halifax, Joseph P. Kennedy and others) appear in his pages as ordinary public servants serving in extraordinary times under impossible economic and political constraints.Those whose leadership is immortalized by statutory found everywhere in contemporary London (Roosevelt, DeGaulle, George VI, and of course, Sir Winston)were of no greater character. They were, however, far luckier. And their timing was better. Those left standing after the ordeal of 1940-42 were not "heroes"; they were simply "survivors". And of the two, they (like most people under similar circumstances) would have preferred the latter. While Ponting finds few heroes in Britain in 1940, the most revealing aspect of his book is his description of the pre-Pearl Harbor financial dealings between Washington and London by which the former intentionally sought to subjugate the latter. Mr Ponting's 235 pages of lucid reporting ought to be required reading in both countries.
4 von 4 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
5.0 von 5 Sternen Exciting history 10. Dezember 2007
Von Derek Law - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Format:Taschenbuch|Verifizierter Kauf
I seek out this book as I enjoy reading books by the historian Clive Ponting, the author of "World History: A New Perspectives" among other works.

As the other reviewers have already given the gist of how Clive Ponting tries to de-bunk the British war-time propaganda that have persisted more or less unquestioned till today. What I want to add are two points:

1. With all that is said by Ponting regarding how Churchill was not as much of a hero as his memoirs suggested, Ponting gave credit to Churchill's appointment of a non civil servant to be in charge of Aircraft Production, an appointment with such phenomenal success in accelerating production which turned out to be critical to Britain's war efforts against the Germans. So Ponting's narrative is not as one-sided as some of the prior reviews may suggest.

2. As I read this book, I cannot help seeing how UK near WWII fits with the "hegemonic decline" model as described by those "World System Theorists" such as Wallestein, Arrighi & Frank. As such, I would recommend this book to those of us who are interested not only in "history-as-happened" but also in "history-as-social-science."

Enjoy!
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4.0 von 5 Sternen Fascinating debunking of British war propaganda 23. Oktober 2006
Von J. Michael - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Format:Taschenbuch
This is a gripping history detailing the disconnect between the actual events of 1940 and the officially promulgated British government mythology which has persisted to this day in the popular mind and in the accounts of transatlantic court historians. Of particular interest to me were the U.K.'s horrific financial straits and its inability to prosecute the war without American aid, the low level of British morale, and the debates in the cabinet about how and when to seek peace terms with Germany after the fall of France. Despite the fact that Churchill claimed in his useless memoirs that the British government never considered a negotiated peace, Ponting shows that it was a consensus in the British cabinet that a negotiated peace was almost a foregone conclusion after the fall of France. Some ministers wanted to seek terms immediately but Mr. "Never Surrender" Churchill wanted to fight on for a few more months only in order to get better terms from Germany. In exchange for British independence, Churchill was willing to hand over Gibraltar, Malta and the Suez Canal to Italy and recognize German domination of Eastern Europe and the Balkans. Another interesting indicator of British desperation was Churchill's willingness to cede the Falklands to Argentina and Ulster to the Irish State in order to gain certain marginal military benefits. This is a great book. My only criticism is that it was too short. The myriad half-truths, distortions and lies surrounding the Second World War would have afforded Mr. Ponting sufficient material for multiple volumes.
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5.0 von 5 Sternen Rolled Over The Barrels 14. Juni 2012
Von S Wood - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Format:Taschenbuch
Appeasement gets a bad press for quite comprehensible reasons, Hitler's Nazi Germany was a monstrous regime whose crimes included the barbaric war against the Slavic East as well as the Holocaust. Clive Pontings excellent history of Britains 1940 makes clear why appeasement was the policy of choice for the majority of Britain's Elite during the 1930's: if it came to a war with Nazi Germany, Britain's primary, though diminishing, role in the world would come to an end. In 1940 Britain found itself very definitely not appeasing the Nazi Regime which had conquered Western Europe. Everything the appeasers feared was in fact happening: Britain was short of Allies, short of Dollars and short of resources to defend its Global Empire. Churchill's Government, cap in hand, went to the United States for aid and for all his talk of "English speaking peoples" - "Defence of Democracy" - "Shared values" the reality was that the Americans had the British over the proverbial barrel and made the most of Britain's unedifying position before giving them it.

Pontings book has the relationship between the United States and Britain as its central theme and identifies the second half of 1940 as the point when Britain essentially became a client state of the U.S. for the duration of the war and beyond. It's to Churchill's credit that he took that course when other voices preached for an accommodation with Nazi Germany. It is hardly surprising that the British Government should dress this up as an equal and (to quote Churchill) "unsordid" relationship for the duration of the war. What is less reasonable is that the mythical story of 1940 was able to echo on right through the post-war era, and though it is a little more threadbare today it still has a bit of life in it yet.

Other topics that Ponting looks into are The Battle of Britain for which he apportions credit for victory between pre-war Politicians who over-ruled a Bomber obsessed RAF in favour of a Fighter Defence for Britain and the lack of a well thought strategy by the Luftwaffe. A few myths regarding the Blitz are also punctured. He also accounts for Churchill's rise to the position of Prime Minister, the botched campaign in Norway, relations between the British and the French during the German invasion of Western Europe, the situation vis-à-vis Japan in the Far East as well as relations between Britain and Eire where the British floated the idea that Ireland would be re-united in exchange for the use of Naval bases in Southern Ireland.

An excellent book that packs a good deal of information and analysis into 230 pages. Some of the information is probably a bit dated, for example the figures he quotes for bombing casualties in Dresden and Hamburg have been superseded by more recent scholarship and it was Dennis the Dachshund and not Larry the Lamb that Norman Shelley (the usual stand-in for Churchill on BBC radio) voiced in Toytown. These faults aside I still feel that Pontings analysis holds well twenty years down the line and have no problem recommending this book as well as Pontings general history Armageddon: the Second World War.
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4.0 von 5 Sternen If true, illuminating 10. Januar 2009
Von WB, Zeno - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Format:Taschenbuch|Verifizierter Kauf
I read Mitford's "Best of Enemies" and realized it was based on this book (among others) for crucial assumptions. So I purchased this, and then I realized I already had Ponting's "World History", which I had read in 2002 or whereabouts and forgotten. So I reread it and then the one I'm reviewing.

Well, this product reinforced the impression I had of P. as an 'angry young man' (irrespective of his age). But, unlike the other one, I found this to be truly illuminating. I know (or better, have read) a lot, but really a lot, about WW1, WW2 and European history, and didn't find a single mistake in what P. wrote. What I can't vouch for are the accuracy of the quotations and their lack of bias.
It seems to me, for example, that P.'s out to cut Churchill ("Ch.") back to size. That Ch. in his war memoirs wrote for his historic persona is undeniable, and indeed unavoidable: I doubt that anybody can write impartially of himself. But that goes for Chamberlain and Halifax too. As 'pacifists', no doubt they wouldn't have wanted to be alone and thus would have tended to depict Ch. as hesitating in the grim moments of French defeat in the spring of 1940. So their memories and notes are apt to be embellished, too. I can't believe that Ch., the arch-imperialist, would have accepted, as P. in p. 107 implies without stating it explicitly, to cede Gibraltar, Malta and Suez, three of the four keys to India, or said, as stated (?) in Chamberlain's diary that "if we could get out of this jam by giving up Malta and Gibraltar and some African colonies, he would jump at it". Well, why didn't he? Surely Hitler, to bring about peace with England, would have restrained Mussolini, as he did in the case of the French (which had been after all utterly defeated) and their colonies. So I don't find that part of the book clinches P.'s case. Also, I find he equivocates. Thus in p. 108 he writes: "Ch. argued in favour, not of continuing the war until victory, but to try to get through the next two or three months before making a decision on whether or not to ask for peace". But what of what he is claimed to have said in p. 107? It's a fact that, after Dunkirk, Hitler offered peace in his Reichstag speech, although obviously without mentioning terms. I don't believe the British Government, if willing, would have been unable to find a circuitous enough route to ask whether Germany and Italy were willing to offer terms, without compromising itself.

P. is sometimes also repetitive. But, as he says in p. 97, we'll have to wait "until well into the 21st C" for some Government papers to be available and thus settle the matter.

Good book. Read it if you are interested in 20th C European history.
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