THE WORLD WAR TWO GROUP discussion

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BOOK DISCUSSIONS > Favorite Passages from any WW2 Book

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message 1: by Rory (last edited Aug 31, 2013 10:49AM) (new)

Rory (rorygallagher) | 124 comments What are some of your favorite passages from ANY book? Here is one of mine:
From diary of Count Galeazzo Ciano, son-ln-law of Mussolini, and Italian foreign minister.
December 13, 1941
The Minister from Cuba came to declare war. He was very emotional, and was disappointed that I did not share his emotion. But after having had the good fortune, or is it misfortune, to declare war on France, on Great Britain, on Russia, and on the United States, could the good man really think that I would turn pale on learning that Sergeant Batista was mobilizing against us the forces of Cuba on land and sea, and in the air? Ecuador, too, has declared war, but I had my secretary receive the Minister.


message 2: by Mike, Assisting Moderator US Forces (new)

Mike | 2820 comments Nice!


message 3: by Colin (new)

Colin Heaton (colin1962) | 1914 comments Rory Gallagher wrote: "What are some of your favorite passages from ANY book? Here is one of mine:
From diary of Count Galeazzo Ciano, son-ln-law of Mussolini, and Italian foreign minister.
December 13, 1941
The Ministe..."


In my book The Star of Africa, I mention Ciano, since Hans Joachim Marseille apparently defiled his niece I believe it was. FYI, I own a piece of Ciano's office furniture, a lovely green marble top end desk.


message 4: by Manray9 (new)

Manray9 | 4216 comments This is more of just a quote than a passage, but a favorite nevertheless:

"I would sum up the German character best by saying that they are the best of losers and the worst of winners."

Field Marshal Edmund Ironside from:

Time Unguarded The Ironside Diaries, 1937-1940 by Edmund Ironside Time Unguarded


message 5: by 'Aussie Rick', Moderator (new)

'Aussie Rick' (aussierick) | 17119 comments That's a good one Manray9 :)


message 6: by Geevee, Assisting Moderator British & Commonwealth Forces (new)

Geevee | 3796 comments Manray9 wrote: "This is more of just a quote than a passage, but a favorite nevertheless:

"I would sum up the German character best by saying that they are the best of losers and the worst of winners."

Field Mar..."


A good quote from a book I own but have yet to read - and one I finally got around to buying following a mention by you not so recently.


message 7: by Cory (new)

Cory (mscorabelle) | 4 comments By 1942, the civilized world had been brought to the brink of ruin. It had taken the Axis powers less than three years to command the high seas in the North Atlantic and the South Pacific, to lay waste most of Europe and enslave millions in Asia, to drive deep into Stalin's Soviet empire and come within an ace of controlling the oil fields of the Middle East. At the height of their power the European dictators and the Japanese military autocracy ruled ruthlessly almost half the world. Standing alone, the British were bankrupt and the United States driven from isolation only by the humiliation of Pearl Harbor. ------From "blood tears and golly a objective look at WW 2


message 8: by Cory (new)

Cory (mscorabelle) | 4 comments That is Folly not golly typing on my phone


message 9: by 'Aussie Rick', Moderator (new)

'Aussie Rick' (aussierick) | 17119 comments I was going to ask you about that :)

Is this the book in question:

Blood, Tears and Folly An Objective Look at World War II by Len Deighton by Len Deighton

If so I thought it was a pretty decent account as well.


message 10: by Cory (new)

Cory (mscorabelle) | 4 comments Yes! That's the one. I have not figured out yet how to post the book link through my phone.


message 11: by Mike, Assisting Moderator US Forces (new)

Mike | 2820 comments Good one, Cory. That certainly sums up the first three years of war concisely. I have that book unread on the shelf.


message 12: by Geevee, Assisting Moderator British & Commonwealth Forces (new)

Geevee | 3796 comments Cory wrote: "By 1942, the civilized world had been brought to the brink of ruin. It had taken the Axis powers less than three years to command the high seas in the North Atlantic and the South Pacific, to lay w..."

A good passage Cory. I have read a number of Mr Deighton's books but not this one; so another added to the TBR.


message 13: by Dj (new)

Dj | 2051 comments I really enjoyed Blood, Tears and Folly.

Geevee wrote: "Cory wrote: "By 1942, the civilized world had been brought to the brink of ruin. It had taken the Axis powers less than three years to command the high seas in the North Atlantic and the South Paci..."


message 14: by Rory (new)

Rory (rorygallagher) | 124 comments Blitzkrieg, the first in his series, was also very good. Haven't read his "Bomber" book, yet.


message 15: by Dj (new)

Dj | 2051 comments Blitzkrieg From the Rise of Hitler to the Fall of Dunkirk by Len Deighton

Is a good book, although a little limited in scope, considering it ends before anything involving Russia and the Western Desert. It has an incident in it that I would like to have independent verification on, involving Rommel and his arrival with 7th Panzer.

I liked:

Hitler's Panzers The Lightning Attacks that Revolutionized Warfare by Dennis E. Showalter

better, but it has a few weaknesses that annoy me.
No footnotes, lots of quotes with no citations, and worst of all no Bibliography. Still it is a good read and if you like Blitzkrieg you should give it a shot.


Rory wrote: "Blitzkrieg, the first in his series, was also very good. Haven't read his "Bomber" book, yet."


message 16: by Rory (new)

Rory (rorygallagher) | 124 comments Very funny you mention Dennis Showalter--at suggestion elsewhere on the group I picked up Corp Commanders at the Bulge and he does the forward. Not sure I have come across him before.
On back cover are recommendations from Atkinson (Liberation Trilogy) and Doughty who wrote one of my favorite books on fall of France--Breaking Point, Sedan. Grab that with book by Alistair Horne and the above mentioned blitzkrieg and you have a great quick read of battle of France.


message 17: by 'Aussie Rick', Moderator (new)

'Aussie Rick' (aussierick) | 17119 comments Alistair Horne is one of my favourite author's, I think I have read nearly all his books. Dennis Showalter has a new book out on Kursk in case anyone is interested:

Armor and Blood The Battle of Kursk The Turning Point of World War II by Dennis E. Showalter by Dennis E. Showalter


message 18: by Dj (new)

Dj | 2051 comments Showalter caught my attention due to a book he wrote about Patton and Rommel.

Rory wrote: "Very funny you mention Dennis Showalter--at suggestion elsewhere on the group I picked up Corp Commanders at the Bulge and he does the forward. Not sure I have come across him before.
On back cove..."



message 19: by Colin (new)

Colin Heaton (colin1962) | 1914 comments Dr. Showalter has been very kind to me over the years as we have a mutual respect, and he has written forwards and reviews/blurb for my books over the years. His books are top notch. His foreword to our next WW II book, The German Aces Speak Vol II was great, and out in March.


message 20: by Geevee, Assisting Moderator British & Commonwealth Forces (last edited Jan 02, 2014 12:18PM) (new)

Geevee | 3796 comments I've enjoyed many of Mr Deighton's books including Blitzkrieg and the fictional titles Bomber and SS-GB.
The audio book of Bomber is well performed with a fine cast and I highly recommend it.

Not a WWII title but I liked Alistair Horne's The Price of Glory Verdun 1916 by Alistair Horne The Price of Glory: Verdun 1916


Cold War Conversations Podcast (cwcpodcast) | 66 comments "One of the bravest scenes Edelman witnessed during the war was the sight of a man entering the Warsaw transit station for the transports to Auschwitz with his son on his shoulders. The boy was frightened and asking where they were going. "Not far", the father reassured him. "Soon it will all be over".

This is the last line of Isaac's Army: The Jewish Resistance in Occupied Poland which I have just finished reading.

The author interviewed many of the survivors and his book details the build up to the Ghetto revolt of 1943 as well as Jewish participation in the Warsaw Uprising of 1944.

Lesser known aspects are also detailed such as the conflict between some of the right wing fascist elements within the non-Jewish Polish resistance army and the Jewish units.

I'd highly recommend this for an understanding of the Jewish underground and particularly the internal conflicts within the Jewish resistance itself.


message 22: by Geevee, Assisting Moderator British & Commonwealth Forces (new)

Geevee | 3796 comments A powerful and haunting passage Mcrmilhist - I have the book on my TBR.


message 23: by 'Aussie Rick', Moderator (new)

'Aussie Rick' (aussierick) | 17119 comments Same here!


message 24: by Mike, Assisting Moderator US Forces (new)

Mike | 2820 comments That sends chills to read...also on the TBR.


message 25: by Rory (new)

Rory (rorygallagher) | 124 comments Thanks for sharing, Mermilhist. Very moving.


message 26: by Travelin (last edited Jan 05, 2014 06:44AM) (new)

Travelin | 104 comments Mcrmilhist wrote: ""One of the bravest scenes Edelman witnessed during the war was the sight of a man entering the Warsaw transit station for the transports to Auschwitz with his son on his shoulders. The boy was fri..."

I believe that at least one video in the Warsaw museum related to the Warsaw Uprising suggests that not many people welcomed Jewish help or wanted to give them weapons, and that some were still fighting in clothing marking them as Jews. Is this exaggerated?


Cold War Conversations Podcast (cwcpodcast) | 66 comments I think it's exaggerated. Although it is clear there were some in the Underground who were anti-semitic, the vast majority were not and welcomed Jewish help in the 44 Uprising.

Indeed one of the earliest missions in the 44 Uprising was to free 348 Jewish prisoners in the Gęsiówka Concentration camp that was located in the ruins of the Ghetto who were subsequently armed and fought with the Underground. Some of them survived the war by being provided with forged papers showing them as Gentiles.


message 28: by Geevee, Assisting Moderator British & Commonwealth Forces (new)

Geevee | 3796 comments Travelin I'd not be surprised as I've read about the antagonism between Jews and Poles prior to WWII, notably in the 1900s before WWI when under Russian rule.

Under Russian rule Jews in parts of what had been Poland were treated poorly with many anti-Semitic laws coming into force and there was violence at regular intervals. Jews fought alongside Poles for Polish independence in 1918, but by the 1930s restrictions on Jewish employment and for example not being allowed to work on Sundays (as it was declared a day of rest) created difficulties for Jews, as did the rise of anti-Semitism as a whole across Europe. I suspect this historic dislike/antagonism (or worse) may hold the key to Poles not wanting Jewish help; plus perhaps I wonder if a minor concern might have been for some of those Poles who did not want armed assistance from Jews would have been what would the Russians or Germans do to them if they had been caught fighting alongside Jews?


message 29: by Geevee, Assisting Moderator British & Commonwealth Forces (last edited Jan 05, 2014 07:40AM) (new)

Geevee | 3796 comments This is on my Amazon list as it is being re-published this year: Russians, Jews, and the Pogroms of 1881-1882 by John Doyle Klier Russians, Jews, and the Pogroms of 1881-1882 by John Doyle Klier and might interest some people.

I have this on my GR TBR too: White Eagle, Red Star The Polish-Soviet War 1919-1920 and The Miracle on the Vistula by Norman Davies White Eagle, Red Star: The Polish-Soviet War 1919-1920 and The Miracle on the Vistula by Norman Davies


message 30: by Geevee, Assisting Moderator British & Commonwealth Forces (new)

Geevee | 3796 comments Mcrmilhist wrote: "I think it's exaggerated. Although it is clear there were some in the Underground who were anti-semitic, the vast majority were not and welcomed Jewish help in the 44 Uprising.

Indeed one of the ..."


Interesting information Mcrmilhist thanks. My post is my own views from reading about the relationship between Jews and others and so your examples are a good foil to my post.


Cold War Conversations Podcast (cwcpodcast) | 66 comments Geevee yes very true and even sadder was the Keilce Pogrom in Poland in 1946! over a year after the discovery of the Death Camps.

More info here http://www.ushmm.org/wlc/en/article.p...


message 32: by Colin (new)

Colin Heaton (colin1962) | 1914 comments Travelin wrote: "Mcrmilhist wrote: ""One of the bravest scenes Edelman witnessed during the war was the sight of a man entering the Warsaw transit station for the transports to Auschwitz with his son on his shoulde..."

There was in fact open anti-Semitism in Poland, not unique in Eastern Europe. Remember that Galician Poles formed one of the most effective death squad auxiliaries. In addition, the Uprising of 1943 was almost entirely a Jewish event, they received little non Jewish Polish support. The 44 Uprising was different, called the General Uprising because the Red Army was closing in, that gave 'braveheart" syndrome to the Gentiles and any Jews remaining in hiding.


message 33: by Travelin (new)

Travelin | 104 comments @Geevee, Your second TBR, White Eagle..., will help me understand why Poland found itself in the precarious position of having enemies on two fronts, post-WWI.

Sometimes WWII seems like part II of Monty Python's Meaning of Life: "To Commemorate...all those who so gallantly gave their lives to keep China British"


message 34: by Geevee, Assisting Moderator British & Commonwealth Forces (new)

Geevee | 3796 comments Travelin you have hit on a rich vein of humour for me - Life of Brian is also a favourite.


message 35: by Manray9 (new)

Manray9 | 4216 comments Colin wrote: "Travelin wrote: "Mcrmilhist wrote: ""One of the bravest scenes Edelman witnessed during the war was the sight of a man entering the Warsaw transit station for the transports to Auschwitz with his s..."

Good points. Many apologists for Poland conveniently forget that, outside Nazi Germany, the most stringent anti-Semitic laws in the pre-WW II era were instituted by the authoritarian Polish regime of the late-1930s.


message 36: by Manray9 (new)

Manray9 | 4216 comments Travelin wrote: "@Geevee, Your second TBR, White Eagle..., will help me understand why Poland found itself in the precarious position of having enemies on two fronts, post-WWI.

Sometimes WWII seems like part II of..."


Geevee is right on the money (as usual). I too endorse:

White Eagle, Red Star The Polish-Soviet War 1919-1920 and The Miracle on the Vistula by Norman Davies White Eagle, Red Star by Norman Davies.


message 37: by Geevee, Assisting Moderator British & Commonwealth Forces (new)

Geevee | 3796 comments Mcrmilhist wrote: "Geevee yes very true and even sadder was the Keilce Pogrom in Poland in 1946! over a year after the discovery of the Death Camps.

More info here http://www.ushmm.org/wlc/en/article.p......"


Thank you Mcrmilhist. The article was interesting and and I shall look to see if I can access the further reading too.


message 38: by Geevee, Assisting Moderator British & Commonwealth Forces (new)

Geevee | 3796 comments One of the further reading is by the author I quote above who I have wanted to read so double thanks as this looks interesting too: Pogroms Anti-Jewish Violence in Modern Russian History by John Doyle Klier Pogroms: Anti-Jewish Violence in Modern Russian History by John Doyle Klier


message 39: by Rory (new)

Rory (rorygallagher) | 124 comments Patton Papers, 1940-1045
Letter, GSP, Jr., to Frederick Ayers, January 14, 1944
...
I am not the first General to catch hell; Wellington had plenty of it, as did Grant, Sherman, and countless others.
I am quite worried over the reaction after the war. I have already met several quite intelligent men who say "Now we will have no more wars"...The avowed purpose of the treaty at Vienna in 1814 was to see that was the last war. Around 1700 BC the Hitities, Cretans, and Egyptians had a tri-party treaty to avert wars, and we learned about it in 1914. Some explorers discovered the Hitite capital and in the library discovered the bricks with the treaty on them---yet before the mud had dried, the Egyptians and Cretans had ganged up and destroyed the Hitites.
If we again think that wars are over, we will surely have another one and damned quick. "Man is WAR" and we had better remember that. Also, we had better look out for ourselves and make the rest of the world lout out for themselves. If we try to feed the world, we will starve and perhaps destroy America...


message 40: by Travelin (new)

Travelin | 104 comments Rory wrote: "Patton Papers, 1940-1045
Letter, GSP, Jr., to Frederick Ayers, January 14, 1944
...
I am not the first General to catch hell; Wellington had plenty of it, as did Grant, Sherman, and countless other..."


Howard Zinn, a former WWII bombadier, once said that he believed conflict was inevitable but in modern history the scale had outstripped the purpose.


message 41: by Nick (new)

Nick | 88 comments Mcrmilhist wrote: "I think it's exaggerated. Although it is clear there were some in the Underground who were anti-semitic, the vast majority were not and welcomed Jewish help in the 44 Uprising. ..."

Well, maybe.

There is little doubt that Polish anti-semitism was pretty virulent and there is plenty of data that indicates that the Poles contributed signficantly to the Final Solution.

Maybe the best evidence is that, by 1960, the Jewish populations of every country in Europe, including Germany, had returned or exceeded their pre-war levels. Except one. Poland.

That's a pretty good indicator of the situation on the ground.


message 42: by Chin Joo (last edited Jan 10, 2014 07:55PM) (new)

Chin Joo (quekcj) | 282 comments Not exactly my favourite passage, but I've just finished this book and thought this passage worth sharing:

昭和史第一部(下)1926-1945 by 半藤一利 昭和史第一部(下)1926-1945

Referring to the Battle of Kohima when Japan suffered a huge defeat, it appeared that the two commanders Renya Mutaguchi and Masakazu Kawabe knew they stood no chance to winning and their forces were about to be annihilated. Yet both of them would not order a retreat. Post war, this was what they wrote in their respective diaries:

Renya Mutaguchi: Although I wanted to say that it's already time to quit the fight in Imphal, when these words reached my mouth, I just couldn't get them out. I could only hope that someone would be able to tell from my expression.

Masakazu Kawabe: I got the impression from Mutaguchi's expression that there was something he wanted to say but just could not bring himself to. I didn't probe, and the meeting ended that way.



message 43: by Manray9 (new)

Manray9 | 4216 comments Chin Joo wrote: "Not exactly my favourite passage, but I've just finished this book and thought this passage worth sharing:

昭和史第一部(下)1926-1945 by 半藤一利 昭和史第一部(下)1926-1945

Referring to ..."


Good post, Chin Joo. It strikes me as typically Japanese.


message 44: by Geevee, Assisting Moderator British & Commonwealth Forces (new)

Geevee | 3796 comments Chin Joo wrote: "Not exactly my favourite passage, but I've just finished this book and thought this passage worth sharing:

昭和史第一部(下)1926-1945 by 半藤一利 昭和史第一部(下)1926-1945

Referring to ..."


Fascinating insight into the minds and thoughts of the Japanese in this period Chin Joo.


message 45: by Chin Joo (new)

Chin Joo (quekcj) | 282 comments "Good post, Chin Joo. It strikes me as typically Japanese."

No Manray9, it's typically Asian. We and our concept of Face.


message 46: by Manray9 (last edited Jan 10, 2014 08:04PM) (new)

Manray9 | 4216 comments Chin Joo wrote: ""Good post, Chin Joo. It strikes me as typically Japanese."

No Manray9, it's typically Asian. We and our concept of Face."


I lived in Japan for three years (1980-1983) and so much confusion and misunderstanding took place because we had so many communications difficulties. The Japanese wouldn't say "no," so we often thought we had an agreement about some matter, but they expected us to read their body language and understand the unstated. Confusion resulted and, sometimes, hard feelings. Needless to say, it was an education.


message 47: by Jill (new)

Jill Hutchinson (bucs1960) | 155 comments I remembered this quote only because it is one of the great understatements of all time. Spoken by Sir Percy Loraine, British ambassador in Rome in 1939:

"Herr Hitler's language and behavior showed clear signs of mental abnormality."


message 48: by 'Aussie Rick', Moderator (new)

'Aussie Rick' (aussierick) | 17119 comments That's a good one Jill :)


message 49: by Geevee, Assisting Moderator British & Commonwealth Forces (last edited Mar 20, 2014 03:02AM) (new)

Geevee | 3796 comments Jill wrote: "I remembered this quote only because it is one of the great understatements of all time. Spoken by Sir Percy Loraine, British ambassador in Rome in 1939:

"Herr Hitler's language and behavior showe..."


Good quote Jill - I had to look up Sir Percy and seems he had an interesting life but not favoured by his staff nor Churchill: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sir_Perc...

This book is about him: Professional Diplomat; Sir Percy Loraine: Of Kirkharle, Bt., 1880 1961 [No cover] by Gordon Waterfield


message 50: by Selena (new)

Selena So, so, so many from The Book Thief: "How did it look?"

Max lifted his head, with great sorrow and great astonishment. "There were stars," he said. "They burned my eyes."


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