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Bill Thayer

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World War II Resources Onsite

The page before you is no more than a guide to a few items, mostly books, having to do with the history of the war. As my site has grown to over fourteen thousand webpages and about two hundred books on various historical topics, the increase in the number of such pages was inevitable, and this index may therefore prove useful to some. These pages are all in English, unless otherwise indicated.


[image ALT: A graphic of a choppy sea on which is superimposed a drawing of a person in a military uniform, wearing a military brimmed hat: but where the person should have a face, there is nothing, allowing the sea to be seen 'thru' it. The image serves as the icon on this site for the book 'The Man Who Never Was' by Ewen Montagu.]

A book on a now famous covert operation perpetrated by the British in World War II to fool the Germans into thinking there would be no invasion of Sicily in 1943; written by Ewen Montagu, the man who concocted and directed the plot, and thus a primary source — and a fascinating read: The Man Who Never Was.

[ primary source: 160 pages of print
— 19 webpages, 1 map, 22 photos, 1 other image ]


[image ALT: A head-and-shoulders portrait of a young woman in uniform against a solid background with a striped bar running down the left side. She is Bessy Myers, author of 'Captured', an account of her captivity in France in the early days of World War II. The design serves as my icon for this book thruout my site.]

Bessy Myers' Captured tells her story as a British ambulance driver in the Mechanised Transport Service, working in France in the early days of World War II: her capture by Germans at the front, her work in the military hospital of Soissons, her captivity in the notorious Cherche-Midi prison in Paris, and how she finally got back to England. It includes a gripping account of the exodus of soldiers and civilians before the German juggernaut in June 1940, some terrible scenes of suffering, and many revealing vignettes of life in wartime France. Soberly told, often in her own contemporaneous diary; one of the five or six best books on my site.

[ primary source: 314 pages of print
— 14 webpages, 1 photograph, 1 map ]


[image ALT: A photograph of a sprig of laurel on a dark background. The design serves thruout my site as my icon for Margaret Hughes' book 'Les lauriers sont coupés'.]

Less dramatic, but springing from the same altruistic impulse, is the story told by Margaret Hughes in Les lauriers sont coupés : the author left a comfortable life in New York City to go to France as a volunteer refugee relief worker in the shifting war zone, where she did sometimes dangerous work for which she would eventually be decorated by the French government. As she puts it, she saw the "Phony War," lived thru the entire Blitzkrieg, and stayed among the French in the Nazi-occupied zone for several weeks after the Armistice.

[ primary source: 251 pages of print
— 4 webpages; in French ]


[ALT de l'image : The words 'Été 1940' in a double line border. The design serves thruout my site as my icon for the book 'France Été 1940' thruout my site.]

Harvard professor André Morize found himself unexpectedly in the thick of the French retreat from the Blitzkrieg; he wrote a book about what he saw from June to September, 1940, titling it France : Été 1940 and adding reflections of various sorts, mostly to the effect that France's cultural values will both save her and make her worth saving.

[ primary source: 230 pages of print
— 13 webpages; in French ]


[image ALT: A small head-and‑shoulders photograph of a man in late middle age, in a military uniform, wearing a garrison cap, looking straight into the camera. He is Admiral William F. Halsey; the image serves as the icon on this site for his autobiography \'Admiral Halsey\'s Story\'.]

Among the great naval leaders of the twentieth century was Fleet Admiral William F. Halsey, USN: he has left us an autobiography, Admiral Halsey's Story, which includes several chapters on his earlier career but mostly details his World War II service in the South Pacific.

[ primary source: 483 pages of print
— 42 webpages, 79 photographs, 14 maps ]


[image ALT: A photograph of a small twin-engined World War II monoplane in the air. One of many illustrations of World War II planes in the book 'The Navy's Air War', and serves as the icon on this site for that book.]

At the end of World War II, the Navy's Aviation History Unit was tasked by the Deputy Chief of Naval Operations (Air) to tell the story of The Navy's Air War. The result is a dense, detailed book on every facet of American naval aviation in the Second World War: Pearl Harbor of course, then the forces and organization on hand at the beginning of the war, the war in the Atlantic, the Mediterranean, the Indian Ocean, and especially the Pacific; and several interesting chapters on the logistics behind it all.

[ 415 pages of print
— 38 webpages, 55 photographs, 5 maps ]

Onsite link

Two smaller items:

U. S. War Department Pamphlet No. 21‑1

My Year in Europe as a Prisoner of War

[ primary sources: 24 pages of print ]



[image ALT: A nebulous scene of fire in which the outline of several planes might be distinguished; it is based on a photograph of the preinvasion bombing of Pointe du Hoc in Normandy in World War II. This design serves to represent the section of my site on World War II history.]

Rather than the obvious triumphalist possibilities (flags, images of soldiers, etc.) I've preferred to use a graphic for this subsite that marked instead the fire and darkness of the conflict. The icon I settled on is my colorization of a U. S. Government photograph of the preinvasion bombing of Pointe du Hoc (Normandy) as found online in Gordon A. Harrison, U. S. Army in World War II, European Theater of Operations, Cross-Channel Attack, p195.


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Site updated: 15 Feb 21