The Great Crusade


The Great Crusade

A New Complete History of the Second World War, Revised Edition

H. P. Willmott

520 pages


June 2008


$34.95 Add to Cart
eBook (PDF)

July 2011


$34.95 Add to Cart

About the Book

“The best balanced one-volume history of the Second World War in its coverage of all the major themes and all the fronts. Willmott’s fresh insights into the war on the Eastern Front are an outstanding feature.” —Russell F. Weigley, author of Eisenhower’s Lieutenants: The Campaign of France and Germany, 1944–45The Great Crusade is a single-volume tour de force combining narrative, interpretation, and insight. Willmott has written both an outstanding operational history and a perceptive analysis of systems and societies in mortal conflict.” —Dennis E. Showalter, author of Patton and Rommel: Men of War in the Twentieth Century “One of the best one-volume histories of World War II. . . . Thorough in its coverage, entertaining in its treatment, and perceptive in its analyses. . . . Exceptionally readable.” —Sea Power Originally published in 1989 to commemorate the fiftieth anniversary of the war’s outbreak in Europe, the highly acclaimed The Great Crusade: A New Complete History of the Second World War, Revised Edition, provides a balanced account of both theaters of conflict in World War II and asserts that modern war is waged between systems and societies rather than among individuals. In this new revised edition, author H. P. Willmott provides a general overview of military events and relates them to political and economic factors, establishing a balance among the warring nations in terms of the conflict’s causes and its course of victory and defeat. The Great Crusade includes detailed analyses of the Soviet side of the conflict and offers comparisons between the American Civil War and the Pacific theater to explain Japan’s defeat. Willmott debunks the myth of German military proficiency, asserting that the German military was better at winning individual battles than waging war, thus resulting in its defeat. With its clear discussion of events, controversial interpretive frameworks, and new introduction, The Great Crusade is a well-written and engaging narrative history that will appeal to military buffs and scholars alike.

Author Bio

H. P. Willmott is a former professor at the Royal Military Academy, Sandhurst, and a fellow of the Royal Historical Society. He has written extensively on modern naval and military history and is the author or coauthor of several books, including The Battle of Leyte Gulf: The Last Fleet Action, which won the 2006 Distinguished Book Award from the Society for Military History. He is retired and lives in Surrey, England.


“A basic ‘foundation pick’ for any college-level or military library serious about World War II history.”—Midwest Book Review

"The second edition of a work first published in 1989, this book displays all of ned Willmott's skill, notably his erudition, range, and capacity for new insights. . . . A first-rate book."—World War II Quarterly

“Highly readable, well documented, and provides an excellent springboard for discussion.”—H-German, H-Net Reviews

Table of Contents

List of IllustrationsList of MapsPreface and Acknowledgments1: A New World and a New WarVersailles SettlementLocarnoJapanese ImperialismCivil war in ChinaManchurian CampaignRise of HitlerAbyssinian CrisisOccupation of the RhinelandSpanish Civil WarCampaign in ChinaAnschlussMunich CrisisBritish guarantee to PolandNazi-Soviet PactAnglo-Polish AllianceOutbreak of War2: Conquest by InstallmentsHitler’s leadershipPolish campaignWar at seaScandinaviaThe Winter WarNorwegian campaignCampaign in Western EuropeFall of FranceBalkans diplomacyEast AfricaBattle of BritainItaly and the invasion of GreeceNorth AfricaCampaigns in Yugoslavia and GreeceBattle for CreteBattle of the AtlanticOperation BarbarossaSoviet moves and counter-attacksStart of the Pacific War3: Global ConflictAspects of the Pacific WarPearl HarborSiam and MalayaInvasion of the PhilippinesHong Kong, Borneo, campaign in the IndiesFall of SingaporeBurmaCoral SeaMidwayGermany declares war on the United StatesBattle of the AtlanticNorth Africa and El AlameinNew GuineaGuadalcanalGerman position, mid-1942Defeats in the Crimea, KharkovAdvances towards Stalingrad and the CaucasusSoviet counter-attackTorch landingsAxis retreat from Egypt and LibyaOperations: Uranus, Little Saturn, Gallop, StarKharkov4: 1943 and the Eleventh Principle of WarReview of 1943Casablanca conferenceAllied conferencesU.S. policy in the Pacific, China, BurmaBattle of the AtlanticConvoy lossesImpact of Allied sea powerStrategic air offensiveArea bombing policyPointblank directiveWar economiesEastern FrontKurskWavering of Germany’s allies5: Time, Space and DoctrineProblems of Germany and Japan comparedThe Pacific, 1943Campaigns in the Solomons, eastern New Guinea, the GilbertsBurma: Arakan and Chindit operationsChinaTrukClearing of the MarshallsHollandia operationU.S. landings in western New GuineaSaipanBattle of the Philippine SeaMediterranean policyLandings in SicilyItalian campaignOperation OverlordOperation Market GardenEastern FrontSoviet 1944 operationsDefection of Germany’s alliesRetreat from Greece and southern YugoslaviaDefense of Hungary6: Kalo’smiSituation in ChinaIchi-Go offensiveImphal and KohimaJapanese defeats in the PacificBattle of Leyte GulfCampaign on LuzonStrategic bombing campaigns against Germany and JapanGerman recovery, late 1944Allied operations in France and the Low CountriesArdennes campaignEastern FrontVistula-Oder offensiveLiberation of the death campsClearing the west bank of the RhineYalta conferenceSoviet drive on BerlinSuicide of HitlerGerman surrenderLiberation of PragueLast months of Japanese warManhattan projectPotsdam declarationIwo JimaOkinawa campaignHiroshima and NagasakiManchurian campaignJapanese surrender7: The AccountingAppendixes and PostscriptBibliographyCampaign indexGeneral index