By Michael D. Hull  Coming after a series of bitter defeats from France to Norway to Crete, news of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor and America’s entry into World War II was one of the early high points of Prime Minister Winston Churchill’s leadership years. Great Britain now had a powerful ally in the struggle against fascism, and ultimate victory was a certainty. “So, we had won after all!” Churchill exulted. “We had won the war.” But the conduct of war is never simple, and the waging of a coalition war is fraught with challenge. The warrior leader who had inspired his island nation when it alone ensured the survival of Western civilization in 1940 could not foresee in December 1941 just how difficult it would be to coordinate a common strategy for defeating the Axis powers. The trouble had started with the massive German invasion of Russia in June 1941.  Acting on the principle that “the enemy of my enemy is my friend,” Churchill rallied to the aid of Soviet dictator Josef Stalin, dispatching convoys of tanks, trucks, planes, and other essential equipment that Britain could ill afford to spare. But with German troops pushing toward the gates of Moscow, Stalin demanded more on July 19. The Soviet leader was adamant about the opening of a second front to take the pressure off Russia. With her armed forces depleted after almost two years of war and stretched so thin around the world, Britain was hardly in a condition to plan a second front—an atta


$2 / Month

Subscribe now for only $3.99 $2 a month!

Unlimited Website Access, Thousands of Searchable Articles, Warfare Newsletter, and more.

Back to the issue this appears in