A History of World War II
Volume 5 : 1944-1945: The Triumph of Freedom

D-Day is close. Freedom is close. At least, this is what the French are hoping in January 1944. But the path to the fall of the Third Reich is still long. Max Gallo tells the story of this march to freedom, the last volume in his great history of the Second World War.

1944: Roosevelt and Churchill are planning the Normandy landings for 6 June 1944. Unaware of these plans, De Gaulle dreams of his own people liberating France and restoring French sovereignty.

Held in a vice-grip by the allied forces, Axis powers were falling one after the other. In France, violence was escalating, becoming bloodier and more barbaric. The resistance was pulling together and getting organized and in retaliation, the German soldiers, militia and collaborators were massacring innocent people.

Hitler, who managed to escape an attack from his own side in July 1944 and in spite his own troops being trampled, still believes victory is possible; but as the Russians invade Berlin, he shoots himself in the head, leaving his generals to sign Germany’s unconditional surrender one week later.

In the Pacific, combat churns on. To bring down the Japanese, the American military uses the atomic bomb: on Hiroshima on 6 August 1945 and on Nagasaki on the 9th. On 2 September, the Japanese surrender and armistice is signed.

1945: tens of thousands are dead, but peace has been restored and freedom has triumphed. A new world must be built.

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