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Distributed for Imperial War Museums

The War on Paper

20 Documents that Defined the Second World War

Wars are fought by armies. But they are supported by documents—countless documents—from the first declaration to the final truce. The War on Paper shows just how revealing that rarely considered aspect of warfare can be, telling the story of World War II through close looks at twenty key documents from the IWM archives.
 
The documents addressed—all of which are presented in photographs—range chronologically through the course of the war. We see Hitler’s signed order to invade Poland from August 1939—and his last will and testament. Kindertransport identity papers help tell the story of the concerted efforts to keep children out of harm’s way, while Queen Mary’s ration book reminds us that sacrifice was broadly shared. A sketch showing the evacuation plan for units of the British Expeditionary Force to escape from the beaches at Dunkirk and General Bernard Montgomery’s handwritten plans for Operation Overlord, which was launched in June 1944 with Normandy landings—more commonly known as D-Day—show how some of the greatest feats in World War II were planned and accomplished.  
 
Together, these documents bring World War II to life, matching the grand scale of invasions and battles with the human scale of home front needs and individual actions. A powerful reminder of the scale of the largest conflict the world has ever seen, The War on Paper is a stunning, accessible work of history.

176 pages | 50 color plates, 40 halftones | 9 1/4 x 11 1/4 | © 2018

History: General History, Military History


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