Book of the Week: Why the Allies Won

I just finished reading Why the Allies Won by Richard Overy.

Wow. I did not expect this book to take 16 days to read. It's ten chapters, but each chapter took about 3 hours to get through - a lot thicker than I thought. I had to look up 65 words (which are what you see me posting now) to fully understand everything that was being said.

But man, did I learn a lot. The book poses the question in chapter 1, why did the Allies win? It dismisses the obvious answers and begs the question of what really happened. While it seems obvious in hindsight that the Allies would be victorious, in the middle years of the war it could have swayed either way. So why did we win?

Overy looks at the major theaters of the war:

  • The battle in the oceans (Stopping the U-Boat threat)
  • The battle eastern front and Soviet mobilization
  • The battle for air supremacy and bombing
  • The invasion of Europe from western powers.

In each of these chapters, the major turning points are examined and how they came to be.

Following the major battles in the fronts, Overy looks at the other factors in the war. The economies, their manufacturing power, and how they were used. The quest for oil and how that hampered Axis abilities with the new technology being used in the war. The management of the militaries and leadership on both sides. And finally, the moral contest of the war, and how both sides thought of the conflict.

The book enlightened me on a great many things about World War II. It proved to be better than just a recap of what happened during the war; it went deeper and fundamentally sought after the harder question, why did we win?