A few months ago, I made an offhand comment to a friends posting on Facebook where I suggested that seven decades after the conflict we are still learning the real lessons of the Second World War. For much of that period, either because of contemporary international politics, or simply the fact that the information was publicly unavailable, we have constructed a history that is informed heavily by contemporary public accounts viewed through the prism of the Cold War years that followed.
At the same time, a growing crop of revisionists, while calling to light forgotten aspects of the war, have often taken small clues and gone a step — or many steps — too far. David Irving’s apologetics for the Nazis are less history than propaganda; and while Oliver Stone and Peter Kuznik raise some valid points (the forgotten role of the Red Army in Germany’s defeat deserves reconsideration in the West), they come with ulterior motives that warp their view of the conflict and undermine their historiography with demagoguery.
The role of this blog/publication is to walk what will hopefully be a straight path between the two extremes of the “received wisdom” on the War on the one hand and the radical revisionists on the other. For the sake of our present and our future, we must examine anew the lessons we took as victors in the conflict, test their veracity, and bring to light the forgotten triumphs that led to victory, all in an effort to understand what really happened. But at no time must we allow our political prejudices to guide that examination.
To fail to do so would not only betray our own history. It would also send us into future conflicts with inaccurate assumptions. Unfortunately, we have already made such errors, and in the course of this publication we will endeavor to bring those to light.
At the same time, we will highlight sources for the study of that history, recall forgotten efforts, and celebrate those historians – professional and amateur – who are shedding the greatest light on the conflict that changed the world. At times, we will dig into the war’s roots and venture into the conflict’s aftermath because we have found that those periods can tell us as much about the war as the hostilities themselves.
I have made an avocation of the study of World War II since I was eleven. What emerges here, then, is the product of that ongoing effort that began with the encouragement of parents and teachers and continues today with the support of my wife and the companionship of my son and my brother. I had hoped to turn that into a book, and I might do so one day, but I would rather not hold off on sharing what I have learned until I have eighteen months to start packaging it for a publisher.
Yet this is not intended as a personal vanity project, but as the beginning of a wider journey. Join us in the effort – your ideas, suggestions, and feedback are welcome. If you are interested in contributing, please let us know, and we will happily provide guidelines.
Wishing you great reading,
Editor and Publisher