A Great World War II Experience
Unlike history books that focus on one side of an issue and not the other, “The Story of World War II” by Donald L. Miller does an excellent job of portraying World War II from an unbiased perspective. Throughout the book, Miller’s historical narrative is constantly supported by first hand accounts of people who recount their experiences during this colossal event. The book goes from beginning to end in a chronological order as it gives a deeper insight into the realities of the war.
Before anything, the book starts by telling of the events and conditions that led up to the chaos and destruction that became World War II. Shortly after World War I, the influence of totalitarianism began to settle into the political organizations of Germany, Japan, and Italy as it shaped and molded their ideas and decisions. By the 1930s, these totalitarian nations felt strong enough to strike. In the east Japan invaded Manchuria while in the west, the Nazi Party’s promise of, ”… relief from economic ills, escape from the ‘bondage’ of the Versailles Treaty, and the reunion of the entire German race under one strong government”, had become a reality. As these nations asserted their control over neighboring countries, the United States, Britain, and France, the superpowers at the time, failed to take any action and instead chose a policy of nonintervention, fearing that any involvement would widen the already growing conflict. With the bombing of Poland in September of 1939, war had become inevitable.
One of the biggest highlights of this book is the vast number of personal accounts of the war that have been incorporated into it. These do not focus on just one single point of view like that of a United States general. Instead they include the recollections of people from every country that was involved in the war as well as accounts from people of different backgrounds. These stories range from a diary entry of the Japanese Captain, Mitsuo Fuchida, who led the attack on Pearl Harbor, a personal account of American Sergeant, Alan Anderson, who was in charge of an artillery battery that was to land on Normandy, and an account from Major Werner Pluskat, one of the first Germans to see the Allied invasion fleet from Omaha Beach. Pluskat recalls, “‘There was an armada of at least 10,000 warships moving without the slightest telltale of sound or light. We began searching for signal lights and listening for radio communication – nothing! It was a model of discipline among the American and British military...’”. Through these passages, readers will be able to get a deeper understanding of the war as well as a richer experience on how events played out.
Donald L. Miller has done a fascinating job in compiling and narrating this book. He has carefully balanced his own opinion with that of people from the past in order to create the perfect World War II experience. His unique style also ensures to keep a high level of interest in the book from start to finish. If you’re a fan of history or you’re interested in learning about World War II but are unsure of where to begin, then you won’t go wrong in giving this fascinating book a try.
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