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Having won an unprecedented series of victories and acquired huge new territories in 1942, Germany and Japan seemed poised to dominate most of the world. A year later both empires were reeling back in the face of Allied assaults. The rapid turnaround, King's College history professor Richard Overy writes, came about largely as a result of technological innovation and strucHaving won an unprecedented series of victories and acquired huge new territories in 1942, Germany and Japan seemed poised to dominate most of the world. A year later both empires were reeling back in the face of Allied assaults. The rapid turnaround, King's College history professor Richard Overy writes, came about largely as a result of technological innovation and structural responsiveness. The Allies were able to convert their economies to a war footing with few institutional fetters,...

Title : Why the Allies Won
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ISBN : 9780393039252
Format Type : Hardcover
Number of Pages : 396 Pages
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Why the Allies Won Reviews

  • Dvd (polemologico e pantoclastico)
    2019-01-27 06:04

    Letto tutto d'un fiato, posso confermare le ottime recensioni qui presenti.Saggio estremamente dettagliato e di ampio (ampissimo) respiro, documentatissimo ma anche notevolmente lucido nelle analisi. Non è una storia della II GM, ma piuttosto una puntigliosa critica analitica del suo sviluppo militare e dei riflessi socio-economici che questi comportarono sui paesi interessati: da qui nasce la banale domanda che Overy si fa fin dal titolo, ossia perché gli Alleati vinsero la guerra (e viceversa perché non la persero).La risposta ovvia, e altrettanto banale, è che gli Alleati non potevano perdere una guerra moderna, fatta di freddi numeri e statistiche di produttività, in cui erano in smisurato vantaggio. Questo, che è e rimane senza dubbio vero, lo si dice però col famoso (e fuorviante) senno di poi. A un certo punto, suppergiù intorno al '40-'41-'42 la vittoria alleata era tutt'altro che sicura. Coi tedeschi a due passi da Mosca e, insieme agli italiani, a quattro passi dal canale di Suez e coi giapponesi dilaganti nel Sud-Est asiatico privo di difesa e coi mercantili anglo-americani affondati a mucchi nell'Atlantico. Qui Overy ci elenca le peculiarità che resero possibili la resistenza e la controffensiva, che sarà devastante: maggiore organizzazione e razionalizzazione logistica (nella produzione industriale in serie come nell'utilizzo di materie prime e nuove tecnologie), leadership migliore (attraverso creazioni di stati maggiori manageriali di grande dimensione, competenza specialistica e snellezza burocratica), vantaggio morale (indubbio, e fondamentale sul fronte interno).Poi ci sono i numeri, brutali e inappellabili: se la GB da sola non aveva la minima possibilità di vincere la guerra, quando i tedeschi inopinatamente attaccano la Russia e non riescono a piegarla del tutto con una guerra lampo, sul piatto della bilancia alleato viene a posarsi il gigantesco peso sovietico (che, credo io, sarebbe stato sufficiente da solo a sconfiggere i tedeschi) che la fa immediatamente (e nettamente) pendere dalla loro parte; quando poi entrano in campo gli USA, potremo dire che si ribalta il tavolo.Curioso il caso degli USA, prima potenza economica del mondo e principale forza navale mondiale ma, nel '39-'40, addirittura insignificanti dal punto di vista militare, ma che (pag. 478 del libro) erano passati nel '45 a dodici milioni di uomini nelle forze armate, più di 70 mila unità navali e almeno 73 mila aerei. Cifre pazzesche.Ecco, Overy - anche giustamente - ci dice di diffidare dai numeri, che da soli non riescono a spiegare un fatto complesso come vincere o perdere una guerra di tali dimensioni. E' vero. L'innovazione, la capacità di improvvisare nel pieno della crisi, la resilienza (industriale ma anche morale), la gestione produttiva e strategica furono senza dubbio aspetti fondamentali che spiegano perché gli Alleati vinsero, ma senza dubbio i freddi numeri sulla produttività industriale sovietica e - ancora di più - americana parlano più di intere biblioteche.Negli anni del conflitto i giapponesi riescono a produrre 7 portarei; gli americani, nello stesso periodo, ne varano 90 (novanta).Per l'Asse vincere la guerra divenne quasi proibitivo nel momento in cui entrò in scena anche l'URSS che, pur se impreparata e indebolita dalle purghe staliniane, possedeva risorse umani e industriali, nonché tecnologiche, tali da travolgere inevitabilmente il nemico alla lunga. Nel momento in cui gli americani passano dal ruolo passivo di fornitori al ruolo attivo di cobelligeranti, poi, la situazione diventa assolutamente impari. Un paradosso notevole è quello tedesco. La figura di Hitler è assolutamente centrale, soprattutto perché senza la sua figura sarebbe stato impensabile l'innesco della guerra (che, stavolta veramente, nessuno voleva visto lo spaventoso - e ancora fresco - ricordo dei massacri della Grande Guerra); tuttavia la sua guida si rivelò totalmente deleteria per la condotta militare del conflitto, continuamente condita di tremendi errori strategici. Ciò nonostante resta sbalorditivo come l'esercito tedesco sia riuscito a reggere, praticamente da solo, per quasi 5 anni un conflitto di queste dimensioni contro colossi del genere. Nessun altro paese al mondo, con l'esclusione degli USA e qualunque cosa si pensi dei tedeschi, avrebbe potuto resistere nello spaventoso logorio umano e materiale del fronte orientale. I tedeschi -ieri, oggi e penso domani - mi atterriscono e mi stupiscono insieme, negativamente e positivamente, e non riesco a farmene una idea generale che mi soddisfi in pieno: ogni tanto mi chiedo se, ancora oggi, siano la massima risorsa o il massimo pericolo del continente. Anche la guerra giapponese è paradossale. Un paese con una industria, all'epoca, di piccole dimensioni (di parecchio inferiore a quella italiana, per dire) che riesce con la pura forza di un esercito disciplinatissimo (oltre i limiti del fanatismo) e di una sola forza armata su tre (la marina) di idonee dimensioni, a fagocitare letteralmente tutta l'Asia del Sud-Est.Rimane l'Italia, buttata in una guerra assolutamente non gradita dalla popolazione a un livello di impreparazione tale da ritenere criminale, anche solo e esclusivamente per quello, chiunque la volle, da Mussolini (e Vittorio Emanuele, che al solito tacque e lasciò fare) in giù. Casta militare compresa. Resta il fatto, come Overy nota molto bene, che alla fine l'unico vero e assoluto vincitore della guerra furono gli USA, che si rivelarono per quello che sono ancora oggi: la più grande potenza militare e economica che si sia mai vista al mondo. L'URSS, i cui sacrifici furono di gran lunga i maggiori fra tutti quelli patiti dalle nazioni in campo, ottenne di riflesso con la vittoria anche l'obbligo di bere la coppa avvelenata del duello a distanza con gli americani per l'egemonia mondiale, che si rivelò alla fine letale per la sua stessa esistenza. La GB perse l'impero, entrò in una spirale economica declinante salvo rilanciarsi dagli anni '80 in poi come villaggio globale della finanza mondiale (finchè dura) e avamposto americano in Europa. Viceversa Germania Giappone e Italia vissero un incredibile boom economico che le trasformò nel giro di 20 anni in grandi potenze industriali.Credo che noi europei occidentali dovremo dire mille volte grazie ai russi. Fu principalmente col loro sangue e con i loro sacrifici che fascismo e soprattutto nazismo vennero sconfitti; e fu ancora dalla loro oppressione durante la dittatura sovietica post-bellica che nacque in occidente lo spauracchio comunista, in risposta del quale gli stati europei (col beneplacito americano) diedero definitivamente il là a quella straordinaria conquista che fu la socialdemocrazia (e lo stato sociale, ovviamente). E ringraziamo pure gli americani, di cui siamo certamente obbeddienti e proni vassalli, per la settantennale pace che hanno finora assicurato in Europa (loro e esclusivamente loro, via NATO). Critichiamo giustamente il loro dominio assoluto - e spesso deleterio, soprattutto in campo culturale - ma non dimentichiamo nemmeno che lo sviluppo pacifico europeo è dovuto prevalentemente alla loro presenza nel continente e al loro ruolo di mediatori e padri-padroni.Se se ne tornassero oltreoceano domani, onestamente la vedrei molto grigia....

  • Ray
    2019-02-01 05:55

    We know that the allies won the war but was this always on the cards?This book explores the underlying themes of the war in terms of production, leadership, morale, morals and the like. It argues that whilst the outcome was often in question during the dark days of 1940 and 1941, ultimately the sheer weight of the allies economies would prevail. That is not to say that the war was not a challenge, it was difficult to meld the efforts of the three principal allies (sorry France), each with its own objectives and political culture, across disparate theatres of war.The sheer might of US industry and Russian manpower meant that the war was efectively lost when the Wehrmacht failed to take Moscow in 41. This was not helped by the patent idiocy of Hitler declaring war on the US to show solidarity with a feeble Japanese ally, nor by his micromanagement of the war effort. An interesting read about the logistics of war rather than a direct narrative of the battlefield. War for accountants perhaps. Enjoyable.

  • Meirav Rath
    2019-02-08 08:04

    Excellent book. Not only does it shatter quite a few myths, it also answer the key question that is often regarded as obvious; why the allies won, really. Each chapter is very informative and interesting and the book as a whole, I think, is a must as a gateway to the second world war.

  • Ensiform
    2019-01-28 05:57

    Just as the title indicates, this is a thorough examination of how WWII, the outcome of which was decidedly uncertain before late 1943 or so, ended the way it did. Overy is a masterful and convincing historian, who over the course of 330 pages lays out a cogent argument based on everything from economy and materiel production to the warped philosophy of the Axis powers. It’s impossible to distill the mass of fascinating information into a paragraph, but there are a few main points that especially ring true.The first is, of course, the industrial production of the USA and USSR, unmatched by any of the Axis powers. Overy argues that America’s capitalist society and the Soviet centralized dictatorship where ideally suited to maximize their vast resources, while Hitler’s less focused, more competitive dictatorship failed to make the most of Germany’s limited resources. A telling example is when Hitler’s armies took Soviet oil fields, but then had no engineers to make the oil available to Germany, so it made no change in their production. Overy further argues that the Allied powers made simple, reliable, mass-produced weapons, and kept a healthy ratio of mechanics on hand. The opposite was true of the Germany industrial complex, which was fixated on ever newer technologies, so obsolescence and difficulty of repair became issues as the war progressed. Overy concludes that even Germany’s much-vaunted missile program, which was inarguably years ahead of anything the Allies had, was “a lost cause” for these reasons: impressive, yes, but not a war-winner.The second main theme is the rapid learning curve of the allied powers, who learned from their many early defeats and focused intently on producing only what was needed to win. The Germans and Japanese, by contrast, had a very slow learning curve, and coasted on early victories, believing that their militaristic will-to-power philosophy made victory a foregone conclusion This learning curve extended to every facet of the war – improvements in bombing, defense, codes, and so on ensured the Allies’ early losses were not often repeated.The final main theme that run through the whole book, though it’s not made as explicit as the others, is the mindset of the various leaders. Churchill, Roosevelt, and Stalin had many philosophical and strategical differences, but were able to work in lock step for the single goal of destroying Nazism utterly. Hitler had no such restraint, unable to maintain even the farce of an alliance with Stalin until the war in the west had been concluded. Stalin, for all his faults, promoted reliable men, wanted to hear the unvarnished truth about how the war was progressing, and allowed himself to be overruled when it came to important strategic decisions. Hitler, famously, removed officers who told him bad news and insisted on micro-managing the war. Perhaps the best example of how much this hurt Germany was Hitler’s insistence on treating the Normandy landings lightly, thinking they were only a ruse, until it was far too late. In all, this is an inexhaustibly fascinating book, one sure to promote argument among WWII buffs for its calm, reasoned analysis and sometimes unexpected conclusions.

  • Roger Burk
    2019-02-07 01:05

    It is amazing that Overy can write one medium-sized book that makes one rethink WWII. This is a high-level strategic look at the war, but still concrete and specific--sometimes tactical details had strategic consequences. Here is a sampling of Overy's arguments.Everyone knows that the Allies had the advantage in industrial capability, but Overy points out that that was only one factor among many. Germany actually had the industrial advantage throughout 1941 but did not capitalize on it. Paradoxically, the Germans were handicapped because industry was subordinated to the Army. Officers kept demanding new designs with the latest updates, resulting in small production runs and constant logistics and maintenance problems. No new German aircraft design during the war was a strategic success. In contrast, the Russian and American industrial organizers made decent designs in the huge quantities required to win the war.The greatest miracle of the war was the Russian evacuation of their heavy industry ahead of the German invasion. Without that, they could not have carried on the war. It was Bolshevism that gave them the ability--the Communist government had a couple decades of experience controlling heavy industry from Moscow, so they knew what had to be done. And Stalin's personality cult gave Russia the necessary unity of purpose.The German and Japanese warrior ethos actually worked against them. They sent all their efficient staff officers to the front instead of using them as staffers. The Allies valued and used good staff officers. The Americans could make top commanders out of soldiers who had never seen combat--Marshall and Eisenhower.The Anglo-American bombing campaign was one of the key factors in winning the war. It drew the Luftwaffe into a war of attrition they could not win, thus ensuring that the lodgement in Normandy could be defended.The war was mostly against Germany. 85% of the American effort was expended in Europe, and only 15% in the Pacific. The industrial bases of Italy and Japan were very limited compared to Germany (or the Allies, of course). And Hitler was particularly hated, even before the war, even though it was Japan and Italy who had actually embarked on wars of conquest, and even though the full murderousness of Naziism was not yet known. The peculiar barbarity and odiousness of his doctrines made a difference.

  • Edmond Dantes
    2019-01-30 06:56

    Conferma e Negazione di una teoria. Basta avere un PIL più forte del nemico per vincere la Guerra. Aiuta, è vero, ma non è sufficiente, vedi Vietnam o Afganistan, se non è supportato da una volontà morale di combattere e, in secondo luogo, da una catena di comando eccellente. Paradossalmente, per la vulgata comune questo fu ottenuto dalle democreazie occidentali (e dai Russi) ma non dai tedeschi il cui "caporale boemo" come lo definiva Hindemburg aveva il vizio di entrare troppo nei dettagli tecnici - che non conosceva...Mi ha colpito un patragrafo : i tedeschi si stavano già preparando alla guerra degli anni '50 : missili, Jet etc...; peccato che nel frattempo non costruivano le armi per il conflitto che stavano combattendo.Un' appunto : qualche tabella in più avrebbe fatto comodo.

  • David
    2019-02-05 06:52

    An excellent book, and one that makes you think. Virtually every paragraph Overy writes could be expanded into an essay of its own, or indeed a whole other book. Overy's synthesis of the voluminous archive material is simply masterful, and he cuts through the fog of war, and the conflicting analysis' of the war, with lucid prose and convincing arguments. While I'm no expert, I've read a lot about WWII, and I find much of his argument persuasive. If you're looking for a book explaining why the Allies won - not how, but why - you can't go wrong here.I reviewed this book on my blog back in December, 2007. Read more here:http://whatsnew-dc.blogspot.com/2007/...

  • Gram
    2019-02-14 05:06

    A decent & succinct view of why the Allies defeated Nazi Germany and Japan. Covers everything from the economics of mass production of weapons to the morality of the Allies' reasons for fighting Hitler.

  • Ilya
    2019-02-18 06:50

    In 1942, the Axis Powers of World War II seemed on the verge of winning the war; in 1945, they lost, and the Allied Powers won. What happened? The most important reason was the capacity of the Soviet people to sacrifice everything, evacuate and recreate industrial infrastructure in unoccupied Ural, Siberia, Volga valley and Central Asia, continue producing tanks, airplanes and other weapons, and keep fighting. To what extent this sacrifice was voluntary, and to what done at gunpoint is really beside the point. The second most important reason was the enormous industrial capacity of the United States switching to war production. In 1943, Japanese shipyards produced 3 aircraft carriers, and in 1944, 4; American shipyards produced 90 in these years. Mass production, used so successfully for making cars before the war, was adapted to making bomber aircraft and cargo "Liberty" ships. The Allies also made better use of technology. A modern Russian handbook for high school history teachers became famous for calling Stalin "an effective manager". The real effective manager of the war was Albert Speer, the Reich Minister of Armaments; by 1944, he reduced 42 aircraft models to 5, 151 trucks to 23, a dozen anti-tank weapons to 1, and so on for all weapons. However, this was too late, when Germany was already losing the war; lack of spare parts and trained mechanics plagued the Wehrmacht. In contrast, the Soviets had 2 main models of tanks and 5 main models of aircraft. When they realized that they were losing the war with ordinary weapons, the Germans tried to win it with futuristic weapons: jet fighters, ballistic missiles, cruise missiles, while lacking banal trucks. The Americans only had one futuristic weapon, the atomic bomb, and the Soviets had none; after the war, the Americans whisked away German weaponeers such as Wernher von Braun and Hans von Ohain to make Cold War weapons for them.One chapter I found very interesting was about the Allied bomber offensive. It failed to terrorize the German people into surrendering, and it failed to stop the increase in German war production. What it succeeded in doing was drawing the resources away first from the Eastern Front, and later also from the Western Front. In 1943-1944, German aircraft production switched to fighters from bombers, and 2/3 of German fighters were fighting Anglo-American bombers, allowing the gigantic battles on the Eastern Front to proceed without German bombing. The 88mm gun was very effective at destroying Soviet tanks; instead, 3/4 of them were aimed at Anglo-American bombers. All in all, in 1944 direct destruction of industry and diversion of manpower and resources to anti-aircraft defense together cost the Germans approximately half of their battlefront weapons and equipment. If this wasn't another front in the war, what was it?There are also chapters on the Battle of Stalingrad, the Battle of Kursk, the invasion of France, wartime diplomacy, Allied and Axis leadership, but there are already hundreds of books on these topics. I think the most interesting chapters are about the war of economies and the war of technologies.

  • Chuck
    2019-02-17 05:50

    In this book, Overy says, "The Allies won the Second World War because they turned their economic strength into effective fighting power, and turned the moral energies of their people into an effective will to win." In essence, Overy is countering the argument from material determinism which states that the outcome of the war was all but inevitable because of the overwhelming advantage in manpower and industrial production possessed by the Allies. I didn't feel that Overy made his case. I tend to agree with the determinists, and I agree with historians like John Ellis who wrote that Hitler lost the war as soon as he declared war on Russia. He then compounded that error by declaring war on the United States.

  • Michael Leach
    2019-01-28 00:59

    Although I am fully aware of the progress of the three fronts during WWII, this book shows them all in the same book and reveals how they were interconnected. I am taking a wild guess here, but I think this one turns out okay for the Allies

  • Rick Wong
    2019-02-11 01:07

    This is a good reference book as well, somewhere between beginner and expert. Overy goes into the different aspects of WW2, not just the obvious military side, but the economical, the moral side, technological, and each of the main world leaders. A couple good numbers references for papers.

  • Rick
    2019-02-02 01:10

    I know a lot of military history but this book really showed events from a fresh angle. R

  • Nishant Pappireddi
    2019-02-03 02:06

    This was a very informative book that talked about the various causes of Allied victory, and refuted the impression that it was inevitable because of their material wealth alone.

  • Mary Catelli
    2019-02-09 05:49

    A look at World War II, taking in a few of the most crucial battles in about half the book, to take in a slew of other issues in the other half. Interesting stuff. Lots of interesting details.The battles he cites are the Battle of Midway -- determined by ten American bombs -- the Battle of the Atlantic, the Battles of Stalingrad and Kursk, the strategic bombing, and D-Day.The Battle of the Atlantic was seriously helped at one point by the Leigh Light, which had been developed contrary to orders -- an enormous spotlight, which would allow an airplane that was losing track of a sub because it was too close for the radar, to turn to the naked eye to spot it, even at night. It was briefly very useful, until it inspired the Germans to develop a technique to detect the radar and so render it useful. So then it was a question of developing new, centrimetric radar that they couldn't detect, deploying more Leigh lights, getting more airplanes and deploying escort carriers. Steadily mounting losses hid that the techniques were a success in one sense: the Germans were inflicting higher losses by having more subs, each of which was sinking fewer and fewer ships, and having a more and more restricted area of operations. But one month, everything hit critical mass. It went from their worst losses, to the Allies sinking more submarines than they got merchant ships in two months. The Germans pulled back the subs. After a bit, with two months with no losses, it dawned on the Allies that they had won. A while later, the Germans tried again -- the Allies sunk three times as many subs as they sank ships.Stalingrad -- one reason they won was that Stalin finally managed to listen to his generals, who laid out a plan to cut off the supply lines and explained that they had to cut it far off to ensure that the Panzer division could not turn its tanks back on the force. And it took a long time to assemble the appropriate task force. Once they had managed to cut Stalingrad off, the battle there went on and on and on -- partly because the Soviets had grossly underestimated how many Germans were in the city. When the commander finally surrendered, Hitler put all the blame on him personally, betraying all the courage of German soldiers with one cowardly soul. But then the Soviet were pursuing the Germans so hard that they lost their own supply chain, the Germans managed to actually rebound, and then the Battle of Kursk tried to seize the German initiative again. It was ugly.About as ugly as the strategic bombing campaign, which started by smashing Hamburg to smithereens, with flames that could be seen for 120 miles, a million people homeless, and 40,000 dead. The notion of throwing aluminum through air to foil the enemy radar took some argument before implementation, for fear of giving Germany the idea to use it, but they finally went with it. Though the bombing campaigns were enormously dangerous until finally the Allies sent escort fighters. That took adding new fuel containers, so they could fly the distance -- a bright idea that they had had earlier rejected because of the added weight. He discusses the impact of bombing and points out that it definitely had an impact. One that can be quantified, because large chunks of industrial production was turned from generating other war material to producing stuff that fought off bombing. Also, it appeased Stalin, who really, really, really wanted a Second Front.He wanted it so much that the Americans finally resorted to dragging him into the British-American discussions. Great Britain wanted to fight it like the Napoleonic Wars, the United States like the American Civil War, and that we had D-Day told you which side won. The whole elaborate rigmarole of the FUSAG -- First United States Army Group, which didn't exist. It didn't keep the Germans from finding about the intended Normandy invasion, which was just as well -- the Germans assumed that they intended as a diversion, or part of a pincer attack, which helped them not commit enough forces to fight off D-Day. The Mulberries, which were basically artificial ports to take supplies. The Rhinoceros, where a Sherman tank was given means to tear through hedgerows while Germans were confined to roads. And how they had a terrible storm the next open period, if Eisenhower had decided to push D-Day off.Then the book gets into the industrial side of things, which is fascinating. The Soviet Union packed up factories and sent them off to Siberia. Many workers were getting factories going again on packed, frozen earth. And production plummeted. But within a year, they had rebounded, producing more than Germany did, and improving still more the year after that. They managed to improve production processes while they were going, and the destruction of the equipment was beneficial in that it allowed them to rebuild from the ground up, with better stuff. And they sent repair crews into battle with the tanks. The factors that allowed this -- he has some fun disentangling such effects as the personality cult, the resurgent patriotism, and the command economy.The United States did even better. But what happened was that the guy in charge of the Office of Production Management called together a bunch of businessmen, listed what was needed, and asked for volunteers. Which meant they unleashed the mind behind mass production. They invented a new way to build ships, so that instead of building it from the hull up, you welded together pre-fabricated sections, and that meant that while they chopped the man-hours needed to a third of the old, they chopped down the actual number of days to one-nineth of before. Retooling was daunting -- weapons needed a lot more precision than cars -- but once they got rolling they started to over-produce their orders. Plus, of course, the Great Depression meant that the United States did not have that much trouble attracting a work-force, at least compared to Germany and Japan, and even the Soviet Union.Meanwhile, in Germany, they tried to mobilize the country, and while the Soviet Union was cut off from assets, they captured assets. They produced nothing like it. Then, they had a tradition of contempt for American mass production and favored craftsmanship. They did produce a lot better weapons, the Allies stole the notions to use in the following decades, but they didn't produce the quantity. They didn't even produce standardization. And spare parts.All of which meant the Allied forces, increasingly mechanized, blasted through the Axis ones. And in other things -- in the Pacific War, there were four tons of supplies for every American soldiers, and two pounds for every Japanese one. Japan had compensated for inferior weapons by intensive training of its armed forces, but as the war chewed up the trained men, they were a lot harder to replace than equipment. And Germany would never have put men, such as Marshall, who had no combat experience, in high command. But Marshall treated supplying the army as important as fighting it. American forces had 18 personnel behind every combat soldier. In the Soviet Union, the Director of the Red Army Rear was treated as a figure as important as the combat commanders.Denying the Axis oil helped still further. Japan had captured its oil, but never got the conveying under protection going sufficiently to get it back. And both Italy and Germany didn't capture oil fields, and were methodically denied it.The personalities of the leaders were also important. All the Allied leaders -- even Stalin -- had good managers under them that they let manage, and they had their personality flaws that interfered with the war, but the system managed to cope with them. Not so Hitler.And the populations of the Allied nations were more behind their leaders. The Axis powers roused some enthusiasm with victories but lost it with defeats.Like I said -- lots of interesting details. 0:)

  • Rodrigoabsoluto
    2019-02-19 02:50

    El libro es interesante, entretenido y de lectura rápida. Para el autor, el argumento clásico "los aliados ganaron por su superioridad material" es simplista y reduccionista. A lo largo de casi 500 páginas (Tusquets, colección Tiempo de Memoria), Richard Overy explica que los aliados efectivamente pudieron haber perdido la guerra, sobre todo en el periodo 1939-1942, momento de mayor poder del Eje. Y si al final superaron a Alemania, Japón e Italia, fue por una combinación de fortaleza moral, institucional, suerte e incluso casualidad. El poder material sólo explica una pequeña parte de la ecuación.Disfruté sobre todo con los capítulos dedicados a la economía de guerra, las diferencias doctrinarias entre el bombardeo táctico y el bombardeo estratégico y al extenso análisis de la moral del pueblo alemán, norteamericano y soviético, que finalmente dieron el piso para la actuación de los gobernantes.Lo que pretende el libro, finalmente, es que pensemos en la democracia como algo frágil. En momentos actuales, en que la democracia liberal se da por sentada, el libro es un recordatorio de lo golpeada y arrinconada que se encontraba en la primera mitad del siglo XX.La edición que me leí viene con decenas de motes ortográficos, que van trabando la lectura.

  • Chris Miller
    2019-02-16 00:55

    An interesting and somewhat persuasive monograph by a seemingly balanced British writer. He has an abundance of facts and information that is presented in a mostly interesting way. He does have a tendency to get bogged down in places, but even these episodes are rare and not off-putting. With regard to the balanced crack, he does not have any problems with addressing the whole Churchill, warts and all, but seems to be a dyed-in-the-wool member of the Monty Protective Society. Oh, St. Monty cleared the Hun out of North Africa and was the Eastern anchor for Normandy providing the “broad shoulder” for protecting the landing force. Part of this is the nature of the book, but the fact substantial questions have been raised over the last 70 years regarding his competence and drive deserve some comment. In addition, Bill Slim and the CBI are missing in their entirety. Their sacrifices have to be one of the reason the allies won.

  • Frederick
    2019-02-19 08:43

    While this book is an important resource on World War Two it does not reveal anything particularly new or unique. However, the author does skillfully draw together the factors that made the victory possible for one side and defeat likely for the other. The important thing was that it could have gone the other way with just a couple of things done differently. Germany and Japan could have won, were poised to defeat the world, but key blunders were made and a lack of foresight and understanding of their own inherent weaknesses led them to failure. Still, I do recommend this book for World War Two buffs and students of history.

  • Pierfrancesco Aiello
    2019-01-29 00:49

    it may seems that 1996 is long ago but this book has many insights that I did not find in more recent books about ww2 or more recent articles. Plus the argument made is consistent with all the other literature that I read recently, thus either the literature is completely wrong or overy was on the right tracks already.

  • Bradley Dyson
    2019-02-02 02:50

    In this book, Overy addresses the age old question- why did the Allies win the war? You may think you know why they won, but there is much more at play than what we learned in grade school! His sources are solid, and his book is laid out in a sensible manner that is very easy to follow. Great book!

  • Carl
    2019-01-21 08:55

    Sloppy research, simplified narrative, silly errors, and use of unreliable sources makes this a very disappointing read.

  • Josh
    2019-02-09 04:03

    Richard Overy's Why the Allies Won frames the Second World War as a contingent event wherein the margins of victory and defeat for either the Axis or Allies were slim until Germany lost the Battle of Kursk. His explanation of "why the allies won" is broken into eight component chapters: four focus on decisive victories on the battlefield and four advance moral, technical, political, or industrial explanations for allied victory. The foundation of allied victory occurred when American ingenuity in mass production and technical proficiency allowed the U.S. Navy to win the Battle of the Atlantic. Without the secure shipping lines across the Atlantic, Overy argues, it would have been extremely difficult for the Allies to amass enough manpower and resources to carry out Operation Torch in North Africa or the cross-channel invasion into France in 1944. Other decisive points were the Japanese defeat at Midway, the German defeat at Stalingrad, the German defeat at Kursk, the successful invasion of Normandy, and the Allied successes in the bombing campaigns against Germany. On the whole, Overy offers a simple explanation for allied victory: the Allies won the war because they secured meaningful victories on the battlefield when it mattered most. Overy rejects the arguments that Germany lost the war primarily because Hitler was a megalomaniac and poor strategist. The Soviet revival at Stalingrad was certainly aided by Hitler's stubbornness. However, the Soviet Union won at Stalingrad because its people and soldiers endured heavy sacrifices, reinvigorated the economy and mass production of war material, and developed a strong counter-offensive that enveloped German forces commanded by Paulus in Stalingrad. The Soviet economic miracle is the signature turning point in the Second World War according to Overy; in 1941-1942 the Soviet economy and army was on the brink of total collapse; in 1942-1943 the Soviets produced more airplanes, tanks, and other war implements than the Germans. Overy's chapters on technology, morale, political unity, and leadership are especially well-done and persuasive. To take one argument, while Germany possessed the most modern army in 1939-1940, it's army faced a severe de-modernization at the war progressed. The Wehrmacht relied more heavily on horses to haul its supplies, and the plethora of makes and models for its motorcycles, lorries, trucks, and tanks confounded mechanics and produced an inefficiency in mass production techniques. Meanwhile, the Allies relied on 1930s technology with incremental improvements and modifications that allowed the United States, especially, and the Soviet Union to a lesser extent, to mass produce its tanks, planes, and heavy guns. Of all the reasons for Allied victory, Overy seems to privilege at least three above the rest. First, the German military defeats at Stalingrad and Kursk annihilated more German divisions and crippled more of the Luftwaffe than all the military engagements on the Western Front. Essentially, Soviet victories on the Eastern Front made a two-front war for Germany an extremely difficult situation, if not unwinnable, after western forces landed in Normandy. Second, the Allies gained overall air supremacy by 1943-1944, which made German counter-offensives and defensive maneuvers untenable. Third, the allies possessed far more efficient systems for military management and organization that recognized and promoted talent and genius. This is a solid book that is both sweeping in its narration of World War II and specific in its arguments. Other writers will surely critique and contest Overy's optimistic assessment of Allied strategic bombing—Overy argues that strategic bombing provided intangible benefits in German/Japanese work absenteeism, demoralization, and production slow-downs that ultimately saved more lives than it costed by bringing the war to a close more rapidly—but many of his reasons for why the Allies won have become influential and enduring.

  • zack
    2019-02-14 04:43

    I sense that Overy is a primarily military historian who’s attempting to be—in the vein of David Kennedy—a maximalist social/economic historian capable of crafting dynamic, colorful, even poetic scenes from American history. He’s not entirely successful: just look at that description of Hitler’s life on pp. 9-11, which reads like a Wikipedia-fied version of Kennedy’s artful character sketches. His juxtaposition of immersive military analysis astride “the means to victory” and the “moral contest” of the war exhibit this attempted poetic streak more than they exhibit his own argument; while by the end it seems clear that this is a tale of gradually escalating military supremacy, Overy is still eager to cram his “fighting for[/against] an evil cause” cherry on top of the sundae.Overy has a fetish for foreshadowing and symbol, depicting the pivotal scene of the events leading up to Pearl Harbor and American anxiety before delving into the significance of naval power during the war. In the same way, he begins his discussion of D-Day and France—much more familiar in terms of imagery and detail for our American brains—as far away from Europe as possible, offering an in-depth description of the invasion of Madagascar. However, his most effective chapter (at least, in terms of detail, characterization, and significance) avoids most of these gimmicks and just presents us with a straightforward, military narrative in the style of everyone’s high school history course: there are intricate battle maps, important names like Field Marshal Paulus and Marshal Chuikov and—of course—Stalin, and a million numbers and dates to keep track of as the Germans stumble back and forth across the steppe. Overy shows his mettle as a military historian as he juggles all of this without losing focus while keeping his readers interested at the same time.This is a good, fascinating book, but the attempts to integrate the moral and economic dynamics of war give it more bulk than Kennedy’s doorstop. The fourth chapter, detailing the increasing uncertainty and “manifold horrors” of bombing campaigns, serves as an excellent segue into the ninth chapter, but it’s derailed by two hundred pages of text that meanders through an attempted, again, maximalist discussion of Why the Allies Won. I was convinced from the time Overy executed his tripartite discussion of sea, land, and air, that the Allies won on a technological basis backed by strong morale. And while the detail Overy goes into in chapters five through eight was fascinating, and the depth of his research was incredible, did they ultimately end up redundant? Probably.Even if you don’t like cherries or nuts or coconut, I guess you can still enjoy a good ice cream sundae, though you might feel pretty bloated afterward. At any rate, do you find the civilian aspects of Overy’s narrative redundant? Would this have made for a more effective, streamlined discussion of Why the Allies Won had it focused strictly on their military conquests?Also, in what ways does Overy’s writing reflect his distinctly European perspective? In the American education system, do we effectively cover the wages of the brutal land war between the Soviets and the Germans?

  • Greg
    2019-02-02 06:00

    It wasn’t just gobs of stuff that won the war for the Allies. It was a combination of more intelligent use of resources, better leadership at the top, far superior inter ally cooperation, and vast improvements in their equipment and fighting skills.In short Soviet blood, American muscle, and British guts.“not one man in twenty in the government realizes what a grisly, dirty, tough, business we are in. They think we can buy victory.”Eisenhower 1942“(for) the Allies both dictatorship and democracies were committed to the rational exploitation of modernity.. The Axis states sought to press modernity into the service of irrational or reactionary causes.”“(for the Soviets) victory proved a poisoned chalice. The Soviet people did not win freedom or prosperity, but their sacrifices have made it possible for all the other warring states to enjoy them both.”

  • Jon
    2019-01-21 08:09

    I found this book to be a meaningful but somewhat dry explanation of the allies win in WW2. I certainly learned some things such as the signifigance of resources that allies could bare down on the axis but resources were not alone. Collaboration both of common language and democracy between the United States and England and the uncomfortable but utlimately successful alliance with the Soviet Union and how this was a necessary endeavor despite the development of the cold war shortly thereafter. The USSR after all absorbed about 80 percent of the Eastern conflict and allowed the US and Britain to take on a much smaller portion on the Western Front. The author Richard Overy covered both theatres of war, but primarily spent his time with the European conflict because in his eyes the Japanese conflict was not as devastating in terms of resources and human loss. That point is true but what Overy did not pontificate on which perhaps he should of would have been what if the axis won? His characterizations of the 3 principle leaders was something that certainly made me pause and want to learn more about them. I know plenty of FDR but Stalin and Churchill on the other hand interest in them was piqued by Overy. As Overy is English, he seemed unabashed at his criticsm of Churchill in stating that was a rather weak head of state lacking in tactical and strategical skills. In the end he hurried the conclusion through I thought and did not summarize fully some of his earlier salient points.

  • Stanley Hopcroft
    2019-01-31 00:59

    The first chapter deals with explaining why an Allied victory in the last world war was not obvious or inevitable; succeeding chapters amplify on the significant factors: air power (without flinching from the fact that what the allies meant by strategic bombing is indistinguishable from what warriors of a later age described as 'bombing them back to the stone age', and was nothing more than bombing civilians in cities. Bombing became important with the American realisation that they could destroy the Reich's air defences and thereby oblige their enemies to spend more defending cities); the Soviets (always controversial); Mass production; Normandy (oh yeah); Allied Unity; the sea war, and the moral imperative.A very readable and interesting analysis of strategic factors.I am looking forward to the authors book about the Soviet war effort.

  • Iain
    2019-02-14 01:04

    I didn't expect much from this book. I know why the allies won ... we all do right?Overy presents an excellent re-evaluation of how the Allies succeeded in WWII. I particularly liked the chapters on production/economies and technology. Well written and recommended for others.One of several books that intelligently reevaluate "what we know" about WWII in light of revelations since the fall of the Soviet Union and the declassification of reams of Allied documentation. That having been said, Overy's work predates the declassification of US Army Air Force studies into the ineffectiveness of air power (particularly tactical air power) and his conclusions as regards to the potency of air power seem optimistic in this day-and-age.

  • Al Johnson
    2019-02-15 03:56

    Overall Richard Overy presents a balanced analysis of, as the title says, why the Allies won World War II. His process highlights the war at sea, economy, unity of Allied effort, production methods, and moral component. All are remarkably detailed and free from most residual jingoism from the war. The only reason it wasn't a five star rating was that in Chapter 9 and 10, he fell into the trap he avoided during the previous chapters by conflating the Japanese and the Germans in his review. On the European front, his work is flawless to my knowledge, and he is like Weinberg in the opening of the doors to Soviet actions during the war and exposing the Allied partners facts. However, also like Weinberg, he is a little weaker with the background of the Asian theater overall.

  • David Nichols
    2019-01-21 05:49

    Probably the best single-volume history of the Second World War, Overy's book acknowledges that Allied victory was far from inevitable, and then clearly and carefully describes the causes of the Axis Powers' defeat: anti-submarine warfare, the defeat of the Imperial Japanese Navy, strategic bombing, the great land battles of Stalingrad and Kursk, the Normandy campaign, and the Allies' edge in industrial production. Overy takes pains to explain why each of these elements was important, and he is willing to make and support potentially controversial claims - like his argument that strategic bombing really did make a difference in Europe, or his closing remark that WWII actually "made the world safe for communism."

  • Dave
    2019-01-20 07:42

    Richard Overy's ""Why the Allies Won"" is a powerful look at the reasons why Russia, Britain and America won the Second World War, and why that victory was far from assured. He examines four crucial military campaigns -- the Eastern Front, the war in the Atlantic, the bombing of Germany and the invasion of France in 1944 -- and how these battles decided the course of the war. He also offers a fascinating look at how the Allies used their economic, political and military might to bring the war to a successful conclusion. Overy brings to light many details I had not read about before (for example, the Ford Motor Company produced more war material than the entire nation of Italy), making this book a delight to read. Highly recommended!