Vera Lynn

Vera Lynn

Dame Vera Margaret Lynn CH DBE OStJ (née Welch; born 20 March 1917 is an English singer of traditional popular music, songwriter and actress, whose musical recordings and performances were enormously popular during the Second World War.

She is widely known as “the Forces’ Sweetheart” for giving outdoor concerts for the troops in Egypt, India, and Burma during the war as part of Entertainments National Service Association (ENSA).

The songs most associated with her are “We’ll Meet Again”, “

The White Cliffs of Dover”, “A Nightingale Sang in Berkeley Square” and “There’ll Always Be an England”.

She remained popular after the war, appearing on radio and television in the UK and the US and recording such hits as “Auf Wiederseh’n Sweetheart” and her UK number one single “My Son, My Son”.

Her last single, “I Love This Land”, was released to mark the end of the Falklands War.
In 2009, at the age of 92, she became the oldest living artist to top the UK Albums Chart, with compilation album We’ll Meet Again:

The Very Best of Vera Lynn.
Lynn also scored a number one in 2014, when she was 97, with the collection Vera Lynn:

National Treasure, and remains the oldest person to top the album charts.

Further, she released the compilation album of hits Vera Lynn 100 in 2017, to commemorate her centennial year, and it was a number-3 hit, making her the first centenarian performer to have an album in the charts.

She has devoted much time and energy to charity work connected with ex-servicemen, disabled children, and breast cancer. She is held in great affection by veterans of the Second World War and in 2000 was named the Briton who best exemplified the spirit of the 20th century.

Winston Churchill

Winston Churchill

Great Britain Sir Winston Leonard Spencer-Churchill (30 November 1874 – 24 January 1965) was a British politician, army officer, and writer. He was the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom from 1940 to 1945, when he led Britain to victory in the Second World War, and again from 1951 to 1955.

Churchill represented five constituencies during his career as a Member of Parliament (MP). Ideologically an economic liberal and imperialist,

for most of his career he was a member of the Conservative Party, which he led from 1940 to 1955, but from 1904 to 1924 was a member of the Liberal Party.

Of mixed English and American parentage, Churchill was born in Oxfordshire to a wealthy, aristocratic family.

He joined the British Army in 1895, and saw action in British India, the Anglo–Sudan War, and the Second Boer War, gaining fame as a war correspondent and writing books about his campaigns. Elected an MP in 1900, initially as a Conservative, he defected to the Liberals in 1904.

In H. H. Asquith’s Liberal government, Churchill served as President of the Board of Trade, Home Secretary, and First Lord of the Admiralty, championing prison reform and workers’ social security.

During the First World War, he oversaw the Gallipoli Campaign; after it proved a disaster, he resigned from government and served in the Royal Scots Fusiliers on the Western Front. In 1917, he returned to government under David Lloyd George as Minister of Munitions, then as Secretary of State for War and Air, and finally for the Colonies, overseeing the Anglo-Irish Treaty and Britain’s Middle East policy.

After two years out of Parliament, he served as Chancellor of the Exchequer in Stanley Baldwin’s Conservative government, returning the pound sterling in 1925 to the gold standard at its pre-war parity, a move widely seen as creating deflationary pressure and depressing the UK economy.

Out of office during the 1930s, Churchill took the lead in calling for British rearmament to counter the growing threat from Nazi Germany.

At the outbreak of the Second World War he was re-appointed First Lord of the Admiralty.

In 1940 he became prime minister, replacing Neville Chamberlain.

Churchill oversaw British involvement in the Allied war effort against Germany and the Axis powers, resulting in victory in 1945.

His wartime leadership was widely praised, although acts like the Bombing of Dresden and his wartime response to the Bengal famine generated controversy.

After the Conservatives’ defeat in the 1945 general election, he became Leader of the Opposition. Amid the developing Cold War with the Soviet Union, he publicly warned of an “iron curtain” of Soviet influence in Europe and promoted European unity.

Re-elected Prime Minister in 1951, his second term was preoccupied with foreign affairs, including the Malayan Emergency,

Mau Mau Uprising, Korean War, and a UK-backed Iranian coup. Domestically his government emphasised house-building and developed a nuclear weapon.

In declining health, Churchill resigned as prime minister in 1955, although he remained an MP until 1964. Upon his death in 1965, he was given a state funeral.

Widely considered one of the 20th century’s most significant figures, Churchill remains popular in Britain and throughout the West, where he is seen as a victorious wartime leader who played an important role in defending Europe’s liberal democracy from the spread of fascism.

Praised as a social reformer and accomplished writer, among his many awards was the Nobel Prize in Literature.

Conversely, his imperialist views and comments on race, as well as his sanctioning of human rights abuses in the suppression of anti-imperialist movements seeking independence from the British Empire, have generated considerable controversy.

Adolf Hitler

Adolf Hitler – Germany

Adolf Hitler (German: [ˈadɔlf ˈhɪtlɐ] (About this soundlisten); 20 April 1889 – 30 April 1945) was a German politician and leader of the Nazi Party (Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei; NSDAP).

He rose to power as the chancellor of Germany in 1933 and then as Führer in 1934.

During his dictatorship from 1933 to 1945, he initiated World War II in Europe by invading Poland on 1 September 1939.

He was closely involved in military operations throughout the war and was central to the perpetration of the Holocaust. Hitler was born in Austria—then part of Austria-Hungary—and was raised near Linz.

He moved to Germany in 1913 and was decorated during his service in the German Army in World War I.

In 1919, he joined the German Workers’ Party (DAP), the precursor of the NSDAP, and was appointed leader of the NSDAP in 1921. In 1923, he attempted to seize power in a failed coup in Munich and was imprisoned. In jail, he dictated the first volume of his autobiography and political manifesto Mein Kampf (“My Struggle”).

After his release in 1924, Hitler gained popular support by attacking the Treaty of Versailles and promoting Pan-Germanism, anti-semitism and anti-communism with charismatic oratory and Nazi propaganda.

He frequently denounced international capitalism and communism as part of a Jewish conspiracy.

By November 1932, the Nazi Party had the most seats in the German Reichstag but did not have a majority.

As a result, no party was able to form a majority parliamentary coalition in support of a candidate for chancellor.

Former chancellor Franz von Papen and other conservative leaders persuaded President Paul von Hindenburg to appoint Hitler as chancellor on 30 January 1933.

Shortly after, the Reichstag passed the Enabling Act of 1933 which began the process of transforming the Weimar Republic into Nazi Germany, a one-party dictatorship based on the totalitarian and autocratic ideology of National Socialism.

Hitler aimed to eliminate Jews from Germany and establish a New Order to counter what he saw as the injustice of the post-World War I international order dominated by Britain and France.

His first six years in power resulted in rapid economic recovery from the Great Depression, the abrogation of restrictions imposed on Germany after World War I, and the annexation of territories inhabited by millions of ethnic Germans, which gave him significant popular support.

Hitler sought Lebensraum (“living space”) for the German people in Eastern Europe, and his aggressive foreign policy is considered the primary cause of World War II in Europe.

He directed large-scale rearmament and, on 1 September 1939, invaded Poland, resulting in Britain and France declaring war on Germany. In June 1941, Hitler ordered an invasion of the Soviet Union. By the end of 1941, German forces and the European Axis powers occupied most of Europe and North Africa.

These gains were gradually reversed after 1941, and in 1945 the Allied armies defeated the German army.

On 29 April 1945, he married his longtime lover Eva Braun.

Less than two days later, the couple committed suicide to avoid capture by the Soviet Red Army.

Their corpses were burned.

Under Hitler’s leadership and racially motivated ideology, the Nazi regime was responsible for the genocide of at least 5.5 million Jews and millions of other victims whom he and his followers deemed Untermenschen (subhumans) or socially undesirable.

Hitler and the Nazi regime were also responsible for the killing of an estimated 19.3 million civilians and prisoners of war. In addition, 28.7 million soldiers and civilians died as a result of military action in the European theatre.

The number of civilians killed during World War II was unprecedented in warfare, and the casualties constitute the deadliest conflict in history.

Attack on Pearl Harbor

Attack on Pear Harbor

The attack on Pearl Harbor was a surprise, preemptive military strike by the Imperial Japanese Navy Air Service upon the United States (a neutral country at the time) against the naval base at Pearl Harbor in Honolulu, Territory of Hawaii, just before 08:00, on Sunday morning, December 7, 1941.

The attack led to the United States’ formal entry into World War II the next day. 

The Japanese military leadership referred to the attack as the Hawaii Operation and Operation AI, and as Operation Z during its planning.

Japan intended the attack as a preventive action to keep the United States Pacific Fleet from interfering with its planned military actions in Southeast Asia against overseas territories of the United Kingdom, the Netherlands, and the United States.

Over the course of seven hours there were coordinated Japanese attacks on the U.S.-held Philippines, Guam and Wake Island and on the British Empire in Malaya, Singapore, and Hong Kong.

The attack commenced at 7:48 a.m. Hawaiian Time (18:18 GMT).

The base was attacked by 353 Imperial Japanese aircraft (including fighters, level and dive bombers, and torpedo bombers) in two waves, launched from six aircraft carriers.

All eight U.S. Navy battleships were damaged, with four sunk.

All but USS Arizona were later raised, and six were returned to service and went on to fight in the war.

The Japanese also sank or damaged three cruisers, three destroyers, an anti-aircraft training ship, and one minelayer. 

188 U.S. aircraft were destroyed; 2,403 Americans were killed and 1,178 others were wounded.

Important base installations such as the power station, dry dock, shipyard, maintenance, and fuel and torpedo storage facilities, as well as the submarine piers and headquarters building (also home of the intelligence section) were not attacked.

Japanese losses were light: 29 aircraft and five midget submarines lost, and 64 servicemen killed.

Kazuo Sakamaki, the commander officer of one of the submarines, was captured.

Japan announced a declaration of war on the United States later that day (December 8 in Tokyo), but the declaration was not delivered until the following day. The following day, December 8, Congress declared war on Japan.

On December 11, Germany and Italy each declared war on the U.S., which responded with a declaration of war against Germany and Italy.

There were numerous historical precedents for the unannounced military action by Japan, but the lack of any formal warning,

particularly while peace negotiations were still apparently ongoing, led President Franklin D. Roosevelt to proclaim December 7, 1941, “a date which will live in infamy”.

Because the attack happened without a declaration of war and without explicit warning, the attack on Pearl Harbor was later judged in the Tokyo Trials to be a war crime