13 episodes

A Podcast all about the second world war hosted by Stephen Bedard.

The Second World War Stephen Bedard

    • Society & Culture

A Podcast all about the second world war hosted by Stephen Bedard.

    13 - Russian to the Finnish Line

    13 - Russian to the Finnish Line

    Before there was the Battle of France, before there was the Battle of Britain, there was the Winter War. Just months after the start of the Second World War, the Soviet Union invaded Finland. But it didn't go quite the way they had hoped.

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    • 11 min
    12 - The First Month of the War

    12 - The First Month of the War

    In this episode, we look at the events of the first month of the Second World War. We take a snapshot of September 1939 and see the seeds for much of what would happen throughout the rest of the war.

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    • 9 min
    11 - And So It Begins

    11 - And So It Begins

    The beginning of the Second World War is generally understood as being at the invasion of Poland by Nazi Germany in September, 1939. Hitler created an excuse for invading and unleashed his forces on an outdated Polish army. Even knowing that Britain and France would not accept this, Hitler took this step, confident in the weakness of his enemies and the protection of his non-aggression pact with the Soviet Union.

    The world would never be the same.

    My recommended audiobook is:

    The Nazi Invasion of Poland: The History of the Campaign That Started World War II

    "The object of the war is...to physically destroy the enemy. That is why I have prepared, for the moment only in the East, my 'Death's Head' formations with orders to kill without pity or mercy all men, women, and children of Polish descent or language. Only in this way can we obtain the living space we need." (Hitler, August 1939)

    Throughout 1938 and 1939, conflict broke out across Europe after the social and economic disorder brought about by World War I helped the Nazis rise to power in Germany. In 1937, Adolf Hitler declared the Treaty of Versailles void and began aggressively annexing parts of the European continent. Europe's attempts to appease him, most notably at Munich in 1938, failed as Nazi Germany swallowed up Austria and Czechoslovakia by 1939. Italy was on the march as well, invading Albania in April of 1939. The straw that broke the camel's back, however, was Germany's invasion of Poland on September 1 of that year. Two days later, France and Great Britain declared war on Germany, and World War II began in earnest.

    Of course, as most people now know, the invasion of Poland was merely the preface to the Nazi blitzkrieg of most of Western Europe, which would include Denmark, Belgium, and France by the summer of 1940. The resistance put up by these countries is often portrayed as weak, and the narrative is that the British stood alone in 1940 against the Nazi onslaught, defending the British Isles during the Battle of Britain and preventing a potential German invasion.

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    • 14 min
    10 - Japan and Italy at the Dawn of the Second World War

    10 - Japan and Italy at the Dawn of the Second World War

    The Second World War really starts with the German invasion of Poland. But what were Japan and Italy up to as Germany was preparing to invade? This episode looks at what was happening in China and Ethiopia in the mid to late 1930s.

    • 14 min
    9 - Hitler and Stalin: A Match Made in Hell

    9 - Hitler and Stalin: A Match Made in Hell

    Can we think of two greater monsters of the 20th century than that of Hitler and Stalin. Although the Second World War ended with them as bitter enemies, it began with them in cooperation. This episode looks at what led to the nonaggression pact.

    • 12 min
    8 - The Munich Agreement

    8 - The Munich Agreement

    The German invasion of Czechoslovakia was a turning point in Hitler's acts of aggression. This was the necessary step to transition from annexing fellow Germans in Austria to invading the non-German Poland, thus starting the Second World War.

    • 12 min

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