History of the Second World War

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The History of the Second World War is the official history of the British contribution to the Second World War and was published by Her Majesty's Stationery Office (HMSO). The immense project was sub-divided into areas to ease publication, United Kingdom Military Series, the United Kingdom Civil Series for the civilian war effort; the Foreign Policy series, the Intelligence series and the Medical series are eponymous. Other volumes not under the aegis of the series but published by HMSO may be read as adjuncts, covering matters not considered in great detail or at all, in one case, in the main series. Further volumes, published after the privatisation of HMSO or in the series about the Special Operations Executive, are also useful.

The volumes were intended to be read individually, rather than in series, which led to some overlapping but in their introductions to their parts of the series, Sir Keith Hancock and Sir James Butler wrote that this was to obviate a need to read more volumes than cover the part of the war effort being studied; Hancock edited the Civil Series and Butler the Military Series. The first volume appeared in 1949 and the last in 1993, with a revised edition of one volume appearing in 2004. An unorthodox decision was to cover the conflict from a theatre of operations point of view rather than by service, to acknowledge that military operations were intimately linked.

The works published before 1970 lack references to unpublished sources until government archives were opened to an extent by the Public Records Act 1958 and the Public Records Act 1967. The works were published with only references to published sources because British constitutional conventions on the anonymity of government officials and ministers were followed, leading to a somewhat detached narrative style in some cases. A parallel series of volumes for official use were printed, which referenced the unpublished sources in manuscript, in red ink. A few official copies escaped into public libraries and these additions can be seen.

Volumes

United Kingdom Military Series

  • Grand Strategy
  • The War at Sea
    • Volume I: The Defensive, Captain Stephen Roskill, 1954
    • Volume II: The Period of Balance, Captain Stephen Roskill, 1956
    • Volume III, Part 1: The Offensive, Captain Stephen Roskill, 1960
    • Volume III, Part 2: The Offensive, Captain Stephen Roskill, 1961
  • The Strategic Air Offensive against Germany
    • Volume I: Preparation, Sir Charles Webster and Noble Frankland, 1961
    • Volume II: Endeavour, Sir Charles Webster and Noble Frankland, 1961
    • Volume III: Victory, Sir Charles Webster and Noble Frankland, 1961
    • Volume IV: Annexes and Appendices, Sir Charles Webster and Noble Frankland, 1961
  • Defence of the United Kingdom, Basil Collier, 1957
  • The Campaign in Norway, Thomas Derry, 1952
  • The War in France and Flanders, 1939–40, Major Lionel Ellis, 1954
  • Victory in the West
    • Volume I: Battle of Normandy, Major L. F. Ellis et al., 1962
    • Volume II: Defeat of Germany, Major L. F. Ellis et al., 1968
  • War against Japan
    • Volume I: The Loss of Singapore, Major-General Stanley Woodburn Kirby et al., 1957
    • Volume II: India's Most Dangerous Hour, Major-General Stanley Woodburn Kirby et al., 1958
    • Volume III: The Decisive Battles, Major-General Stanley Woodburn Kirby et al., 1961
    • Volume IV: The Reconquest of Burma, Major-General Stanley Woodburn Kirby et al., 1965
    • Volume V: The Surrender of Japan, Major-General Stanley Woodburn Kirby et al., 1969
  • The Mediterranean and Middle East
    • Volume I: The Early Successes against Italy, to May 1941, Major-General I. S. O. Playfair et al., 1954
    • Volume II: The Germans Come to the Help of Their Ally, 1941, Major-General I. S. O. Playfair et al., 1956
    • Volume III: British Fortunes Reach Their Lowest Ebb, Major-General I. S. O. Playfair et al., 1960
    • Volume IV: The Destruction of the Axis Forces in Africa, Major-General I. S. O. Playfair, Brigadier C. J. C. Molony et al., 1966
    • Volume V: The Campaign in Sicily, 1943 and the Campaign in Italy, 3 September 1943 to 31 March 1944, Brigadier C. J. C. Molony et al., 1973
    • Volume VI, Part 1: Victory in the Mediterranean: 1 April to 4 June 1944, General Sir William Jackson et al., 1984
    • Volume VI, Part 2: Victory in the Mediterranean: June to October 1944, General Sir William Jackson et al., 1987
    • Volume VI, Part 3: Victory in the Mediterranean: November 1944 to May 1945, General Sir William Jackson et al., 1988
  • Civil Affairs and Military Government
    • Central Organisation and Planning, Frank Donnison, 1966
    • British Military Administration in the Far East, 1943–46, Frank Donnison, 1956
    • North-West Europe, 1944–46, Frank Donnison, 1961
    • Allied Administration of Italy, Charles Harris, 1957

United Kingdom Civil Series

  • Introductory
  • General Series
    • Coal, W. B. Court, 1951
    • Oil: A Study of Wartime Policy and Administration, D. J. Payton-Smith, 1971
    • Studies in the Social Services, Sheila Ferguson, 1978
    • Civil Defence, T. H. O'Brien, 1955
    • Works and Buildings, C. M. Kohan, 1952
    • Food
      • Volume I: The Growth of Policy, R. J. Hammond, 1951
      • Volume II: Studies in Administration and Control, R. J. Hammond, 1956
      • Volume III: Studies in Administration and Control, R. J. Hammond, 1962
    • Agriculture, K. A. H. Murray, 1955
    • The Economic Blockade
      • Volume I, William Medlicott, 1952
      • Volume II, William Medlicott, 1957
    • Inland Transport, Christopher Savage, 1957
    • Merchant Shipping and the Demands of War, C. B. A. Behrens, 1955
    • North American Supply, H. Duncan Hall, 1955
    • Manpower: Study of War-Time Policy and Administration, H. M. D. Parker, 1957
    • Civil Industry and Trade, Eric Hargreaves, 1952
    • Financial Policy, 1939–45, Richard Sayers, 1956
  • War Production
    • Labour in the Munitions Industries, P. Inman, 1957
    • The Control of Raw Materials, Joel Hurstfield, 1953
    • The Administration of War Production, J. D. Scott, 1955
    • Design and Development of Weapons: Studies in Government and Industrial Organisation, M. M. Postan, 1964
    • Factories and Plant, William Hornby, 1958
    • Contracts and Finance, William Ashworth, 1953
    • Studies of Overseas Supply, H. Duncan Hall, 1956

Foreign Policy

  • British Foreign Policy in the Second World War
    • Volume I, Sir Llewellyn Woodward, 1970
    • Volume II, Sir Llewellyn Woodward, 1971
    • Volume III, Sir Llewellyn Woodward, 1971
    • Volume IV, Sir Llewellyn Woodward, 1975
    • Volume V, Sir Llewellyn Woodward, 1976
    • Abridged Version, Sir Llewellyn Woodward, 1962

Intelligence

  • British Intelligence in the Second World War
    • Volume I: Its Influence on Strategy and Operations, F. H. Hinsley et al., 1979
    • Volume II: Its Influence on Strategy and Operations, F. H. Hinsley et al., 1981
    • Volume III, Part 1: Its Influence on Strategy and Operations, F. H. Hinsley et al., 1984
    • Volume III, Part 2: Its Influence on Strategy and Operations, F. H. Hinsley et al., 1988
    • Volume IV: Security and Counter-Intelligence, F. H. Hinsley et al., 1990
    • Volume V: Strategic Deception, Michael Howard, 1990
    • Abridged Version, F. H. Hinsley, 1993
  • SOE in France, M. R. D. Foot, 1966 (repr. 2004)

Medical Volumes

  • The Emergency Medical Services
    • Volume I: England and Wales, edited by Cuthbert Dunn, 1952
    • Volume II: Scotland, Northern Ireland and Principal Air Raids on Industrial Centres in Great Britain, edited by Cuthbert Dunn, 1953
  • The Royal Air Force Medical Services
    • Volume I: Administration, edited by S. C. Rexford-Welch, 1954
    • Volume II: Command, edited by S. C. Rexford-Welch, 1955
    • Volume III: Campaigns, edited by S. C. Rexford-Welch, 1958
  • The Royal Naval Medical Service
    • Volume I: Administration, Jack Coulter, 1953
    • Volume II: Operations, Jack Coulter, 1955
  • The Army Medical Services
    • Administration
      • Volume I, Francis Crew, 1953
      • Volume II, Francis Crew, 1955
    • Campaigns
      • Volume I: France and Belgium, 1939–40, Norway, Battle of Britain, Libya, 1940–42, East Africa, Greece, 1941, Crete, Iraq, Syria, Persia, Madagascar, Malta, Francis Crew, 1956
      • Volume II: Hong Kong, Malaya, Iceland and the Faroes, Libya, 1942–43, North-West Africa, Francis Crew, 1957
      • Volume III: Sicily, Italy, Greece (1944–45), Francis Crew, 1959
      • Volume IV: North-West Europe, Francis Crew, 1962
      • Volume V: Burma, Francis Crew, 1966
  • The Civilian Health and Medical Services
    • Volume I: The Civilian Health Services; Other Civilian Health and Medical Services: The Colonies, the Medical Services of the Ministry of Pensions, Arthur MacNalty, 1953
    • Volume II: Public Health in Scotland, Public Health in Northern Ireland, Arthur MacNalty, 1955
  • Medical Services at War: The Principal Lessons of the Second World War, Arthur MacNalty, 1968
  • Medicine and Pathology, Zachary Cope, 1952
  • Surgery, Zachary Cope, 1953
  • Medical Research, edited by F. H. K. Green and Major-General Sir Gordon Covell, 1953
  • Casualties and Medical Statistics, edited by William Franklin, 1972

Supplementary HMSO works

  • The Royal Air Force, 1939–45
  • British Military Administration of Occupied Territories in Africa during the Years 1941–1947, Major-General Lord Rennell of Rodd, 1948

Other official departmental histories

A number of official histories were produced by government departments. The authors worked under the same conditions and had the same access to official files but their works did not appear in the History of the Second World War.

Supplementary works from other publishers

  • SOE Histories
    • SOE in the Far East, Charles Cruikshank, 1983
    • SOE in Scandinavia, Charles Cruikshank, 1986
    • SOE in the Low Countries, M. R. D. Foot, 2001
  • Secret Flotillas
    • Volume I: Clandestine Sea Operations to Brittany 1940–44, Sir Brooks Richards, 2004
    • Volume II: Clandestine Sea Operations in the Mediterranean, North Africa and the Adriatic 1940–44, Sir Brooks Richards, 2004
  • Army Series, printed by the War Office, 30 volumes
    • Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers
      • Volume I Organisation and Operations, Rowcroft, E. Bertram (1951)
      • Volume II Technical, Bloor, F. R. (1951)
    • Supplies and Transport 2 volumes, Boileau, D. W. (1954)
    • Works service and Engineer stores, Buchanan, A. G. B. (1953)
    • Fighting, support and transport vehicles and the War Office provision for their provision
      • Part 1 Common Problems, Campagnac R. & Hayman P. E. G. (1951)
      • Part 2 Unarmoured Vehicles, Campagnac R. & Hayman P. E. G. (1951)
    • Maintenance in the field 2 volumes, Carter, J. A. H. (1952)
    • Maps and Survey, Clough, A. B. (1952)
    • The Auxiliary Territorial Service, Cowper, J. M. (1949)
    • Movements, Higham, J. B. & Knighton, E. A. (1955)
    • Signal Communications, Gravely, T. B. (1950)
    • Quartering, Magnay, A. D. (1949)
    • Miscellaneous Q services, Magnay, A. D. (1954)
    • Mobilization, McPherson, A. B. (1950)
    • Discipline, McPherson, A. B. (1950)
    • Transportation, Micklem, R. (1950)
    • Army welfare, Morgan, M. C. (1953)
    • Ordnance services, Officers of the directorate (1950)
    • Airborne Forces, Oatway, T. B. H. (1951)
    • The development of artillery, tactics and equipment, Pemberton, A. L. (1950)
    • Manpower problems, Pigott, A. J. K. (1949)
    • Army Radar, Sayer, A. P. (1950)
    • Morale, Sparrow, J. H. A. (1949)
    • Personnel selection, Ungerson, B. (1952)
    • Military Engineering (field), Pakenham-Walsh, R. P. (1952)
    • Administrative planning, Wilson, H. W. (1952)
    • Special Weapons and types of warfare 3 volumes, Wiseman, D. J. C. (1951–53)
      • Volume I Gas Warfare
      • Volume II Screening smoke, signal smoke, flame warfare insecticide & insect repellent & special common use equipment
      • Volume III Visual & Sonic warfare
  • Royal Air Force Series, printed by the Air Ministry
    • Airborne Forces (1951)
    • Air/Sea Rescue (1952)
    • Air Support (1956)
    • Armament
      • Volume I Bombs & Bombing Equipment (1952)
      • Volume II Guns, Gunsights, Turrets, Ammunition and Pyrotechnics (1954)
    • Maintenance (1954)
    • Signals
      • Volume I Organisation and Development (1958)
      • Volume II Telecommunications (1958)
      • Volume III Aircraft Radio (1956)
      • Volume IV Radar in Raid Reporting (1950)
      • Volume V Fighter Control and Interception (1952)
      • Volume VI Radio in Maritime Warfare (1954)
      • Volume VII Radio Counter-Measures (1950)
    • Works (1956)

See also

External links

  • Hypertext versions of some volumes at HyperWar
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