Left: Crowds in central London on Armistice Day, 1918. "...the thirty years that followed that victory were to prove no less tumultuous and no less difficult." Above Left: Admiral Sir David Beatty. Above Right: Admiral Sir John Jellicoe. "They joined the ranks of Drake, Nelson and Rodney as first rate British naval heroes and in consequence, when they offered an opinion, spoke with the voices of gods."
Above Right: The Fascist Party Headquarters in Rome, in the early 1920s. Benito Mussolini became the Prime Minister of Italy in 1922. Above left: Despite holding many high positions in government, including terms as First Lord of the Admiralty and Chancellor of the Exchequer, Winston Churchill (Seen here with his wife Clementine) had "a career that had failed to live up to its early promise". He is best remembered "...for his bold, but controversial decision to keep the pound sterling off the Gold Standard in 1925."
At the Washington Naval Disarmament Conference "...the powers agreed to managed building schedules rather than a moratorium on new construction." Above: HMS Invincible, a British battle cruiser, commissioned 1927. Middle left: HMS Fearless an aircraft carrier, built on the hull of an incomplete Hood class battle cruiser. Below: Leonardo da Vinci. This ship was originally commissioned into the Italian Navy as a battleship, but she was sunk in harbour in a bold attack by Austro-Hungarian frogmen in 1916. She was then raised in 1921 and converted into an aircraft carrier. She helped the service learn many vital lessons about the operation of aircraft from ships.
Above left: A dole queue in northern England, 1934. Had the British economy not been subject to a 'New Deal' style of government intervention, unemployment might have been much worse. Above right: Oswald Mosley campaigning for the Labour Party in the 1929 election. Left: Adolf Hitler and supporters in a Munich Beer Hall, 1930. Above: Oswald Mosley and Benito Mussolini during a state visit to Italy in 1935. Initially friendly, relations between the two men, and the countries they led, soon cooled.
Right: Campaign 'buttons' from the 1940 American Presidential election. Below left: Huey Long, the candidate for the the American National Party. His powerful speaking style and ability to communicate with America's marginalised voters terrified the other party's candidates. Below Centre; Franklin Roosevelt, Democratic Party candidate and the incumbent. His constitutionally questionable decision to run for a third term was comprehensively attacked by the other candidates. Below Right: Wendell Willkie, the Republican candidate campaigning in Texas.
Above: Royal Navy Albacore torpedo bombers from the air group of HMS Courageous. The Battle of Lofoten, which took place in early June 1940, was the first naval action where the opposing fleets did not catch sight of each other. The battle was conducted entirely by aircraft. Left: The battleships Bismarck and Tirpitz with fighter escort after the Battle of Viking Bank. Below left: The British aircraft carrier HMS Courageous during the Battle of Lofoten. Below right: A Junkers Ju87C 'Zee-Stuka' being launched from the German aircraft carrier Graf Zeppelin. The concept of aircraft carrier operations was a new one for the Kriegsmarine. Her cradle type launch system meant her operational tempo was slow, limiting her effectiveness.
Above left: Two pictures of Graf Zeppelin under air attack. The top one was taken from a Royal Navy dive bomber, the lower one from the destroyer Z23. Above right: HMS Resolution, sunk at the Battle of Viking Bank, her lone stand against two more powerful opponents upheld the finest traditions of the Royal Navy and bought time for the convoy she was escorting to scatter.
Above left: A German Fiesler Fi 167 torpedo bomber. Above right: Sea Hurricane fighters of the Royal Navy's Courageous air group. Right: Clement Attlee, Prime Minister of Britain 30th October 1938 to 10th May 1940. Essentially a decent man, his internationalism led him to support appeasement and though far from being alone in this error, he was forced to carry much of the blame for the debacle of May 1940. He devoted much of the rest of his political career in re-focusing the outlook of the British Labour Party in the post Mosley era. Far Right: Hugh Dalton, Prime Minister from 10th May 1940 until 20th February 1941. In modern parlance he was a 'technocrat' and was out of his depth in the straitened circumstances of his tenure. Both men were famously described as 'the Balding Bolsheiviks' an unkind epithet that misrepresented their political outlook. It is believed the name was attached to them by Winston Churchill's journalist son, Randolph.
Above left: A Spitfire of 506 Squadron, RAF. This aircraft was lost on 14th September 1940 while being flown by a Royal Navy pilot, Sub Lieutenant John Leighton. He bailed out and returned to operations the following day. Above right: Heinkel He 111 bombers of Kamfgruppe 2 on their way to bomb England. The critical phase of the Battle of Britain came in early September 1940.
Above left: The crew of an RAF Wellington bomber discuss Operation Match-Point, the raid on the Luftwaffe fighter bases of the Pas de Calais, before take off on the evening of 14th September. Above right: Royal Navy Swordfish aircraft provided target marking for the RAF's bombers. The RN's navigators were highly proficient, while the full moon and the open cockpits of the aircraft made their work easier than it might have been. Left: The aftermath of Match-Point; Audambert airfield iwith a destroyed German Messerschmit Bf 109 fighter. The German fighter force was severely degraded by the operation and thus significantly less effective on 15th September, the critical day of the Battle of Britain.
Above: Fairey Battle light bombers in Nationalist Chinese markings. British aircraft were supplied to Nationalist Chinese forces from 1941 onwards. These were often obsolescent; but robust, simple to operate types such as the Battle, Hurricane and Wellington were ideal for the Nationalists in their ongoing struggle against the Japanese invasion. Right: Archibald Sinclair became the Prime Minister of Britain in the 1941 election. His decade long stand against both Fascism and the policy of 'Accommodation' that encouraged it, gained him the trust and respect of the British people at a critical juncture in the country's history. His rise to power, immediately signalled a sea-change in the outlook and attitudes of a country exhausted and demoralised by it's defeats. Lower left and bottom: The success of German arms in Operation Barbarossa astonished the world, underlining the fact of the Nazi menace.
Above left: German Alpenkorps troops in Switzerland, 1943, during Operation Tannenbaum. Above: The last photograph taken of the Soviet battle cruiser Frunze. Lost to a German air attack in August 1942, her appearance after her re-construction in 1934 had caused a stir in naval circles and had a significant influence on warship design in several navies. It was not realised that she was a failure and although constant modification over the next eight years did much to ameliorate her problems, she could never be truly considered a success. Left: Martin Bormann, the main winner of the political infighting in Nazi Germany in 1943. Below, left to right: Joseph Goebbels, Heinrich Himmler and Reinhard Heydrich. Three of the losers.
Above left: A Kriegsmarine amphibious landing exercise, 1940. Once the Germans began comprehensive study of the art of amphibious warfare they quickly mastered it. Above right: Oswald Mosley, answering questions in the committee phase of the Mosley Report. This document charted the future direction of British policy concerning the Empire.
Left: J. Edgar Hoover, the director of the FBI. His work in identifying Soviet Agents within American government was ignored until the Roosevelt administration gave way to that of Wendell Willkie. Above and Right: Whittaker Chambers and Elizabeth Bentley testifying, 1943. Below, left to Right: Laughlin Curry, economics advisor to the Roosevelt White House; Alger Hiss, Assistant Secretary of State in the Roosevelt White House; Harry Hopkins, Secretary of Commerce; Harry Dexter White, US Treasury adviser. All were spies for the Soviet Union and were convicted of treason and executed in 1944.
Right: Thomas Dewey, President of the United States from 8th October 1944 to 4th March 1945. Dewey took over the office upon the death of Wendell Willkie but could not convince the American people to give him a second term. Far Right: Harry S. Truman, President of the United States from 4th March 1945 to 4th March 1953. Below Left: Chinese troops in Battle with the Japanese, Kwangxi (Guangxi), early 1945. Below Right: Russian partisans engaging German troops in the Crimea, mid 1944. From late 1942 until mid 1945 the only forces opposing the might of the Axis war machine were badly fed, poorly organised, under equipped soldiers; many of whom belonged to bandit groups, improvised formations and militias.
Above left: The launch of the American battleship Illinois. Above right: The launch of the German battleship Berlichengen. The naval race continued at a frantic pace during the interbellum. The world's shipbuilding industries all produced large numbers of new warships. Left: Francisco Franco, the dictator of Spain and Benito Mussolini, the dictator of Italy. Much to their dismay, both men found their countries drawn inexorable into Germany's confrontation with the United States. Neither man wanted war, but neither could find a way out of their obligations to the Axis Alliance. Below right. The Riechstag 7th May 1945. Adolf Hitler declares war on the United States. Few among the Nazi hierachy greeted the announcement with anything other than confidence. Below. The Empire State building was hit by incendiary bombs during the German air raid of 12th July 1945. Damage to the building was light but the propaganda value of the raid was immense.