Home Front during World War Two
War mobilization around the globe
author Paul Boșcu, July 2019
During World War Two the participants had to mobilize for war in order to conduct it successfully. This meant that the industry had to accelerate the production of war matériel. The warring countries also had to galvanize their societies for war in order to maintain morale, and to mobilize their soldiers. Countries under occupation tried to organize resistance movements with varying degrees of success.
Nikolai Belov of the Red Army wrote in his diary at the end of 1942: ‘Yesterday I received a whole bunch of letters from Lidochka. I sense that she isn’t having an easy time back there with the little ones.’ Captain Belov understated his wife’s predicament. During the war, civilians suffered more than soldiers in many societies. Although statistics are drastically distorted by the mortality in Russia and China, it is notable that globally more non-combatants perished between 1939 and 1945 than uniformed participants.

Romanian Mihail Sebastian never saw a battlefield, but wrote in December 1943: ‘Any personal balance sheet gets lost in the shadow of war. Its terrible presence is the first reality. Then somewhere, far away, forgotten by us, are we ourselves, with our faded, diminished, lethargic life, as we wait to emerge from sleep and start living again.’

It is hard to use the phrase ‘home front’ without irony in the context of Russia’s war, in which tens of millions found themselves in the condition described by Ukraine partisan Commissar Pavel Kalitov in September 1942, at the hamlet of Klimovo: ‘A pale, thin woman sits on a bench with a baby in her arms and a girl of about seven. She is weeping, poor wretch. What are her tears about? I would do anything to be able to help these miserable human beings, to ease their pain.’ Three weeks later, he described a similar scene in Budnitsa: ‘What is left of it? Heaps of ruins, chimneys sticking out, scorched chairs. Where there were roads and paths, there are thorns and weeds. No sign of life. The village is under constant artillery fire.’ Shortly afterwards, Kalitov’s unit received an army order to clear all civilians from a fifteen-mile zone behind the front; they were to be permitted to take their belongings, but no forage or potatoes. Kalitov wrote unhappily: ‘We’ve got to work with the civilians, to prepare them so that they do this without resisting. It’s a tough business: many people are living almost entirely off potatoes. To demand that they leave these for the troops means sentencing them to terrible hardships, even death. A family of refugees stands in front of me now. They are so thin and gaunt, one can see through them. It is especially hard to look at the little ones – three of them, one a baby, the others a little older. There is no milk. These people have suffered as much as us, the soldiers, or even more. Bombs, shells and mines no longer scare them.’

In the unoccupied Western nations, some people prospered: criminals exploited demand for prostitution, black market goods, stolen military fuel and supplies; industrialists made enormous profits, many of which somehow evaded windfall taxes; farmers experienced greater prosperity than they had ever known, especially in the United States, where incomes rose by 156 percent. ‘Farm times became good times,’ said Laura Briggs, daughter of an Idaho smallholder. ‘Dad started having his land improved … We and most other farmers went from a tarpaper shack to a new frame house with indoor plumbing. Now we had an electric stove instead of a wood burning one, and running water at the sink where we could do the dishes; and a hot water heater; and nice linoleum.’ But far more people hated it all.

In April 1941, Edward McCormick wrote to his son David, who had enlisted with his brother Anthony, and now embarked with an artillery regiment for the Middle East. ‘To Mummy, in particular,’ their father said, ‘the whole war centers round you and Anthony. The chief motivating force in her life, ever since you were born, has been your health, happiness and safety. These are still her instinctive thoughts, and you don’t need me to tell you therefore how devastating this parting with you both has been to her. I feel it too, and it appalls me to think of the hardship, danger and filth which will probably be your experience. There is no doubt whatever, in my mind, that this war had to come. A Nazi victory can only mean the enjoyment of life by a very small number of chosen Germans, and the souls of all people under them will be engulfed. You and Anthony are helping to rid the world of this plague and, while personal feelings make me wish you were far away from it all, I am filled with pride … at what I know you will achieve. Mum and I send you our fondest love and blessings and pray for your wellbeing and safe return to us. DAD’ It would be more than four years before the McCormick family was reunited, a separation common to scores of millions. And although enlistment in uniform was the commonest cause of displacement and the sundering of families, these things also took many other forms.

Bianca Zagari was a mother of two in a prosperous Italian family, who fled from their home city of Naples in December 1942, when American bombing began. A party of fourteen including in-laws, nephews and nieces, maid and governess, they settled in the remote and impoverished Abruzzo region, renting two houses in a village in the Sangro valley, accessible only on foot. There, they eked out an uncomfortable existence until, to their horror, in October 1943 once again bombs began to fall around them; they were only eighteen miles from Monte Cassino, in an area bitterly contested between the German and Allied armies. Zagari and her children fled with the villagers; as they clambered into the hills, a peasant told her, in local dialect she could barely comprehend, that the bombing had claimed most of her relations: ‘Signora, the ten dead are yours.’ She wrote: ‘Now it is dawn and others are climbing up from Scontrone, terrified. Each one gives me a horrific detail: a hand, a little foot, two plaits with red bows, a body without a head.’ Her husband Raffaele survived, but most of his family perished. The survivors existed for weeks in caves in the mountains, learning skills such as Zagari had never known – lighting fires and building rough shelters with scant help from the unsympathetic local people, who cared only for their own. ‘I have to ask for everything from everyone – it is like begging for alms.’ When the Germans found them, all the men were conscripted for forced labor: ‘They took one while he was digging under ruins for his mother.’ After months of misery, one day she fled across the mountains with her two children and her jewel case. Eventually a pitying German lorry-driver gave them a lift to Rome. ‘We arrive via the Porta San Giovanni. I feel I am dreaming – I see nannies with children playing calmly. The war seems a distant rumor. Everyone asks where we have come from. No one understands the answer that we have come from Scontrone where nine members of the family have been killed. At the Corso hotel, where the concierge knows us and tries to help, we hear another guest threatening that he will refuse to patronise the establishment again if it admits such vagabonds as ourselves.’ The Zagaris were able to exploit their wealth to deliver them from the worst privations, as most Italians could not.

People displaced from their homes and countries spent much of the war waiting: for orders or visas; for an opportunity to flee from looming peril; for permission to travel. Twenty-one-year-old English girl Rosemary Say, having escaped from German internment into the Vichy zone of France, kicked her heels for weeks in Marseilles among an unhappy community of fellow fugitives: ‘It was sad to see the waste of intellect and ability as the delays lengthened and the future for many continued to look bleak. Had he got his visa at last, had he been arrested or just scarpered into the countryside to try his luck? We waited and wondered. But if the person didn’t come back he was soon forgotten. We were only really held together by a common wish to be off and away and to begin our lives again … There was a lot of suspicion and hopelessness … Feelings ran high and quarrels were loud and violent. We all shared the worry of our uncertainty.’

Ukrainian teenager Stefan Kurylak was shipped westwards by the German occupiers to labor for an Austrian Alpine farming family, devout Catholics named Klaunzer. On first sighting the boy, Frau Klaunzer burst into tears; without knowing why, the young Ukrainian followed suit. It was explained to him that the Klaunzers’ son had been killed on the Eastern Front a few weeks before. Frau Klaunzer kept mouthing one of the few German phrases Stefan could understand: ‘Hitler no good! Hitler no good!’ Stefan was thereafter treated with kindness and humanity: he worked on the family land, not unhappily, until the end of the war, when his hosts begged him in vain to stay on as one of themselves. Few such experiences were so benign.

More than any other aspect of the war, food or lack of it emphasized the relativity of suffering. Globally, far more people suffered serious hunger, or indeed died of starvation, than in any previous conflict, including World War I, because an unprecedented range of countries became battlefields, with consequent loss of agricultural production. Even the citizens of those countries which escaped famine found their diets severely restricted.

Britain’s rationing system ensured that no one starved and the poor were better nourished than in peacetime, but few found anything to enjoy about their fare. A land girl, Joan Ibbertson, wrote: ‘Food was our obsession … In my first digs the landlady never cooked a second vegetable, except on a Sunday; we had cold meat on Monday, and sausage for the rest of the week. Sometimes she cooked potatoes with the sausage, but often she left us a slice of bread each. The two sausages on a large, cold, green glass plate greeted us on our return from a day on leeks or sprouts, and a three-mile cycle ride each way … A neighbour once brought round a sack of carrots, which he said were for the rabbits, but we benefited from this act of kindness … We had dried eggs once a week for breakfast, but the good lady in charge liked to cook it overnight, so it resembled, and tasted like, sawdust on toast. We had fishpaste on toast, too, some mornings … One Christmas we were allowed to buy a chicken. My bird was so old and tough that we could hardly chew through it.’

Any Russian or Asian peasant, or Axis captive, would have deemed carrot marmalade, a British war-time improvisation, a luxury. Kenneth Stevens was a prisoner in Singapore’s Changi jail. He wrote: ‘In this place one’s mind returns continually and dwells longingly on Food … I think of Duck and Cherry Casserole, Scrambled Eggs, Fish Scallops, Chicken Stanley, Kedgeree, Trifle, Summer Pudding, Fruit Fool, Bread & Butter Pudding – all those lovely things were made just perfectly “right” in my own home.’ Stevens died in August 1943 without ever again tasting such delicacies. Only in 1945 did his wife receive his diary from the hands of a fellow prisoner, and shared his anguished fantasizing from the brink of the grave.

The average height of French children shrank: girls by eleven centimeters and boys by seven centimeters between 1935 and 1944. Tuberculosis stimulated by malnutrition increased dramatically in occupied Europe, and by 1943 four-fifths of Belgian children were displaying symptoms of rickets. In most countries city-dwellers suffered more from hunger than country people, because they had fewer opportunities for supplementing their diet by growing their own produce. The poor lacked cash to use the black market which, in all countries, continued to feed those with means to pay.

In the matter of diet, Canada, Australia and New Zealand escaped lightly, and Americans scarcely suffered at all. Rationing was introduced to Roosevelt’s people only in 1943, and then on a generous scale. Gourmet magazine gushed tastelessly: ‘Imports of European delicacies may dwindle, but America has battalions of good food to rush to appetite’s defense.’ Meat was almost the only commodity in short supply, although Americans complained bitterly enough about that. A housewife named Catherine Renee Young wrote to her husband in May 1943: ‘I’m sick of the same thing … We hardly ever see good steak any more. And steak is the main meat that gives us strength. My Dad just came back from the store and all he could get was blood pudding and how I hate that.’ But whatever the shortcomings of wartime quality, in quantity American domestic meat consumption fell very little, even when huge shipments were exported to Britain and Russia.

Every nation with power to do so put its own people first, heedless of the consequences for others at their mercy. The Axis behaved most brutally, and with the direst consequences: Nazi policy in the east was explicitly directed towards starving subject races in order to feed Germans. The Japanese throughout their empire adopted draconian policies to provide food for their own people, which caused millions to starve in South-East Asia and China. Although the Allies were not responsible for anything like the human toll exacted by the Axis, their policies displayed a ruthless pragmatism. The United States insisted that both its people at home and its armed forces abroad should receive fantastically generous allocations of food, even when shipping space was at a premium. The British government, in its turn, imposed extreme privation on some of the peoples of its empire, to maintain the much higher standard of nourishment it deemed appropriate at home.

For Italians, hunger was a persistent reality from the moment the country became a battlefield in 1943. ‘Hunger governed all,’ Australian correspondent Alan Moorehead wrote from Italy. ‘We were witnessing the moral collapse of a people. They had no pride any more, or dignity. The animal struggle for existence governed everything. Food. That was the only thing that mattered. Food for the children. Food for yourself. Food at the cost of any debasement or depravity.’ Prostitution alone enabled some mothers to feed their families, as British Sergeant Norman Lewis witnessed in 1944. At a municipal building in the outskirts of Naples, he encountered a crowd of soldiers surrounding a group of women who were dressed in their street clothes, ‘and had the ordinary well-washed, respectable shopping and gossiping faces of working-class housewives. By the side of each woman stood a small pile of tins, and it soon became clear that it was possible to make love to any one of them in this very public place by adding another tin to the pile. The women kept absolutely still, they said nothing and their faces were as empty of expression as graven images. They might have been selling fish, except that this place lacked the excitement of a fish market. There was no solicitation, no suggestion, no enticement, not even the discreetest and most accidental display of flesh … One soldier, a little tipsy, and egged on constantly by his friends, finally put down his tin of rations at a woman’s side, unbuttoned and lowered himself onto her. A perfunctory jogging of the haunches began and came quickly to an end. A moment later he was on his feet and buttoning up again. It had been something to get over as soon as possible. He might have been submitting to field punishment rather than the act of love.’ That only a relatively small number of Italians died of starvation between 1943 and 1945 was due first to the illicit diversion of vast quantities of American rations to the black market, and thereafter to the people – much to the private enrichment of some US service personnel; and second to the political influence of Italian-Americans, which belatedly persuaded Washington of the case for averting mass starvation.

The Soviets’ plight was partially of their own making. When the Germans first invaded, Stalin ordered a scorched-earth policy rather than attempt to move foodstuffs to the east. While this policy might have defeated Napoleon in 1812, it made little difference to the Wehrmacht of 1941. Instead of slowing down the Germans, it starved Russians. At a time when the Soviet Union lost one-third of its people through death and occupation, its food resources dropped by 60 percent. Only soldiers and war-workers received adequate calories and proteins; older people, teenagers, and bureaucrats received the lowest rations. Even vodka was in short supply — a national crisis.

The mobilization of women was a critical social phenomenon of the war, most comprehensive in the Soviet Union, the US and Britain, although British historian Adam Tooze has shown that Germany also used female workers more widely than formerly supposed. The Japanese social ethos precluded the elevation of women to positions of responsibility, but they played a critical role in factories, and by 1944 provided half of Japan’s agricultural labor force. Pre-war Britain used female workers much less than the Soviet Union, but quickly conscripted them under the pressures of siege. Some thus found a fulfilment they had not known in peacetime. All female workers, however, remained severely disadvantaged by lower pay. All the combatant nations deployed women as nurses, a role many found rewarding. They also fulfilled vital administrative and support functions for Allied and Axis armed forces. They were treated with condescension by most senior officers, born into the nineteenth century.

Many girls suffered, however, when thrust into a male-dominated, shamelessly chauvinistic factory world, as was Rosemary Moonen: ‘My initiation into factory life was shattering. Being a hairdresser in a high-class salon situated in a select area of the town, I was a somewhat genteel, reserved type of girl. To be plunged abruptly into a world of coarse, ill-bred men and women, where language was foul and bluer than the bluest sky, was an experience … harsh and unreal.’ The foreman to whom Moonen was first introduced tossed her a broom contemptuously, saying: ‘Here! Take this! And sod around!’ ‘I was stung to humiliation before the rest of the girls … He returned thirty minutes later to find me sitting on a box doing nothing. Furiously he demanded “What the blankety blank I thought I was doing?” Summoning all my courage I retorted that until he had the decency to show me the job I had to do, presuming it was to help the war effort, I intended staying where I was. Somewhat taken aback he treated me to a stream of foul language, calling me some of the filthiest names imaginable. I was so angry and disgusted by this time, that I brought up my hand and slapped him hard across the cheek … He apologised grudgingly, and took me to a machine, and demonstrated the pedals, handbrakes and rollers for me to operate … At the end of that shift I went home and wept bitterly. How was I ever going to stand the atmosphere?’

Every nation sought to elevate and glamorize the role of women war workers, as a stimulus to recruitment. In America in 1942, Redd Evans and John Jacob Loeb composed a popular ditty: ‘All the day long, Whether rain or shine, She’s a part of the assembly line. She’s making history, Working for victory, Rosie the Riveter.’ The original of Rosie the Riveter, who became an American feminist icon, was twenty-two year-old Rose Will Monroe from Pulaski County, Kentucky. Like millions of Americans, she relocated to war work – in her case on the Willow Run B-24 and B-29 assembly lines at Ypsilanti, Michigan. She was made the star of a propaganda movie. It would be mistaken to romanticize the role of Rosie: the US industrial workforce remained overwhelmingly male-dominated, and the lifestyle of that early generation of working women was often wretched.

In Russia, the plight of both female military conscripts and civilians was vastly worse. Pravda correspondent Lazar Brontman recorded in his diary the desperate efforts of Moscow women to escape factory service. Those with children under eight were exempted until the summer of 1942, but thereafter this age limit was lowered to four. Women laboring in fields and factories in the absence of their menfolk suffered chronic hunger, and were often required to perform tasks beyond their physical strength. Hernias became commonplace among those who struggled daily with heavy loads, or were harnessed to the plough in lieu of dead oxen.

More than 800,000 Russian women served with Stalin’s armies. The female units of the Soviet Air Force became famous. A handful of women served as snipers at Sevastopol and Leningrad, and in 1943 large numbers of female graduates began to emerge from sniping schools. Their superior breathing control was found to promote marksmanship, and they played a useful role in the latter war years – though not, contrary to myth, at Stalingrad. Many women in uniform were ruthlessly sexually exploited. Captain Pavel Kovalenko wrote one day: ‘I went to visit the tank regiment. The unit commander had got drunk celebrating his new rank of lieutenant-colonel and was snoring away. I was struck by the spectacle of the prostrate figure curled up beside him – his “campaign wife”, as it turned out.’ ‘Campaign wives’ became a phenomenon of Russia’s war, and only a fortunate minority gained wedding rings from the experience. ‘The PPZh is our great sin,’ sighed Vasily Grossman, using the Red Army’s slang phrase for commanders’ sexual abuse of its women. Thousands were evacuated when they became pregnant, deliberately or otherwise.

The RAF employed some German-speaking women to monitor enemy voice-radio transmissions. Most enthusiastically embraced the role, though a few displayed genteel scruples. Air Vice-Marshal Edward Addison, commanding the RAF’s electronic counter-measures group, received a protest visit from a daughter of a pre-war bank manager in Hamburg, who recoiled from the demands of eavesdropping on Luftwaffe night-fighter conversation. She said she was embarrassed by the obscenities, common to aircrew of all nationalities, that echoed across the airwaves. Most women were more robust. Working alongside combat personnel, or in the various branches of civil defense, they adapted to both the disciplines and the horrors.

World War II confounded the prophets on the future of women in modern warfare. For one thing, bombs did not discriminate by gender, and the political leadership of the belligerents, however conservative they all were on women’s roles, had to admit that strategic bombing had rendered the question of special protection of women moot. Another factor was the changed attitudes of women themselves. Hardened by the struggles for political rights and socio-economic assistance from the state, women understood that wartime participation, especially in uniform and in traditionally male roles, might advance the cause of women’s rights in the post-war era. This attitude was held not only in Britain and the United States but in revolutionary Russia as well.

Female combatants also emerged as leaders and killers in the resistance movements that challenged the German occupation of Western Europe and on and behind the Eastern Front. Polish women fought and perished in the two Warsaw uprisings of 1943 and 1944, and Tito’s Communist partisans in Yugoslavia included 100,000 female soldiers, of whom 25,000 died. For Western Europe, the French Resistance offers a good example of the range of activities women played in the war of subversion against the Third Reich, roles duplicated on a smaller scale in Belgium, the Netherlands, Denmark, and Norway.

The early portion of World War II had a curiously bifurcated impact on internal affairs in the Third Reich. On the one hand, the desire of the government to avoid at all costs any repetition of the collapse at home which it believed responsible for the defeat of 1918 made the regime most reluctant to ask for too high a level of sacrifice. Similarly, there was no total mobilization of either the population or the material resources of the country. Within the realm of German industry, a high level of consumer goods production continued well into the war, so that neither industrial facilities nor raw materials were directed overwhelmingly into war production until 1942. The country was even less inclined to mobilize the labor potential of its women.

While rationing was introduced at the end of August 1939, every effort was made to keep rations high; and, partly at the expense of looting most of the rest of Europe, German rations were the highest among the European belligerents until the last months of the war.

The Third Reich continued to perform prodigious feats of munitions production well into 1944, and it too faced a dire manpower shortage; Germany ran out of trained warriors and fuels before it ran out of tanks and planes. Concurrent with this industrial effort, however, Hitler also built military fortifications in Germany on a scale unknown in Europe since the demise of the Roman Empire.

In the first year of war, in fact, the relatively high level of support payments made to dependents of men in the military had the effect of leading many women to withdraw from employment because they could do better living at home on their allowance. Of those women who were gainfully employed outside the home, farm, or family enterprise, millions were working as maids for middle and upper class households well into the war. Only from 1943 on would this picture begin to change.

While millions of men served in the armed forces, there was a high level of deferments to work in industry and in the administration. This policy did not change until early 1942 when the disastrous defeats in the East meant greater priority of the manpower needs of the armed forces over the political preferences of the government.

What was called the ‘Phony War’ did not dramatically impinge on German life quickly, and the victory over Poland was especially popular in a country where anti-Polish sentiments were very strong. At the same time, there is good evidence that the British and French declarations of war produced a shock in the thinking of many Germans: in part due to memories of World War I, in part because many had come to believe the propaganda of the regime's earlier years that Germany wanted peace, not war, with the Western Powers. The very bad weather conditions of the winter of 1939-40 accentuated a feeling of unease in Germany during the first six months of war.

Until 1943, when Stalingrad and bombing began to change everything, most German civilians except those who lost loved ones found the conflict a numbing presence rather than a trauma. ‘Is it possible that one can get used to war?’ mused Mathilde Wolff-Monckeburg, the elderly wife of an academic living in Hamburg, in 1941. ‘This question tantalises me and I am afraid of a positive reply. All that was unbearable at first, all that was impossible to fathom, has by now become somehow “settled”, and one lives from day to day in frightening apathy … We still have our comforts and warmth, we have enough to eat, we occasionally have hot water, we do not exert ourselves apart from daily shopping expeditions and small household duties.’ Like all Germans except National Socialist functionaries, who enjoyed privileges in food as everything else, she complained chiefly about the dreariness of rations: ‘One grows ever more sensitive to the emptiness inside and greed for the unobtainable becomes ever more intense,’ Wolff-Monckeburg wrote in June 1942. ‘Glowing fantasies multiply in tantalising colours when one thinks of large juicy beefsteaks, new potatoes and long asparagus with lumps of golden butter. It is all so degrading and miserable – and there are people who call this a “heroic” period.’

That feeling of unease would have been more widespread had the public known of the massive program for the killing of the elderly, the very sick, people with mental illness, and others, inaugurated in the first weeks of the war but only gradually coming to people's attention. The regime quickly found that it could count on the enthusiastic, willing, or reluctant support of thousands of doctors, nurses, administrators and other people. Secondly, in this process the regime developed the techniques for selecting categories of people out of a society for killing, carrying out the murders, and disposing of the bodies, while simultaneously acquiring a corps of individuals ready, willing, and experienced at the task of murdering others as a ‘regular job’ on a day after day after day basis. During 1940 and the first half of 1941, there was a slow but steady rise in popular unrest over this murder program, culminating in a public denunciation of it by Clemens August Count von Galen, the Bishop of Münster.

All societies harbor individuals who for any number of reasons kill another person or even act as serial killers who murder repeatedly; people who engage in killing vast numbers of other human beings as a full-time occupation have to be located and trained. Any who found this an uncongenial profession could, as we now know, ask to be transferred or reassigned with no significant risk to themselves, and a few did that. But there was never a shortage of personnel.

Appeals such as von Galen’s had an impact inside and outside the country: inside they led Hitler to defer at least part of the euthanasia program until after the war, when the noisy bishop himself could be included. The suggestion that wounded veterans of World War II would be killed by their own government as ‘useless mouths’ — something which had already happened to many disabled World War I veterans — was just too dangerous to have floating around as the campaign against the Soviet Union was getting underway. Outside Germany, the killing program had become known.

The summer of 1941, when the euthanasia program was somewhat reduced, was a time when the systematic murder of Jews was initiated, first in the newly occupied portions of the USSR and then in the rest of German-controlled Europe. The first mass deportations of Jews from Germany to places in the East where they were murdered began in October 1941. In the following years, the vast majority of those Jews who had not been able to leave pre-war Germany were deported and killed. Word soon seeped back of the mass killings in the East: Goebbels was distributing a letter from a soldier reporting on the mass killings in a propaganda collection of letters from the front.

In public, Hitler repeatedly boasted that his promise, that in a new war the Jews of Europe would be exterminated, was now being carried out. There was some unease over all this, and a few brave individuals helped a small number to hide and survive, often at great risk to themselves.

This was not only a central objective of the regime, but one of which it was inordinately proud. In 1944, even as Germany was everywhere on the defensive, it planned a big international anti-Jewish congress to be held in Krakow in German-occupied Poland to explain and commemorate the wonderful character of such activities. The congress was eventually cancelled, but the mass killing went on. By the last years of the war, this was no longer fuelled solely by the pressure from the leadership. Thousands involved in the process had acquired a vested interest in it: here was their source of promotion and rewards; and by 1944, to say nothing of 1945, killing defenseless civilians seemed to them vastly preferable to the far more dangerous alternative of serving at the front where those they faced also carried arms.

There was a somewhat similar program for the mass murder of gypsies, the Roma and Sinti, which involved the deaths of thousands but is only beginning to be investigated. Furthermore, the government was very worried that Germans might marry Poles, Hungarians, and others whom Hitler and all in charge of racial policies considered undesirable. As the government brought more and more prisoners of war and slave laborers into pre-1939 Germany, there was endless concern about German women sleeping with men of Slavic and other backgrounds whom the regime held to be racially inferior. Illegitimate children were just fine as long as both parents met the racial criteria of the Nazis, but what was considered interracial sex was severely punished.

Reference has been made to the prisoners of war and other foreign workers brought into Germany during World War II. This eventually massive program began with Polish prisoners and came to include over one million French prisoners and about one million Soviet prisoners of war. The latter, together with another million who agreed to serve as auxiliaries with the German army, constituted the survivors of over five million captured Red Army soldiers; the over three million others having been murdered or allowed to starve to death. To these must be added approximately four to five million additional forced laborers, most of them impressed or kidnapped in the Soviet Union, with smaller contingents from Poland, France, and other portions of German-occupied Europe. These forced or enslaved workers came to play a critical role in the German war economy.

In the first years of the war, the POW’s enabled the regime to refrain from mobilizing German women for factory work and to replace the men who left farms for better paying industrial jobs. From 1942 on, the massive increases in forced labor by the surviving Soviet prisoners of war and enslaved Russian and Polish civilians made it possible for the German government to draft very large additional numbers of German men into the armed services, primarily to replace casualties of the fighting on the Eastern Front.

Wretchedly housed and fed, constantly harassed and mistreated, brutally punished for real or imaginary offenses, the slave workers were omni-present in wartime Germany. Every town had its slave labor camps, every factory its proportion of slave-laborers, ranging from 20 to 80 percent of the workforce. The degrees of mistreatment were carefully calculated on so-called racial lines with the French and other Western workers discriminated against least and those from the Soviet Union most of all.

The greatest concern of the regime was always about sexual relations between foreign workers and German women, a practice met by public hangings on the one hand and a national system of brothels on the other.

The slave laborers suffered even more than German civilians, as the Allied bombing offensive destroyed many of their barracks and interrupted the flow of their already miserable food rations. During the war years, many died of mistreatment, others were killed as ‘useless mouths’ when unable to work, and the women who constituted more than half the forced laborers from the East were often subjected to forced sterilizations and abortions. In the last days of the war, thousands were shot on the slightest pretext.

The administrative chaos which had been developing in the years before the war was, if anything, accentuated during the conflict. Some superfluous agencies were dissolved; von Ribbentrop's private foreign office, for example, was abolished two years after its head became Foreign Minister of Germany. But for every agency ended, at least ten new ones sprang up, and all struggled for power and jurisdiction with each other. This confusion was characteristic not only of the military hierarchy and the civilian administration; it also extended to a project especially dear to Hitler: the transformation of Germany's urban landscape. A whole series of cities was to be completely restructured - not only Berlin but a long list of others; none were completed.

A post-war study which referred to this system as ‘authoritarian anarchy’ aptly describes the administrative chaos in which rivalry for power was stimulated by ambition and zeal to gain the favor of the Führer — and Hitler himself felt most comfortable. In this mass of rivalries he always had the last word, and, as he saw it, the most ruthless and determined made their way to the top.

Massive buildings symbolizing the capital of the world were to be erected in Berlin; smaller versions would grace other cities. Work on these projects began during the war; some of the contracts were being worked on for years, and the architectural offices were still busy on their design work in the spring of 1945. Two aspects of these projects deserve mention because of their significance for the priorities of the regime and its hopes for the future. The priorities were such that all involved in the planning could count on deferments from the draft; like those engaged in murdering Jews and participating in the endless jurisdictional quarrels which characterized the regime, those planning the future of Germany's cities had a strong vested interest in remaining at their current tasks rather than facing the dangers of the front. Secondly, all the plans for cities and towns had one common characteristic: there would be no churches in post-war Germany's urban areas.

Under the ambitious leadership of Heinrich Himmler, the SS was expanding its authority. The SS and police apparatus took over more and more functions from the courts, operated independently in the occupied territories, and built up an industrial empire originally based largely on the concentration camp system. The internal rivalries, which characterized the SS like all other aspects of the Third Reich, should not be allowed to obscure its cohesion in dealings with other segments of society. Its economic role was growing at the expense of private industry and of the economic structure which Albert Speer, with his sharp elbows and the personal support of Hitler, was steadily building up. The military force of the SS, the Waffen SS, grew steadily in spite of very heavy casualties.

The Waffen SS grew ever larger, recruiting not only in Germany itself but from people of real or imagined German ancestry all over Europe. The officers of the regular army who were sought out for the higher staff positions in the corps and army headquarters, created to command the ever increasing numbers of Waffen SS divisions, were expected to leave whichever Christian church they belonged to as the price of certain and rapid promotion. The SS, like the cities of Germany and their people, would have no religious inhibitions.

The old rivals of the SS, the brown-shirted SA and the regular Nazi Party organization, came to play significant roles in wartime Germany in two opposite ways. On the one hand, they were utilized to assist in the mobilization of the public. In this process, the party, like the SS, grew more influential in the last year of war. Under the vigorous leadership of Martin Bormann, the central offices of the party gained vastly greater power. On the other hand, there is good evidence that the party organization became something of a lightning rod for whatever discontent and dissatisfaction existed in the country.

Most Germans fell easily into the habit of separating their Führer from the party he led, imagining that all would be well if only he knew about whatever they objected to, and they developed an increasingly negative attitude toward the party's officials.

One party formation was not affected by the developing alienation from the Nazi Party in the latter years of the war. The increasing devastation caused by Allied bombing made the population more dependent on the relief agencies of the government, and of these the National Socialist Welfare Organization (NSV) was by far the most important. Bombed out urban families turned to the welfare organization for help, and if they were occasionally disconcerted by the blood and bullet holes which marked some of the clothing distributed to them, they were grateful all the same.

During the war, the NSV took ever more responsibilities while the expenses of the organization continued to rise. After the war the Nazi Party was outlawed in Germany as part of a country-wide denazification program. As such, any organization linked to the party was disbanded, including the NSV.

The public supported the German war effort with a high degree of coherence. There was some apprehension in the first winter of war followed by jubilation in 1940 and increasing apprehension about the length of the war in 1941 and thereafter. The propaganda machinery helped sustain public morale in the face of growing troubles and unease. The bombing at first caused morale to drop, but after a while appeared to cause more apathy than anything else. People concentrated on survival and the most immediate concerns. In the last two years of war, hope for the effects of new weapons provided some solace, but fear of defeat was ever present.

The dismissals of a series of famous military leaders in the winter of 1941 and the almost simultaneous drive to collect winter clothing and equipment for the troops caused disquiet on the home front, but the Soviet victory at Stalingrad, followed soon after by the surrender in North Africa, had an even greater impact in the country.

Anxiety about relatives at the front and the next air raid at home dominated people's thinking to the exclusion of most other topics. There was resentment at what looked to many like an unequal sharing of burdens by the wealthier segment of the population.

Fear of defeat on the Eastern Front and a Russian invasion, fear of the peace which might be imposed on Germany, fear of punishment for past crimes, fear of denunciation to the police for defeatism with its drastic penalties, fear of a future which no one could visualize; these were only some of the characteristics which dominated the thoughts and feelings of many. As a bitter joke put it: ‘Better enjoy the war; the peace will be terrible.’

Already before the war, there were some who had their doubts about the National Socialist system; and although the war not surprisingly brought a cohesiveness to a country with which its citizens identified, there continued to be important elements which were highly critical of the system. In many cases their criticism was further stimulated by what they saw and heard of atrocities carried out in the occupied territories as well as at home.Though some became opponents of the regime as it was obviously on the way to defeat, it would be grossly unfair to disregard the fact that many turned against it in the years of apparent triumph.

The opponents could see that the vast majority of their fellow citizens supported the government. This meant, in practice, that only a coup from the inside could topple the government. Isolated acts of public resistance to such policies as the deportation of the sick to killing centers in Germany, or the deportation of Jewish partners of mixed marriages, might slow or even halt such specific actions. There was, however, no massive public opposition to the regime of the sort that toppled the East European Communist governments in 1989.

If the mass support for the regime made a coup very difficult, the precautions taken by the regime added to the problems faced by those opposed to it. They came to realize that only by killing Hitler could they disrupt the system, seize power, and explain to the public their reasons for such a step against their own government in the middle of a war. But killing Hitler was not a simple matter; he was increasingly careful, surrounded by loyal military and civilian guards and associates, very sensitive to the personal loyalty to himself of those he met, and very lucky.

Several projects for killing Hitler failed; that of 20 July 1944 was the most likely to succeed because it had been prepared with some care and included provision for a procedure to take over power in Germany and the occupied territories she still held at that time. By a narrow margin, the bomb itself went off but did not kill Hitler. Most of those in positions of any significance who had been opposed to the regime were uncovered as a result of this attempted coup and killed; some committed suicide lest they reveal too much when tortured; a tiny number survived.

It is an indication of the overwhelming support Hitler still had that as the orders from the conspirators in Berlin and those from his headquarters in East Prussia landed on the desks of military commanders in German-controlled Europe, all but a brave few sided with him in this, the last ‘election’ of the Third Reich.

The failure of the 20 July attempt worked to strengthen the hold of the Nazis on what was left of their empire. Their opponents had come into the open and been crushed. The National Socialist revolution, a process as much as an event, now moved forward more rapidly and more ruthlessly. The SS gained vast additional powers as Himmler consolidated his hold on Germany's various intelligence services and took over the Replacement Army from the military. The Nazi Party increased its power by gaining a major role in the new Volkssturm or people's army, the last great mobilization of manpower.

The population, combining fear and apathy with devotion and hope, continued to support the regime up until the final days of the war. Only as Allied troops appeared in Germany itself did substantial numbers turn their backs on the system. As the last illusions disappeared, relief over the end of bombing and fighting mingled with fear of the Russians and the future, anxiety over food and the fate of loved ones, but above all the daily struggle for survival. As for the National Socialist Party, even before its leaders fled, committed suicide, or were arrested, it fast lost the hold it had once held on the faith of millions.

In January 1942 Hitler had said that if the German people would not fight, they might as well disappear. But it was not the German people who disappeared. It was the Nazi Party which evaporated from the scene once Hitler was dead, about as rapidly as the Fascist Party in Italy had vanished in July 1943.

Generally speaking, Italy's population entered the war with an attitude similar to that felt by the countries invaded by the Axis. They had not wanted to enter the conflict, might be pleased by the appearance of quick triumph followed by an even quicker end to the war in 1940, but were basically as a people in a position worse than any other. Mussolini and a minute number of others were enthusiastic about attacking France, Greece, and Yugoslavia, but finding anyone in the country who genuinely believed Italy's future would be served by sending thousands of soldiers to fight on the southern part of the Eastern Front against the Soviet Union, or by Italy's declaration of war on the United States, would have been a difficult task.

The Poles and Norwegians, the British and French, the Belgians and Dutch, the Greeks and Yugoslavs, the Russians and Americans, to say nothing of the Chinese, would all have greatly preferred not to be drawn into war or attacked at all, but as long as they had been, at least most of them believed they were on the right side and fighting alongside the right allies. For most Italians it was the other way around: they disliked — if they did not hate — the Germans and generally would have been more comfortable fighting alongside their ‘enemies’ if they had to fight at all.

No analysis of Italy's role and her home front in World War II can overlook the basic fact that, in the eyes of much of the population, Italy's entry into the war was a bad idea, and the country had picked the wrong side. There remained residual resentment at the way the Allies had treated Italy at the end of World War I, and there was additional resentment over what looked to some like British blocking of Italian aspirations in the Mediterranean; but these grievances did not translate into a desire for war. Such bizarre episodes as the abortive project to sell the Italian navy to Great Britain in the winter of 1940-41 can be understood only in the context of a society which found itself on the wrong side of a war.

As that war went from a short time of early success for Germany to a string of defeats for Italy, popular attitudes and morale fell. The German rescue operation in early 1941 may have saved the regime at home as it saved the remnants of Italy's empire in North Africa and Albania, but it did nothing for the regime's reputation. Occupation zones in France, Yugoslavia and Greece, allotted to Italy by the Germans, brought troubles rather than advantages. The Italian zones in all three countries produced endless friction with the Germans over the reluctance of the Italian occupation authorities to hand over the Jews there to be murdered.

Most Italian officers simply could not comprehend the German insistence on killing Jews and saw it as merely one more indication of their ally's barbaric inclinations. When the Italian zone in occupied France became a refuge for Jews fleeing from the German occupation of Vichy France in November 1942, the conflict escalated. In occupied Yugoslavia, there was additional controversy with the Germans about the Italian policy of aiding the Chetniks, while in Greece there were disputes about responsibility and remedies for the run-away inflation and misery in that country.

In all these areas, the 1943 surrender of Italy followed by German occupation would bring death to the Jews and increased misery to everyone else, but in the preceding years, the symbols of Italy's share in Axis victories, which the occupation zones represented, had provided no glories to off-set the dissatisfaction with war on the Italian home front.

The privations of war thus came to a society that saw little purpose to the sacrifices being imposed on it; the air raids, though small at first, significantly affected morale; and the casualties had a double sting. One of Mussolini's favorite devices for running the country, the periodic replacement of incompetent ministers and Fascist Party officials by others who were usually even less qualified, hollowed out the Fascist Party in the very years when it was most needed if the country were to be held together in the war. The astonishing thing under these circumstances is not that the Italian people failed to live up to the martial standard which Mussolini set for them but that the home front held together as long as it did.

When the icy winter of 1944 came, disease, lack of fuel and food shortages imposed a bitter toll on civilians, especially children. Many people who had lost their homes by bombardment or expulsion were reduced to a primitive mountain existence.

Shortly after the successful Allied landing on Sicily, the actions of dissidents among the leaders of the Fascist Party coincided with the plotting of a group of court officials and military men around the King. The 25 July 1943 vote in the Fascist Grand Council precipitated not only the resignation and arrest of Mussolini, but the swift collapse of the Fascist Party and system in Italy. In a few hours, it turned out that whatever earlier gains Fascism might have made among the population, there was practically nothing left of it after three years of war.

Three essentially simultaneous disasters: the loss of the last portion of Italy's North African empire, acquired by the parliamentary Italy of the pre-Fascist era; the disastrous losses of early 1943 of the Italian forces on the Eastern Front and in Tunisia; and the stepped up bombing of Italy by Allied planes from North African bases, provided the final push.

The southern portion of Italy was occupied by the Allies who slowly fought their way up the peninsula. The central and northern part was occupied by the Germans who also quickly seized Albania and the Italian islands on the Aegean as well as the Italian occupation zones in France, Yugoslavia and Greece. In the portion of Italy which remained under German control, the latter exercised effective authority. They ran the area as an occupied territory and, now free to act as they wished, did what they could to round up Jews for deportation to death camps. In this they were aided by some old Fascists who had long wanted to emulate the Germans in this regard, but were hindered by other Italians who hid or in other ways protected their fellow citizens.

Murdering Jews, shooting civilians, and deporting captured Italian soldiers to slave labor were not the only Nazi measures certain to alienate the Italian population. Now that the Germans could do whatever they wanted, they took the first steps toward annexing huge portions of northern Italy. Not only the South Tyrol but most of northeast Italy, including the ports of Trieste and Fiume, were designated as ‘Operational Zones’ and placed under complete German control. The new rulers began the process of annexation to Germany in many fields; and since the overwhelming majority of the population was Italian, this contributed to ever greater resistance not only there but in the rest of German-controlled Italy.

The Duce was rescued from Italian captivity by a German airborne operation and installed in northern Italy. There he attempted to establish a new Fascist regime under German auspices. They tried hard to raise a new army to fight alongside their Axis partner, and to court public support by a variety of semi-socialist measures. This shadow system, officially called the Italian Social Republic, and often referred to as the Republic of Salò, may have been a reflection of Mussolini's dreams of earlier years, but it was too obviously a client of the hated Germans; and the Duce himself was no longer the rousing speaker of earlier days.

Among squabbling would-be born-again Fascist leaders, Mussolini had a few of those who had voted against him in the Fascist Grand Council shot — including his son-in-law Count Ciano — but otherwise could rouse himself from a lethargic somnolence only for his mistress.

As the German hold on the area behind the front line collapsed, the partisans there not only seized control of ever greater territory, but also caught Mussolini and his mistress and shot both of them. These partisans were a portion of a large resistance movement which blossomed in the part of Italy which remained under German control after the front line stabilized between Rome and Naples in the late fall of 1943.

The resistance as a whole came to constitute a major menace to the Germans and a point of reference for post-war Italy. It was made up of two parts: the urban resistance drawing especially from the factory workers of northern Italian cities, and parts of the rural population based in the villages, who were sometimes protected by the mountains.

In opposition to German occupiers and their Italian stooges, there grew up a coalition of a broad range of people, from Communists through Catholic political leaders to conservative nationalists, who learned to work together and respect each other, at least for a while. These groups worked effectively with secret emissaries from the Allies and paved the way, first for cooperation and eventually for the restoration of Italian self-government. Thus, a major portion of the recovery of Italian self-confidence and revival in the years after 1945 can in fact be attributed to the fact that the extremes of disaster in war were accompanied in their final stage by a second national revival in the resistance.

At least a minimum of cooperation between the various elements of the resistance in the north was made possible not only by their common enmity to the Germans and to Fascism, but also by the temporary restraint which appears to have been urged on Italy's Communist Party by the Soviet Union. This also facilitated their working after a fashion with the government of King Victor Emmanuel and General Pietro Badoglio in the south. There the British and Americans sponsored the reestablishment of the regime which had ignominiously fled from Rome.

As the Allied troops drove north in 1944 and 1945, the liberated areas came under the control of the restructured Italian government. The resistance formations were disarmed, and new political parties came to the fore. The Communist Party came to inherit a large part of the working class and many former Fascists. On the other hand, as a successor of the ‘Popular’ Party of the pre-Fascist era, the Christian Democrats became the mass party of the center and moderate right. They played a major role in the resistance; and the new moderate left government of the resistance hero Ferruccio Parri which began in June 1945 was succeeded by the first of a long series of Cabinets led by a Christian Democrat. After the war, the Italian monarchy was abolished by a popular plebiscit.

The most obvious disadvantage under which the government labored in its efforts to reestablish a semblance of Italian sovereignty and self respect under the shield of Allied military power was that it steadily inherited precisely those portions of the country which had been most ravaged by the fighting as the Allies pushed north. The disruption and suffering caused for Italians by the advance of battle could be and was alleviated somewhat by the relief efforts of the Allied military government.

The internal difficulties were partially resolved by a promise to hold a plebiscite on the monarchy after Italy was completely liberated — and which produced a majority for ending the monarchy — and by the increasing inclusion of new elements in the government. Even Churchill's firing of the chief British representative, General Mason-Macfarlane, the former governor of Gibraltar, for siding too closely with the wrong Italian party leaders, could not halt the drift toward a truly new system in the country after the liberation of Rome.

The discredited men around Badoglio and the King were under pressure to open the government to representatives of anti-Fascist parties. In the struggles which followed, the British and Americans increasingly took opposite sides. The British, with Churchill's personal and constant pressure, feared that new elements would bring about an end to the Italian monarchy while the Americans were uninterested in the fate of the monarchy but wanted more liberal elements included in the government.

Liberation not only brought changes in the Italian government; it also changed the situation of the Vatican which had operated under Axis pressure until this point. The Allies had been unhappy about the Pope's silence on Nazi atrocities and his welcoming of a Japanese embassy. Pius XII, who had not been unduly worried by the actions of German occupation forces in Europe, now asked that black soldiers not be included among the Allied units stationed in Rome. The Allied commanders had other worries.

The exhilaration of standing alone in the face of a dictator who had overrun Western Europe after all British efforts to avoid war altogether had failed cemented a temporary political alliance of all political parties, except for the Communists, behind a coalition government led and inspired by Winston Churchill. Subsequent years brought new allies but also, especially in the spring and last month of 1941 and the first half of 1942, a series of setbacks and defeats.

Disaster in Greece and on the island of Crete, together with the total collapse of Britain's position in East Asia, followed soon after by stunning defeats in North Africa and accompanied by steady losses at sea — with a humiliating dash of three major German warships the whole length of the English Channel — came closer to upsetting the Churchill government than many realized at the time.

The home front in the United Kingdom, was affected by the war in innumerable ways. The direct impact of bombing was dramatic in 1940 and 1941; it resumed in the ‘Baby Blitz’ of the early months of 1944; and then began again in June 1944 with the German V-1 and V-2 weapons which in many ways had a morale effect out of all proportion to their actual destructiveness. This impact on British morale was related to the very length of the conflict and the disappointing reality that early victory had not followed upon the successful defiance of the German onslaught of 1940.

As the tide began to turn in ways visible to ordinary Englishmen, with the victory at El Alamein and the landing in Northwest Africa, there was a sense of relief; but the very length of the road to victory, coming after long years of sacrifice and defeats, made for a brittle home front. It was in this context that the enormous concern over the impact of the new German weapons launched against English cities in 1944 and 1945 must be seen. The drop in morale affected most of the population and led to serious consideration of the use of poison gas in retaliation.

The British endured six years of austerity and spasmodic bombardment. The night blackout promoted moral as well as physical gloom. Yet the circumstances of Churchill’s islands were much preferable to those of Continental societies, where hunger and violence were endemic. Like North America, Britain was shielded by expanses of sea, relative personal freedom and wealth. Privileged Britons remained privileged indeed: ‘The extraordinary thing about the war was that people who really didn’t want to be involved in it were not,’ the novelist Anthony Powell wrote afterwards. This was true, within a limited social milieu.

The week before D-Day, as 250,000 young American and British soldiers made final preparations for hurling themselves at Hitler’s Atlantic Wall, Evelyn Waugh wrote in his diary in London: ‘Woke half drunk and had a long, busy morning – getting my hair cut, trying to verify quotations in the London Library, which is still in disorder from its bomb, visiting Nancy [Mitford, at her bookshop]. At luncheon I again got drunk. Went to the Beefsteak [Club], which I have just joined … Back to White’s [Club] – more port. Went to Waterloo in an alcoholic stupor, got the train to Exeter and slept most of the way.’ Waugh was untypical; many of the friends with whom he caroused were on leave from active service, and several were dead a year later. The German V weapon assault was about to commence, inflicting fresh death and destruction on war-weary Britons.

Lancashire housewife Nella Last reflected in October 1942 that her war had thus far inflicted little hardship or suffering, ‘in comparison to three-quarters of Stalingrad being demolished during the first bombardment. We have had food, shelter and warmth when millions have had none – what will be the price we will have to pay? – we cannot expect to go on “escaping”, there is no escape for any of us. I saw a neighbour’s baby today and I felt a sudden understanding for those who “refuse to bring babies into the world now”. All this talk of “new worlds” and “after the war”, no talk of the suffering, the anguish, before all this is over.’ Mrs Last was unusually sensitive; most of her compatriots were too preoccupied by their own present troubles to concern themselves with the larger but remote miseries of others.

Housewife Phyllis Crook wrote to her thirty-two year-old husband serving in North Africa: ‘Christmas is going to be a beastly time and I’m hating the thought of it. However it’s got to be got on with “as usual” and I have been busy trying hard to get things for all the kids of our acquaintance. It would be so easy to say “I can’t get anything” and leave it at that. It is so cold … How I wish I could retire for the winter instead of constantly shivering. Chris [their small son] asked God to make you a good boy tonight! Well my love news seems very scarce and I must say goodnight. Life seems too mouldy for words. I wonder when we shall see you again. It all seems horribly far away and doesn’t bear too much thinking about. Look after yourself, my dear and don’t go going into any danger, as Daddy would say! All my love always, dearest Phil. PS Joyce is now working in a factory 11 hours a day. John Young has had malaria.’ Mrs Crook’s woes would seem trivial, her self-pity contemptible, to many people of war-ravaged nations. Her own life and those of her children were not in danger, and they were not even hungry. But separation from her husband, being obliged to occupy lodgings far from her east London home, and the drab monotony of wartime existence seemed to her, as to many others, sufficient causes for unhappiness. Ten days after writing that letter she became a widow, when her husband was killed in action.

Countless families struggled to come to terms with loss. Sheffield housewife Edie Rutherford was just preparing tea when her young neighbor, the wife of an RAF pilot, knocked on the door. ‘Her face was wooden and she jerked out: “Mrs Rutherford, Henry is missing,” thrust the telegram into my hand. Of course I just opened my arms and took her in and let her have a good weep the while I cursed audibly this blasted war. “He isn’t dead. I’m sure he isn’t dead. He was home only last Wednesday. He’s alive somewhere and worrying because he knows I’ll get this telegram to upset me” … It is difficult to know what to say to a wife in such trouble. I did my best, poor lass. Felt myself as if my inside had fallen out. I wish to goodness this war would end.’

In the background of all British life was the high level of mobilization. Out of a total work force of about 22 million in 1944-45, five million were serving in the armed forces; almost a third of the men from 14 to 64 were in uniform. With most workers who were not in military service involved in war production of some sort, with tight rationing in effect for years, and with very high levels of taxation, life became and remained dreary and difficult for most. Even at this extremely high level of manpower, aided by industrial and financial mobilization, the country could carry on the war only because of massive assistance from the United States and large lending by the Dominions and India.

The military and merchant marine casualties of about 800,000 were very much lower than those of World War I; but their impact was very great all the same, not only because the numbers were still very high indeed, but because the memory of the enormous casualties of the preceding conflict weighed heavily on a country now also suffering over 33,000 civilian deaths from bombing attacks.

Even with British factories producing vast quantities of equipment and munitions, the armies Britain put into the field depended heavily on supplies from others; for example, by 1942 more than half and in 1943 two-thirds of the tanks turned over to the British army came from overseas. While Great Britain, in turn, sent a substantial volume of supplies to the Soviet Union, assisted the building up of the armed forces of the Commonwealth, and provided what was called ‘reverse Lend-Lease’ to the United States, the basic balance was the other way and reversed the old pattern in which during coalition wars Britain had helped finance her allies. Now only the aid of her allies enabled the country to continue in the war.

As the tide of war changed visibly in favor of the Allies, both government and people turned increasingly to consideration of the post-war world. The last general election, that of 1935, receded into an ever more distant past; there would have to be one when the war ended, and that idea by itself pointed both to the future and to the last post-war period. Then, there had been the hope for a new England, a ‘land fit for heroes’ as the slogan had put it. But those hopes had been disappointed. The country eventually made a better economic recovery from the depression of the 1930s, but many ordinary people did not see it that way. The nation's leaders looked cold and hard to them, and it was this image that hovered over the future.

Churchill paid very little attention to domestic affairs during the war — other than pushing for more production of military supplies, ship construction and repairs, and other war-related activities. He did, however, push for some post-war planning beyond schemes for demobilization. Of the plans that were made, certainly the most famous was the proposal of William Beveridge for reorganizing the bits and pieces of earlier welfare state legislation into a comprehensive system of social insurance, often referred to as ‘cradle to grave’. Something of a milestone in British history, the report became the subject of much public discussion.

Although Churchill had become the focus of popular attention in the great crisis of 1940 and was increasingly identified with Britain's role as a member of a victorious alliance, it was only in that role that many people saw him. When the coalition government dissolved in the acid of renewed party strife as the end of war in Europe came near, a caretaker government replaced it. The elections which followed produced a landslide for the Labour Party, and Britain would take part in the final stage of World War II and enter the post-war world under a new government. Clement Atlee became the new Prime Minister.

If Churchill was seen as a leader in war, but not in peace, that was in part his own doing. That was where his own interests were focused, and he could hardly complain if others took him at his word. Thus, in June 1943 he had stipulated that, in addition to his role as Minister of Defence, he would personally deal with important army and air force business whenever the Secretaries of State for War and Air were away.

The Labour Party’s leaders had acquired vast experience in the affairs of state in the preceding five years; they would direct Britain's affairs into new channels both at home and in its relations with its colonial empire.

Canada, the largest of the Dominions, played a significant role in the war on land, at sea, and in the air. On land, she contributed major troop contingents, primarily in the European theater. At sea, her forces played a key role in the Battle of the Atlantic. In the air, Canada not only built up a substantial air force of her own but provided the training arrangements for thousands of air crew members for the Royal Air Force. In the process, the country changed internally as well. The economy was greatly stimulated by the massive investment in new factories and means of transportation and communication.

Although questions were at times raised about the role of United States personnel and institutions in such projects as the construction of the Alaska Highway, the result of it all was that the facilities built were in Canada and under Canadian control when the war was over. Whatever the frictions of wartime, no one in Washington thought of Canada as anything other than an ally.

The most difficult internal problem of the country, that of relations between its English and its French speaking inhabitants, was dealt with by Prime Minister Mackenzie King with extreme care. He could no more avoid some difficulties in this field than his World War I predecessors, but it was clearly a subject very much on his mind. If Canada did not emerge from the war more united, it certainly did not come out bitterly divided.

Perhaps the most important change was a far greater sense of national independence; a self-perception which called for a more independent foreign policy in the future with a more elaborate foreign service of its own. A sentimental tie to England — or France — might remain, but it was only one element of a self-confident independent actor on the world scene.

In both Australia and New Zealand, the war had somewhat similar repercussions. Both felt deserted by the home country in their hour of greatest danger; both looked more to the United States for their defense in the face of any future threat. In the meantime, the war had placed very heavy burdens on the two Dominions. The mobilization of manpower interfered with economic development, especially in Australia; but in other ways, the war also hastened the process of building up home industries while the former trading ties with England were largely suspended.

Like Canada, Australia in particular would benefit from the disruption that war caused in Europe by receiving the post-war immigration of many thousands uprooted during the great upheaval.

The Union of South Africa, as it was then called, provided important raw materials as well as troops to the Allied cause, but the initial division about entering the war had continuing implications for the Union. The extreme Afrikaaner nationalists sympathized with Nazi Germany and hoped for a compromise peace, if not a German victory. At the same time as soldiers from South Africa helped to defeat the advocates of extreme racism in the fighting, the supporters of similar views grew in strength among the white population in the Union. They would win the election of 1948 and set the country on a new course which imitated that of the oppressors whom South African troops had helped defeat in 1945.

In 1948, South Africa introduced a system of racial segregation and discrimination known as apartheid. This system lasted until the early 1990s.

In all of Britain's colonial possessions, the war stirred nationalist sentiments. The defeat of the attempted Japanese invasion of India in 1944 in no way silenced the continued agitation for change. The force of this agitation was dramatically enhanced by a horrendous famine. Caused by the disruption of trade, shipping shortages, and the extraordinary incompetence of the British administration, the 1943 famine in Bengal cost about 1.5 million lives and in a way destroyed whatever legitimacy British rule might have had in the eyes of the survivors. The demands for Indian independence would be met under Clement Attlee.

The contrast between Churchill and the Labour opposition was most dramatic. As Lord Halifax, whose willingness to deal with Gandhi had once aroused Churchill's ire, wrote in July 1940, the Prime Minister's reluctance on according Dominion status to India was ‘not a matter of argument but instinct, which, in turn, is affected a good deal by his own past on the subject…’ Churchill had once served on the Simon Commission, which developed the new home-rule procedures for India which he had fought all during the 1930s. Partition, accompanied by terribly bloody communal rioting, would divide the Indian sub-continent into separate states, but the turn-of-the-century world in which Churchill in some ways still lived was not coming back.

The United States was transformed by World War II in various ways, some of which were recognized at the time, but others only came under scrutiny decades later. Whatever the confusions attending the beginnings of military and economic mobilization, there was a rapid and drastic economic expansion which quickly absorbed the remaining unemployed workers and unused factories still left idle by the depression. Massive government investments added enormously to the nation's industrial plant. Some existing plant capacity was converted from peacetime functions to war production, but much of the vast industrial system was new.

Some of the installations, such as the Maritime Commission's shipyards, the synthetic rubber factories, and the complex of works for the production of atomic materials and weapons, were built directly with government funds. The vast majority were, however, constructed by private contractors operating for industries which had been awarded huge contracts for the delivery of everything from airplanes to combat boots.

Many of the expanded and new plants were in the old industrial centers of the American East and Middle West, but a substantial number were placed in new locations in California, the Northwest, and parts of the South. Their placement, followed by a massive influx of new workers and their families, dramatically altered not merely the immediately affected cities but the whole economic and demographic pattern of the United States.

An important factor in the selection of Arizona and Texas for training of air crews was the weather; this also influenced the War Department's decision to place many of the army training camps in the southeast where it was far easier to carry out basic training procedures on a year-round basis. The effort to create and arm huge military forces as speedily as possible changed the country in ways that remained, even after the new plants and training centers had served their original purpose.

In some ways the war effort also made a beginning in social changes. The political energies of the New Deal had been largely spent by the time the 1938 elections brought conservative victories, and the coalition of conservative Republicans and Southern Democrats controlled Congress during the war. Public attention was in any case increasingly diverted from domestic to foreign affairs. Nevertheless, some changes in American society did take place, or at least began, which would greatly alter the country in later years.

For the United States, wartime manufacturing rebuilt a heavy industry sector badly damaged by the Depression; most indices of capital investment and plant expansion showed increases double and triple pre-war levels. So vast was American war production that the United States not only armed itself but also shared its output with the other Allies — thus reversing its role from World War I, when the United States had fought with British and French weapons.

In a negative way, the anxiety over the war with Japan led to the forced evacuation of Japanese and Americans of Japanese descent from California and the western portions of Washington, Oregon, and Arizona. Deprived of their rights and their property, these victims of fears aroused by Japanese actions, war hysteria and racial prejudice were herded into camps, called ‘relocation centers’, from which they were not released until late in the war.

One unanticipated by-product of this policy was to be a far more even distribution of Japanese-Americans across the United States where, in the post-war years, their educational and professional advances would create one of the great success stories of the American scene.

The preconceptions of the American public also hindered the full utilization of women in the war effort. Millions were drawn into industrial and other work related to the war, if only by replacing men in the service, but there were real limits on the levels to which they could rise. The American military was even slower to accept women. In the face of ever more obvious shortages of men, and pressure from patriotic women who wished to serve, the armed forces slowly and reluctantly relented.

Under prodding from Chief of Staff Marshall, the army took the lead; and by the end of hostilities, hundreds of thousands of women had volunteered to serve in the army, air force, navy, and marines. Their experience helped to form the basis for subsequent changes in American society.

Many American women were dazzled by the allure of a man in uniform and married men in the military. Dellie Hahne was one of many who married the wrong man amid the stress and emotional extravagance of the time, and repented at leisure during the years that followed. ‘He was a soldier. He could not be anything but a marvelous, magnificent human being,’ she said, with the ruefulness of one who learned better. She came to pity others who experienced domestic miseries: ‘Pregnant women who could barely balance in a rocking train, going to see their husbands for the last time before the guys were sent overseas. Women coming back from seeing their husbands, traveling with small children. Trying to feed their kids, diaper their kids. I felt sorriest for them. It suddenly occurred to me that this wasn’t half as much fun as I’d been told it was going to be. I just thanked God I had no kids.’

In President Roosevelt's thinking, the most important element of post-war planning was to ensure public support for a wider, more active role to be played by the US in international affairs, including participation in a world organization. Influenced by the disasters which had overtaken the Wilson administration in the 1918 and 1920 elections and which had turned the country in directions that Roosevelt, together with increasing numbers of Americans, believed had contributed to the outbreak of another world war, the President was determined to do things differently.

Symbolized by the holding of both the preparatory conference and the founding conference of the United Nations Organization in the United States, these efforts were to be a double success: the organization was formed with United States participation, and the American people would be willing to support a major role for their country in international affairs after the war.

By the time Japan attacked Britain, the Netherlands, and the United States, the country had been at war continuously for almost four years. The conflict with China, which Japan had begun in July 1937, had already absorbed enormous resources. Whatever could be saved in the periods when a quiet stalemate replaced bursts of heavy fighting had been expended in bouts of border fighting with the Soviet Union in 1938 and 1939, both of which Japan lost. The country which expanded the war in December 1941 was, therefore, one which had already placed its people and its economy under severe strains. The enormous and quick victories exhilarated the home front, silenced the doubters, and made the leaders dizzy with success. Nothing seemed impossible.

The internal restructuring which Prime Minister Konoe Fumimaro initiated in the summer of 1940 in practice made only slight progress; the same bureaucracy which had blunted the efforts at government by political parties restrained the attempt to establish a mobilizing dictatorship.

After Japan’s initial victories, extravagant plans were elaborated for a huge Pacific empire which would include not only the Southeast Asian and South Pacific areas already conquered, but also Alaska, the western provinces of Canada, the northwestern United States, and substantial portions of Central and South America.

At home, the setbacks of the summer of 1942 were concealed from the public and even from many in the government. The continued successes in Burma obscured the checks Japan's forces were encountering in New Guinea and the Solomons in the second half of 1942. Although the Tokyo raid of April 1942 had been a shock, it was only the public admission of defeat in the Aleutians in May 1943 that began to show the Japanese people that all was not going well. At home, the regime operated relatively leniently. In the newly conquered empire, however, the story was very different. Japanese policy in the occupied territories looked in the first place to the elimination of any and all European influence: only Japan was to draw on the resources and to control the future of the expanded empire.

After bitter debate inside the government, a special ministry, the Greater East Asia Ministry, was established to exclude the Foreign Ministry, which was seen as too traditional, from the process of directing an enlarged empire in collaboration with the military. This step itself showed that the periodic announcements from Tokyo, that the peoples of Asia were to be liberated and allowed to determine their own fate, were a sham and were so intended. The new ministry in practice had little to do because the military ran the new empire to suit itself.

Unlike the people of China, Poland, Britain, and Germany, which sustained heavy bombing early in the war, this was not the case for the Japanese. The air raids of 1943 and 1944 were small and had a minimal impact on the population as a whole. Far more significant in their effects on the daily lives of the Japanese were the lengthening casualty lists from the fronts, the ever greater stringency of rationing and shortages, and the sense of worry about a war that by 1944 had been going on for seven years with no end in sight. But unlike in Germany, Italy and their satellites, there was little resistance to official policy in Japan. It was the stepping up of the bombing in early 1945 which brought devastation to the cities of Japan.

More vulnerable than many European cities because of the heavy reliance on wood supports and rice-paper partitions, huge areas of one city after another burned out in great fire raids. The American capture of bases closer to Japan, first on Iwo Jima and later on Okinawa, facilitated an intensification of the air assault. This assault came to include carrier-based American and British planes in ever larger numbers in the spring and summer of 1945; and, to the consternation of the people in coastal cities, this was supplemented by shelling from American and British warships sailing along the coast in broad daylight.

The last part of the war in some ways compressed into six months the destruction from the air visited on Germany in three and a half years; and while Japan was not devastated by ground fighting as Germany was in the last six months of the war in Europe, the devastation by fire of her cities was immense.

For the people of Japan the war, especially in its final stages, would prove a horrendous ordeal; having sowed the wind, they now reaped a whirlwind. In a way, it was this destruction of the old physical order of the country which prepared the way for the remaking of its political, economic, and social order afterwards. Two and a half million Japanese had died or disappeared in the war, three-fifths of them from the army, and the country had to find room for seven million people repatriated from the former empire. A hard road lay ahead.

In China, as in Japan, war had been a fact of life and death since 1937. By December 1941, very large portions of the country were under Japanese occupation, and these included the most important industrial areas, ports, and major urban centers. In the countryside of the area under nominal Japanese control, Communist guerillas drew increasing support from the peasantry. In unoccupied China, inflation added to the other woes of a torn country. The central government had only the most tenuous hold on the provinces, in which local military leaders starved their own troops, generally avoided fighting the Japanese, and exploited the peasantry. The regime of Chiang Kai-shek was both corrupt and ineffective, expecting the other enemies of Japan, especially the United States, to defeat China's enemy.

At the front, the ‘Hundred Regiments Campaign’ of August 1940, which had hurt the Japanese but had also seriously damaged the Communist forces, had taught the Communist Party the lesson that a frontal war with Japan was not in the party's interest. In line with earlier views of Mao Tse-tung, they would concentrate thereafter on minor guerilla actions against Japan while preparing for a post-war showdown with the Nationalists.

Both the Japanese hopes and the American fears that China would withdraw from the war were unrealistic. Chiang realized who would most likely win, and he could expect to control the future of China only in alignment with the winners, not the losers, of the war.

The Japanese offensive of 1944 in China struck at Nationalist forces which were simply no longer ready to fight. They fled or surrendered, and the Japanese army captured a number of the newly built American air bases, thus further depleting China of its resources. Until the very end of the war, Nationalist control was limited to the interior of China and was tenuous even there. Only a portion of the area lost in 1944 was recovered in the first half of 1945. When Japan surrendered, therefore, Chiang's international position was secure, but his domestic power was fragile.

In the international area, the Nationalist government was one of the victors. Its representatives spoke for a state considered one of the great powers, holding by virtue of that status one of the permanent seats on the Security Council of the new United Nations Organization. But many of the Japanese weapons, especially in the northeastern part of the country, fell into the hands of Mao's Communist armies, and even in the cities now garrisoned by the Nationalists, there was little enthusiasm for a regime which had been gone for years. As China drifted into open civil war, the regime of Chiang Kai-shek was by no means as secure as it looked, and its huge forces would melt away quickly in the heat of battle.

For the Soviet Union, the ordeal of war was in many ways even worse than for China. In the occupied areas, German policies and practices were in general more severe than those followed by Japan. The fact that the Red Army drove the Germans out in prolonged and bitter fighting meant that the destruction in the liberated areas was enormous, with the retreating Germans doing what they could to cart off or destroy whatever they were forced to give up. The intensity of the fighting on the Eastern Front also implied a total mobilization of the Soviet home front. People and resources were drawn into the conflict on a scale matched by none of the other major belligerents. The enormous casualties reached into every home even as the already low pre-war economy imposed terrible privations.

The government eased its restrictions on religious observances and made other gestures to public preferences at the same time as it was forced to mobilize all resources for the war, therefore imposing the most drastic material sacrifices. This process was related to another factor, that of patriotism, to which the regime effectively and successfully appealed. The war itself was now called the Great Patriotic War as the people were summoned to defend their homes.

The Russians evacuated many industries from the areas overrun by the Germans, and during the war naturally expanded facilities and production in areas which were considered safe from the invaders, primarily the industrial region in the Urals and in portions of Soviet Central Asia. It was in these expanded and new factories that a long-suffering and very hard working labor force turned out the tanks, guns, planes, ammunition, and other supplies of war which enabled the Red Army to overwhelm the Germans.

Standardizing on a series of very fine weapons, especially on heavy tanks, artillery, rocket launchers, and automatic weapons, the Soviet industrial system provided its troops with great volumes of weapons which were often qualitatively superior to those of the Germans. Even in the air, where Soviet inferiority had been marked at the beginning of hostilities — in part because of the surprise attack — there was a significant change as excellent new models were put into service in substantial numbers.

In the process of mobilizing for the war, a country which had barely begun to recover from the ravages of collectivization of agriculture, forced industrialization, and the great purges was burdened by the most drastic further privations. But with these came first hope and then pride. No other country on the continent had been able to stand up to the German army in its hour of great strength. The very price of victory — substantially over twenty million dead, massive destruction, total disruption of society — came to look in retrospect like special badges of honor.

The Russians could and did mobilize their industry for warfare but lost much of it to the Germans in 1941 or destroyed it themselves. Nevertheless, in 1942-43 their factories were back in business, feeding weapons to a resurgent Red Army. The Soviet miracle of production rested on the ruthless allocation of resources and the draconian use of human labor.

The maintenance of cohesion and the revival of hope and pride can be seen in part as a reaction to the course of the fighting. In World War I, the Russian armies had first defeated the Austrians, then been defeated by the Germans, then had their front ripped open in 1915, and had thereafter been driven back ever further in a series of see-saw battles. In World War II, on the other hand, the biggest defeats came at the beginning, but from then on, in spite of a major retreat in the south in 1942 and occasional setbacks — some of them serious — the tide of battle moved steadily the other way.

It was immediately and dramatically obvious to increasing numbers of Soviet citizens that, whatever their objections to the policies of their rulers and to the conditions under which they had been living, the policies of the Germans were infinitely worse and the conditions under their rule — for those left alive — were sure to be even more dreadful. If they were going to be ruled by those they disliked, better their own than those from another country.

Large portions of the Soviet Union might still be in the hands of the Germans and their allies, but there was hope that they would be freed. Clearly the German army was not invincible; there was hope even if the road to victory might be a long one. In these elements of the situation, and especially the sense of shared dangers and shared accomplishments at the cost of vast sacrifice, one may recognize the ordeal of World War II as the great consolidating experience of the Soviet Union between the revolutionary upheaval of 1917-22 and the dramatic changes of the 1980s.

The brutalities of their own regime, including the forced deportations of whole nationality groups suspected of collaborating with the invader, paled by comparison with the horrors imposed by the Germans. The people had seen an alternative to their own system and knew they did not want it. There was hope, which would be cruelly disappointed, that a victorious regime would deal more kindly and leniently with its people, who had suffered and accomplished so much. But for all who survived, the war remained a dominating memory.

Even those Russians who did not suffer siege or bombardment spent the war laboring in conditions of extreme privation: they received five hundred calories a day less nourishment than their British or German counterparts, a thousand fewer than Americans. Some two million perished of hunger in territories under Soviet control, while a further thirteen million died under bombardment or in German-occupied regions; prisoners in the gulag’s labor camps occupied the lowest place in the hierarchy of priority for rations, and one in four of them died in each of the war years.

The portion of the African continent which saw the earliest fighting was also the first to see it end. In the northeastern corner, Ethiopia was conquered by Italy in 1935-36 and was thereafter the scene of some guerilla warfare against the Italians and later the base for the Italian conquest of British Somaliland: in the winter of 1940-41 the British armed forces defeated all the Italian forces, liberated Ethiopia and British Somaliland and occupied Eritrea and Italian Somaliland. There was considerable destruction from the fighting in a few places, but on the whole the damage was very localized. The war years actually brought some economic development to these territories: their importance to the Allied war effort along major oceanic supply routes led to some improvement in port and transportation facilities being made.

The Emperor of Ethiopia, Haile Selassie, returned to his capital, to outlive Mussolini and most of those who had watched him deposed and his land conquered.

In Eritrea and Italian Somaliland, a British military administration was established to control the area until the end of the war. Eritrea would be turned over to Ethiopia in spite of considerable local opposition, while Italian Somaliland became independent and absorbed British Somaliland as the country of Somalia.

The tides of battle which moved back and forth across Egypt and Libya took place for the most part in desert and rocky terrain of little economic value, but there was extreme damage to the towns along the east Libyan coast. The local population in both territories suffered as a result of the dislocations of war, but both also benefited in the long run from large-scale construction of airports and other facilities. In Egypt, however, there were other developments as well. Egyptian nationalists resented continued British dominance of their country, while King Farouk and some officers in the Egyptian army, such as Gamal Abdel Nasser and Anwar Sadat, hoped for a German victory and were in touch with the Germans.

The Egyptian officers were arrested and the King was forced to pick a government more willing to cooperate in the war alongside the British. The whole process, however, exacerbated Egyptian antagonism toward the British and left a bitter legacy behind.

In Northwest Africa, only Tunisia suffered serious damage from the fighting in 1942-43. The French Vichy regime had kept control before that time and Charles de Gaulle did so afterwards, but the whole concept of rule by France had been called into question by both the population there and President Roosevelt, who ostentatiously met with local dignitaries.

Some nationalists sided with the Axis in hopes of gaining from Berlin and Rome respect for their independence, which they had not received from Paris; as so often, neither a wise idea nor a sign of great insight.

In Latin America, the years of war brought several significant changes. With the exception of Argentina, the countries of the Western Hemisphere joined the Allies. Their economic ties to Germany were largely broken by the Allied blockade, and only in the summer of 1940, when it looked briefly as if Germany might win, was there serious consideration of new ties with the Axis in the post-war years. Only Brazil sent troops to the front, in this case to Italy, and those involved with that effort in some instances came to play major roles in post-war Brazilian politics. As for the war years themselves, the possibilities for economic development were largely negated by local ineffectiveness and the incompetence of United States dignitaries sent there.

After the fall of France there was serious worry in Washington; as Under Secretary of State Sumner Welles wrote President Roosevelt on 3 June 1940, in words omitted from the published version: ‘The majority of the American Republics would run helter-skelter to Hitler just as so many of the remaining small neutral nations of Europe are doing today.’ But except for a few shells from German submarines fired at the Dutch West Indies, and the sinking of their ships off the coast, the Latin American countries were spared the most conspicuous impact of war.

The one field in which Brazil and several other Latin American countries made some progress during the war was that of reducing foreign control of the economy. The sale of products needed by the Allied war effort, combined with a reduction in the imports of manufactured goods — almost entirely from Europe — made it possible to reduce the level of foreign ownership of enterprises in Brazil, Argentina, and elsewhere. The pre-war role of both Germany and Britain was lessened, while that of the United States only grew temporarily.

The Germans had hoped to keep the countries of Latin America neutral at first, and expected vastly expanded trade opportunities at the expense of a defeated Britain after the war. There was also some hope that movements based on local Fascist elements, like the Integralists in Brazil and the Peronists in Argentina, combined with pressure from the large German immigrant community in several countries of the region, would open the Western Hemisphere to political as well as economic penetration. Such hopes were not realized.

The United States had adopted a ‘Good Neighbor’ policy which included a far less imperious attitude toward Latin America than prior administrations had been accustomed to show. This certainly helped in rallying the countries of the hemisphere in the war against the Axis, but it also had another result. The very use of the resources and products of the South American countries in the Allied war effort not only gave those countries a better price for their products during the war, but also led them to feel that they had some claim on the gratitude of the victors afterwards. With internal problems of poverty and disease remaining very serious, the nations of Latin America would assert themselves in new ways once the war was over.

The collapse of France in 1940 and the fighting of 1941 provided an enormous stimulus to the independence movement in Syria. Whatever the hopes of the French for continued domination of this important area acquired at the end of World War I, there was really not the slightest chance of reestablishing rule from Paris. Syrian nationalist aspirations could not be subdued, even by shelling Damascus. The independence of Syria and an enlarged Lebanon were ensured by the war.

The Syrian issue caused much friction between France and Great Britain, especially because the French quite falsely suspected the British of wanting to take over from them, but the fact was that France's time in Syria had run out. The French had actually promised independence; after a double defeat, there could be no road back, even for a France led by Charles de Gaulle.

Iran had been inclined toward Germany before the war and during its initial years. Trade ties and worry about British and Russian imperial expansion had contributed to this orientation. From the summer of 1941, the country was occupied by British and Russian forces, but there was an increasing American presence with the building up of the supply route across Iran to the Soviet Union. This enabled the Iranians to play off the Americans against the Russian and British occupying powers. This would be especially important when, at the end of the war, the Russians were inclined to keep their troops in the country. Once the revolt of 1941 had been suppressed by British troops, Iraq was ruled by a regime which collaborated with the Allies. The urge to throw off all outside influence, and especially that of the British, remained, however, and would reassert itself not long after the war.

In Iran, as elsewhere in the Middle East, American influence was also resented, especially as it focused increasingly on obtaining a foothold in the exploitation of the region's petroleum resources. Here was a source both of wealth and of foreign interest which enhanced the region's income during the war and afterwards, but also brought further threats to the independence of its people. This was as true of Iraq as of Iran.

In Northern Europe, Denmark and Norway remained under German control from April 1940 until the surrender of May 1945. In the case of Denmark, the German invasion came so quickly that there was no resistance and no opportunity for the government, and especially the King, to flee. Given the acquiescence of the administrative apparatus, it was easier for the Germans to run the undamaged country by supervising it rather than controlling it directly. In August 1943 the Germans proclaimed a military emergency, and the Danish government was effectively removed. Ironically this stimulated rather than inhibited resistance. In Norway, resistance to the Germans grew slowly but steadily and was encouraged rather than halted by the ruthless measures taken to suppress it.

In Denmark there was, in effect, a temporary accommodation between occupier and occupied. As part of this tacit but effective arrangement, the Germans did not raise the question of revising the border which had resulted from the World War I peace settlement, much to the dismay of many among the German minority in the area. On the other hand, the Danes not only provided important military bases for the German conduct of the war but also furnished vast quantities of food supplies, about one-twelfth of the total annual rations for Germany.

A very poor country, Norway could not contribute much to the German war economy; most of its greatest economic asset, its merchant fleet, having escaped to continue in the war. The Germans took what they could, and made the Norwegians suffer great hardships, which was not the best way of persuading them that as fellow Nordics they shared a community of fate with the Germans.

While Hitler evidently thought of absorbing both Denmark and Norway the way he had incorporated Austria, any such plans depended entirely on a German victory in the war. The people in both countries would have none of it, and everything they saw of the Germans only reinforced this reluctance. They awaited liberation and return to the type of independent, democratic political life they had led before the war.

Like Denmark and Norway, Luxembourg was intended to be incorporated into Germany. Occupied in May 1940, the Grand Duchy was considered a Germanic area. The Grand Duchess and the ministers escaped before the Germans could seize them, and formed a government-in-exile. Until the winter of 1944-45, when the Grand Duchy was first liberated and then became the scene of bitter fighting during the German Ardennes offensive, the people looked forward to a German defeat which could only be brought about by others. There were instances of resistance and of German repression, but Allied victory brought a return to independence.

Those held to be non-Germanic, like the Italian workers who had come there for jobs, and those considered of Walloon or French background, were deported from Luxembourg. Many classified as Germans but not sufficiently enthusiastic about this designation were resettled among German settlers sent to Eastern Europe. The rest, except of course for the tiny number of Jews, were to be governed and treated as Germans.

Their wartime experience helped Luxembourgers see the need for a closer association with their northern neighbors in the post-war world. They would remember those who had fought to restore their freedom, and there is a certain propriety in the fact that an American military cemetery in the country includes the grave of General George S. Patton.

The German invasion of 1940 quickly overran the Netherlands, and in spite of the terrible bombing of Rotterdam, most of the country was not devastated in the rapidly moving fighting. The Germans saw the Dutch as fellow Germanic people and expected to reassimilate them into Germany proper— but at the same time to exploit their economy and possibly also their colonial empire. Hitler wanted to replace the military administration as quickly as possible and did so, installing as the Reich's commissioner Arthur Seyss-Inquart. He tried to utilize the Dutch administrative apparatus, integrate the country into the German economy, and prepare its people for their future as Germans.

The administration of the country proved more difficult than Seyss anticipated. All sorts of German agencies competed for control with him and each other, and the Dutch Nazis proved a troublesome lot. The most prominent of the latter, Anton Adrian Mussert, wanted to run an enlarged Dutch state as a German client, while the Dutch Nazi most agreeable to a direct fusion with Germany, Meinoud M. Rost van Tonningen, was happy to cooperate with the SS and to help its schemes to settle Dutch farmers on land taken from the Soviet Union. However, he had even fewer supporters in the country than the hugely unpopular and generally incompetent Mussert.

As the country in Europe with the longest record of treating Jews decently, Holland was not the country in which to acquire popularity by deporting its Jewish citizens to be murdered in the death camps in occupied Poland. The first measures to implement this program provoked the first major strike in German-occupied Europe, that of February 1941. In spite of Dutch resistance and some secret sheltering of individual Jews — the case of the German Jewish refugee Anne Frank becoming the most famous — the vast majority of Dutch Jews, over 100,000 out of about 120,000, were killed by the Nazis.

When the course of the war left western Holland partly cut off from the rest of German-controlled central Europe, the most desperate food shortage ensued. The winter of 1944-45 was a time of famine in which many died in sight of liberation. At the very end, there were arrangements to bring in food from the Allies; but for many of the Dutch, this came too late.

Belgium, like the Netherlands, was headed for inclusion in Germany, but with altered borders. General Alexander von Falkenhausen proceeded to run the least oppressive of all the German occupation administrations. Himself an opponent of Hitler and National Socialism, he tried to assert military rule against the economic and police agencies, to keep the exactions within reason, and to avoid or limit the sorts of horrors inflicted on other occupied peoples.

On the one hand, the small pieces of territory transferred to Belgium after World War I as well as the piece ruled jointly with Prussia before that war were added to the adjacent German province. On the other hand, two departments (or administrative districts) of northern France were joined with Belgium. During the war years, Hitler postponed decisions about the final configuration in this case.

Within the limits of the situation, Falkenhausen had some success in containing the efforts of Göring and Himmler to interfere, kept the people from starving in spite of low rations, and held the murder of Belgium's Jews to some 25,000 out of a total of about 90,000, a terrible toll but still a sign of substantial opposition to the process. No wonder Falkenhausen was placed in a concentration camp, even though his contacts with the group which attempted to kill Hitler were not discovered at the time.

The armistice of June 1940, which provided for the French government to continue to direct the administration in all of France, was broken before it was signed by the removal of Alsace and Lorraine and their effective annexation to Germany. Beginning in 1940, hundreds of thousands were deported from the two provinces. The majority of the remaining country was to be occupied by German troops while the southeastern quarter was left unoccupied for the time being. It was in the little town of Vichy in the unoccupied zone that the new government of France was temporarily located, and it came to be known as the Vichy government. In November 1942, the Germans occupied the formerly unoccupied zone and allowed the Italians to occupy a portion of it. In September 1943, with the Italian surrender, the Germans took over the Italian zone as well.

By allowing this puppet regime to operate, the Germans removed a danger and a problem. The danger was the possibility of continued resistance from French North Africa; the problem was that of staffing an administrative apparatus for an area with over forty million inhabitants. With a tiny supervisory staff, the Germans directly or indirectly controlled an administrative and police apparatus, made up of Frenchmen, which functioned for them with a diligence and thoroughness they could never have provided themselves during wartime.

Some of those running the Vichy system believed that in this way they could spare their people a worse fate; some hoped to use the defeat for a reorganization of French society; some genuinely believed in the possibility of reconciliation with the Germans; most were convinced that after the defeat of France, Britain would also quickly succumb.

The continuation of the war by Britain worked to strengthen Vichy's negotiating position vis-à-vis the Germans in a way neither the French, nor the Germans, nor the British had anticipated. The campaign in the East had a somewhat similar effect; and the Vichy authorities eventually became more reluctant to make concessions without obtaining in turn concessions from the Germans; but Hitler was determined not to make these under any circumstances.

The German government included some individuals who also wanted a real peace with France, and these, not the French collaborators, effected some restraints on German policy and practice. The line set by Hitler, however, was uncompromisingly hostile to France, a country he both hated and despised.

Inside German-occupied France, a small number resisted the authorities, but they were handicapped by the surveillance of the Germans. There was, in addition, a reluctance to take actions which might provoke a brutal occupier to take massive measures of retaliation against the population when liberation was obviously in the distant future. Some support was provided by the British Special Operations Executive (SOE). In spite of all setbacks, resistance grew, stimulated by German measures, bythe fact that the tide was clearly turning in the war, and by the growing experience of the French themselves and of the British and eventually the Americans in aiding them.

After the German invasion of the Soviet Union, French Communists who had earlier stood aside or even welcomed the Germans joined the resistance and eventually came to form an important part of it. Jews who had little or nothing to lose played a major role, one which post-war accounts of the resistance generally overlooked.

The leader of the Free French organization which continued to fight on the side of the Allies after June 1940, Charles de Gaulle, proved a very difficult man for the Allies to deal with. Field Marshal Brooke commented in his diary: ‘a most unattractive specimen. We made a horrid mistake when we decided to make use of him!’ The language is instructive: Brooke evidently believed that Charles de Gaulle could be used. Whatever might or might not be said about the proud and determined Frenchman, being used by others was not one of them. He made life as difficult as he could and dared for both Churchill and Roosevelt, but he always followed his own star. By the end of 1942 he truly led and symbolized resistance to the Germans.

In the old core area of Czechoslovakia, called the Protectorate of Bohemia and Moravia, German rule was indirect but looked to a future in which the Czechs would be partly Germanized, and partly expelled or exterminated. In the meantime, they could work for German victory. Not all of them shared the puppet President Emu Hâcha's joy at the German victory over France. Some in the country did begin to organize resistance. But this was on a very small scale. Slovakia was allowed a temporary respite as a puppet state whose treatment might serve to encourage other governments in southeast Europe to cooperate with Germany. The special treatment for the Germans living there, however, pointed to a future in which the Slavic element would be expected to vanish.

The Czech administrators appear to have believed that the Germans needed them — and while the war lasted, the Germans did. That would not have saved them had Germany won the war, and it did not save those, including some high officials, who were in contact with the Czechoslovak government-in-exile; but it did preserve the people from some of the more ruthless measures during the war.

The Czechoslovak government-in-exile in London had some contacts with the occupied area. It tried to secure the recognition of the Allies for its eventual return to Prague and was successful in this regard. It also wanted the 1938 Munich agreement nullified and a return to its pre-Munich borders. Furthermore, though for some time negotiating with Wenzel Jaksch, the leader of the Social Democrats among the Sudeten Germans, they eventually decided to expel the Germans from the country after the war.

The sending of a special team by air from the government-in-exile in London to assassinate Reinhard Heydrich, who had replaced Constantin von Neurath as head of the German administration, led to harsh reprisals but no general resistance. Though restive, the Czechs remained under firm German control to the end of the war.

During the war, Slovakia could help Germany by its small industrial and agricultural production and some fighting in the East; it might be played off against the occasionally obstreperous Hungarians; but it would be closely watched. The uprising of the Slovak army in 1944 was put down with fury. The Jews, like those of Bohemia and Moravia, were for the most part deported and murdered.

In Hungary, the governments operating under the Regent, Admiral Miklos Horthy, tried to combine participation in the war on a limited basis with independence from Germany. The Hungarians wanted to take back even more of the territory they had lost to Romania after World War I than they had received at the hands of Hitler and Mussolini in 1940; they feared that a greater contribution by Romania to the Axis war effort would prejudice their standing with Berlin when they turned to the war they really wanted to fight, the one with Romania. By 1944 the country was occupied by the Germans, who installed a puppet government.

There were additional causes of friction between Budapest and Berlin which grew out of the domestic situation in Hungary. The Germans tried to protect their minority in Hungary and to recruit soldiers from it, both policies which the proud Hungarians resented. On the economic front, German efforts to dominate Hungary's small but significant oil industry aroused resentment. The soundings which the Budapest government began to make in 1943 as the anti-German Mildos Kallay replaced the pro-German Laszlo Bârdossy as Prime Minister annoyed the Germans, who tried unsuccessfully to have him dismissed and to influence his Cabinet appointments.

The major source of friction between the Germans and Hungarians, however, was the refusal of the Budapest government to turn over the approximately 800,000 Jews in the country. A whole series of anti-Semitic laws was enacted, but the Regent and Prime Minister balked at murder. Repeated pressure on the Budapest government and personal bullying of the Regent by Hitler failed in their purpose; and some Jews from other portions of Europe took refuge in Hungary. All this changed only after German troops occupied the country in March 1944.

The advancing Red Army made it ever more evident that the Western Allies had been correct in advising their Hungarian contacts that the country should surrender to all the Allies; and Horthy attempted to do so in October 1944. The Germans prevented this by a second coup in the capital, and established a puppet regime under the Hungarian Fascists, the Arrow-Cross movement of Ferenc Szâlasi. The change inaugurated further slaughter of Jews but hardly helped the Germans.

Administrative chaos was Szâlasi's main contribution to Hungary's remaining role in the war on Germany's side. During the winter of 1944-45 the Germans and the few Hungarians still fighting with them were driven out of the country by the Red Army. A new system was installed in Hungary which would last for more than forty years.

Romania was treated with special care by the Germans because of its important oil resources. The fact that production was steadily falling made the Romanian government both unable and unwilling to increase deliveries to the Axis as much as the latter desired. A major concern of the government of Marshal Ion Antonescu was, therefore, to obtain real payment for what was sent and to keep from pumping too much. Inside the country, the Romanian administration carried on as before. The areas lost to the Soviet Union in 1940 were temporarily recovered, and Romania also administered an additional portion of the Ukraine known as Transnistria. The Romanian government was also hoping to recover the territories lost to Hungary. In 1944, as the Red Army approached, a coup removed the Antonescu government, and Romania declared war against Germany.

The Germans hoped that such expansion eastward at the expense of the Soviet Union would divert Romanian aspirations from the recovery of the portions of Transylvania lost to Hungary and the northern Dobruja ceded to Bulgaria, also in 1940, but this was a lost cause. The Antonescu government was looking toward the recovery of those areas and anticipated a war with Hungary at the earliest opportunity. In fact, to a large extent the Romanian effort on the Eastern Front was designed to impress the Germans with the merits of Romania's cause.

When the tide turned in the East, the very large commitment of Romanian forces there meant that the disaster was all the greater for the country. As they began to look for a way out of the war, the Romanians, who had hitherto enthusiastically participated in the program to murder the Jews in newly occupied Russian territory, balked at turning over to the Germans the Jews of pre-June 1941 Romania. A last-minute coup in August 1944 came far too late to keep the whole country from being occupied by the Red Army.

The fact that the new government in Bucharest declared war on Germany and participated actively in the fighting on the Allied side led to the restoration of Transylvania to Romania at the end of the war. The new government installed in August 1944 would, however, soon be displaced by a Communist regime; in this regard, Romania shared the fate of both its Hungarian and Bulgarian rivals. In all three, the remnants of the pre-war regime and elites were displaced by new masters.

Bulgaria joined Germany in the hope of territorial aggrandizement at the expense of its Romanian, Yugoslav, and Greek neighbors and was rewarded by substantial grants of land from each. What the Germans expected in return was delivered by Sofia: cooperation in the German campaign of spring 1941 against Greece and Yugoslavia. Thereafter, the major interests of Berlin were in the position of Bulgaria as a possible spring-board against Turkey, contributions toward their problem of pacifying insurgencies in occupied Yugoslavia, and the turning over of Bulgaria's Jews. On the first two of these the Bulgarians were willing to cooperate. On the third issue, the Bulgarians allowed the Germans to have most of the Jews in the occupied portions of Greece and Yugoslavia assigned to her, but refused to sanction the deportation of pre-war Bulgaria's Jews. After the war, the Red Army occupied the country and Bulgaria became a communist state.

German diffidence in this case — as compared with others — was part of a general policy which recalled that Bulgaria's cracking under the strain of war in 1918 had set off the avalanche of defeat at the end of World War I. Bulgaria, it was believed, could be expected to contribute only so much to the Axis cause. Hitler had some respect for King Boris — the only reigning monarch the Führer evaluated positively — and accepted that ruler's protestations of loyalty and affection at face value. The Germans, therefore, contented themselves with minimal economic deliveries and accepted Bulgaria's refraining from going to war with Russia.

The Bulgarian government added to its seizure of Greek and Yugoslav territory by the fatal step of declaring war on Britain and the United States in December 1941. Once at war with the Western Allies, they would and could not extricate themselves from the self-imposed hostilities in time by an early surrender and switching of sides. The result was that after the collapse of Romania in August 1944 the Soviet Union declared war on Bulgaria and occupied that country. Under a new Communist-led government Bulgaria re-entered the war on the Allied side, and large forces fought alongside the Red Army in Southeast Europe even as her society was reshaped at home.

Upon the German invasion in 1941, large portions of land in the north of Yugoslavia were directly annexed to Germany. Italy, Hungary and Bulgaria also annexed parts of the country while the rest remained under German and Italian occupation. In Croatia the extreme Croatian nationalists, the Ustasha of Ante Pavelic, were put in charge. They were determined to expel or exterminate all Serbs, Muslims, and Jews in the area under their control. In German-occupied Serbia, the major economic aim of the Germans, the exploitation of the Bor copper mines, was attained, but all else quickly sank into an administrative chaos. After the war, Yugoslavia too became a communist state under the leadership of former resistance leader Josip Broz Tito.

In the north the people supposed to be of Germanic ancestry were to be re-Germanized and most of the rest driven out. Some of the expelled Slovenes were settled in Croatia or other parts of occupied Yugoslavia; many perished as a result.

Italy annexed large portions of Yugoslav territory both in the north and along the Adriatic coast, while Hungary was awarded a substantial piece of land in the north and Bulgaria in the south. Furthermore, the pre-World War I state of Montenegro was revived, now under Italian control, and Italian-dominated Albania was substantially expanded as well. The rest of the country was divided between a nominally independent state of Croatia and a Serbia under German military administration with a puppet government of its own.

With no discernible administrative skills, the new masters of Croatia quickly plunged the area into bloody chaos, tried to play off the Germans and Italians against each other, and enormously heightened the already bitter feuds between all segments of the population.

It did not take long for the population to realize that, in a situation of indiscriminate slaughter, the resisters had a better chance of survival than the acquiescent. The result in both Italian and German controlled areas was a steadily escalating growth of resistance to the occupiers. This began in 1941 with former officers and soldiers of the Yugoslav army who had avoided capture and who came to be led by General Draja Mihailovic. Known as Chetniks and operating at least nominally under the command of the Yugoslav government-in-exile, these forces recruited increasing numbers of men.

The British began helping Mihailovic with supplies and a liaison mission in September 1941. Their signals intelligence showed that the Germans wanted to crush a movement which, whatever its limitations, did carry out some acts of resistance. The same intelligence, however, also showed that Mihailovic was in touch with the Italians, and that there was in effect a truce between the Italians and the Chetniks and occasionally cooperation between Mihailovic and the Germans, as the Chetniks increasingly concentrated on a civil war with another resistance force, Josip Broz Tito's partisans, in a struggle for control of post-war Yugoslavia.

Influenced in part by Communist agents in the British SOE headquarters in Cairo who deliberately distorted information from occupied Yugoslavia, the British in February 1943 began to turn to Tito, and shifted their support to the partisans, though contacts with Mihailovic remained. What the British did not know was that Tito was trying hard to work out a truce with the Germans.

An exceptionally gifted leader, Tito rallied to himself elements from different nationalities in Yugoslavia, not only the Serbs as Mihailovic tended to do, and took action against the occupiers regardless of the retaliation the latter might visit on the civilian population. The partisan forces grew steadily and soon clashed with the Chetniks even as more and more of the population turned to the partisans. There was thus a brutal civil war in the country simultaneously with fighting against the occupation authorities and endless massacres by the latter. With ever greater supplies from the Western Powers and some aid from the Soviet Union, Tito's forces came to control much of the country. As the Germans retreated in late 1944, the partisans became the heirs of pre-war Yugoslavia. In the last weeks of war and the immediate post-war period, they crushed both the forces of Mihailovic and the remnants of the Croatian army. A devastated and blood-soaked country was under entirely new leadership.

The German invasion of Greece in April 1941 led to its defeat and occupation. A part was turned over to Bulgaria and a portion of the northwest was annexed to Albania. The bulk of Greece was placed under Italian occupation, although the northeast, including the port city of Salonika, most of Crete, several of the Aegean Islands, and a tip of land southeast of Athens came under German occupation. After the Italian surrender, the previously Italian-controlled area came under German occupation. A series of collaborationist regimes ran the country for the Italians and Germans. At the end of the war the monarchy was reinstated, following a civil war that ended in 1949.

The Axis looting of the country and the disruption of its foreign trade produced a runaway inflation. This in turn was both a cause and a symptom of famine which struck hard, especially in the winter of 1941-42, causing over 200,000 deaths. The second aspect of the occupation period was the German murder of most of the country's Jewish population.

Most of what resistance there came to be was organized by the Greek Communist Party, although it never provided more than a small percentage of the organization and membership of the main resistance structure, known by the initials of its Greek name as EAM, or its armed units, known as ELAS. A small separate resistance force under the former republican Colonel Napoleon Zervas, known as EDES, turned monarchist as it became clear that the British would provide arms to a monarchist organization. Both forces opposed the occupation, though ELAS much more effectively, but they also fought each other in the hopes of inheriting control of the country after liberation.

Efforts to unite all resistance forces inside Greece failed, while the Greek politicians and the tiny Greek military units in Egypt during the war squabbled with each other. The evacuation of the German forces in late 1944 was not substantially hindered by the resistance which rather looked to the future.

British troops in Athens in December 1944 became involved in the contest for control of the country, with Churchill — who came to the city in person — insisting on a monarchical restoration, at least under a regency. In the immediately ensuing struggle, the royalists won out, rehabilitated most of the collaborators, and began a systematic persecution of the ELAS resistance. The latter had failed in their first bid for power, had shown many Greeks their true colors by the murder of some 4,000 hostages, and bided their time for a new round of civil war.

No country was affected more dramatically by World War II than Poland. In 1939, huge portions of the country were annexed to Germany. Nazi policy aimed at maximum economic exploitation of the material and human resources after the killing of the intellectual, political, and religious leadership. Although there were local massacres of Jews as well as other measures of persecution in the first two years of German occupation, the mass murder program got under way in the summer of 1941. Poland was also home to the largest anti-Nazi resistance movement in Europe: the Polish Home Army, or AK. They organized a massive uprising in 1944, the biggest in all of Europe. After the war the country became a communist state.

The long-term aim for the Nazis was clearly two-fold: in the coming years, the surviving Poles would work hard at minimal incomes for the Germans, serving as a reservoir of cheap labor. As German settlers became available, the Poles would be driven out or exterminated.

After 1941, German-occupied Poland became the locale for the construction of special extermination centers, facilities devoted to the systematic killing of Polish Jews and of Jews transported from all over Europe. When the Germans could reach them, as on the island of Rhodes, they transported Jews from outside Europe as well. Over three million Polish Jews were killed, most of them in these installations.

Alone of the occupied countries, Poland produced no collaborationist government. In the face of a harsh and deliberately extreme occupation administration, the population tried to survive and to resist. Hundreds of thousands died of hunger and disease, while hundreds of thousands of others were killed as undesirable intellectuals, hostages, reprisal victims, or whatever other excuses the imagination could conceive. Some 10,000 were killed in mental institutions, hospitals or old people's homes.

The Polish underground army had massive support among the population. It drew on its members and supporters for an extensive intelligence network which provided the London government-in-exile and through it the Western Allies highly significant information on subjects ranging from German military moves, to the program for the extermination of Jews, to key details on secret weapons and even actual parts of them.

The hope of the underground army was to rise against the Germans as they eventually retreated, but in this regard the government-in-exile and the AK leadership made a terrible misjudgement. The plan was to rise in the countryside, so the available weapons were largely hidden there; but in 1944, the main uprising was ordered in Warsaw where few preparations for it had been made and equipment was inadequate. Upon the defeat of the uprising, Hitler ordered Warsaw levelled, a directive carried out with brutal thoroughness.

There was a small Communist underground in German-occupied Poland, which grew somewhat as the Red Army approached and built up Polish units, the Berling army, to fight alongside it. The Poland which emerged from the conflict, battered and terribly depleted, would be altered in both regime and borders. A Communist regime was imposed by the Soviet Union and its few Polish supporters.

The Poland which emerged from the war was thus a very different country from that of 1939. It was smaller and had lost enormously in population and wealth; it had acquired land basically more valuable than the territory it had lost; and it was very much more homogeneous than ever before. But it was saddled with a regime and a social system few Poles wanted. It had come, at least for the time being, under a new foreign domination which most Poles bitterly resented.

One great geo-economic fact looms over the history of World War II: the Axis powers could not eliminate the entire Western Hemisphere and sub-Saharan Africa as a resource domain available to the Allies. The enormous industrial and agricultural productivity of the United States and of the British Commonwealth, including its non-white colonies, which largely deferred their demands for independence, remained outside Axis reach. World War II was a conflict of resources as well as ideologies, in both its causes and conduct. No natural resource was as essential as fossil fuels. The Allies won the war because they had fossil fuels and because they prevented the Axis powers from turning the fossil fuels of occupied countries into war-winning resources.

Raw petroleum was the critical ingredient in gasoline and plastics, and coal fed the furnaces that made steel and turned turbines for electrical power. On the eve of Pearl Harbor, the United States produced two-thirds of the world’s petroleum, largely because it could pump and deliver that oil at a price that discouraged its competitors. Moreover, petroleum companies that were not American belonged to US allies, the British and the Dutch. The Soviet Union produced 10 percent of the world’s oil and used it for its own needs; its reserves were significant. The rest of the actual and potential oil producers of the world operated within an economic sphere of interest dominated by pre-war market patterns and geography that worked to the Allies’ advantage. These nations were Mexico, Canada, Venezuela, Iraq, Iran, and Saudi Arabia.

The view from the Axis perspective was quite different. Already dependent on foreign oil when they went to war, Germany and Japan co-opted or captured oil fields in Romania, Russia, and the Netherlands East Indies. Allied air attacks and naval interdiction campaigns by surface fleets and submarines reduced the flow of oil imports to Germany and Japan to such a degree that by mid-1944 gasoline shortages crippled parts of the industrial base and did serious damage to the Axis armed forces. Although the Axis had plentiful coal resources, they had to transport that coal to their power plants and factories, which made the coal vulnerable to air and naval attack.

Both the Allies and the Axis attempted to impose oil and coal rationing on their economies, and both experimented with synthetic fuels with some success. The access to almost unlimited fossil fuels, however, allowed the Allies to pioneer in the production of synthetic rubber, durable plastics, and synthetic fibers that substituted for raw materials in short supply such as cotton and silk, both of which were important military fabrics.

Similar patterns of abundance and scarcity could be found in the strategic minerals sector: the Axis had the emptier bins. Of 21 critical minerals, Germany had significant access to only four when the war began. It gained access to six more critical metals by conquering western Russia. By contrast, even after the Allies lost Malaya to Japan (its most important mineral conquest), the British Commonwealth and the United States could maintain their pre-war dominance of strategic metals by turning to Latin America, where Anglo-American corporations dominated copper and tin mining. Canada expanded its mineral production, as did British colonies in Africa, where the Allies counted on cheap labor.

Another fortuitous development was the fact that the United States and the British Commonwealth tended to complement one another in strategic raw materials; where one was short, the other filled the void. The Axis enjoyed virtually no such complementarity, and any exchanges between Germany and Japan, even in small amounts of rare minerals, depended on submarines for transportation. The Russians fell into an intermediate category. Although the Soviets found some supplies of all 21 strategic minerals somewhere in the Soviet Union, weather and geography limited the wartime development of these resources. Nevertheless, they had what they really needed to build and maintain a massive arms industry.