Battles That Changed the World
Battles That Changed the World
Following on from the first successful Battlefields Magazine Against All Odds this second edition Battles That Changed the World is about decisive battles that have altered the course of history. This time the focus is on Hastings 1066, Waterloo in 1815 and Stalingrad 1942-3.
The Battle of Hastings is a watershed being the last time a foreign invader has successfully seized and held the British Isles. Since 1066 no foreign power has successfully crossed the English Channel or North Sea, although the Spanish Armada in 1588, Napoleon in 1803-5 and Hitler’s Wehrmacht in 1940 all tried. Defeat at Hastings resulted in 4,000 Saxon Thegns, the traditional English nobility, losing their ownership of land overnight to 200 Norman barons. It was a defining moment in British history. Afterwards England had a new language, laws, church, aristocracy and a new system of government enabling 10,000 Normans to hold 1½ million Saxons in thrall.
Waterloo in 1815 is another battle defining the future history of Europe and was to herald the future development of the British Empire. It ended 23 years of unbroken French Revolutionary and Napoleonic wars and ushered in a period of general peace and prosperity, which with few exceptions was to last until 1914. The political map of Europe was redrawn in a form that would be recognizable to contemporaries today. Waterloo was the last mass battle of the 19th Century pre-industrial age to be fought in Europe over such a small physical area. Conflict was never again to be conducted in such splendid uniforms. The next major war would be fought in drab grey and khaki from the trenches of the First World War.
Hitler’s defeat with the capitulation of the Sixth Army at Stalingrad in February 1943 was one of the turning points of the Second World War. It shattered the ascendancy of Wehrmacht Blitzkrieg established in 1939-40. Turkey was deterred from joining her traditional German ally while Hungary, Romania and Italy, who all lost sizable contingents during the battle were dismayed and encouraged to seek a way out of the war. Russia and the Allies realised for the first time that they would win. As with the previous two examples, the outcome of this one battle was world changing.
Each battle is introduced by an outline of the war from which it has been taken with a short narrative of the course of the battle itself. The main commanders are reviewed as also the typical experience of the combatants, dwelling on the human aspect. Who were these men, what did they hear, see and feel?
Battlefield Detective articles expose the latest scientific or archaeological findings, debunk myths and offer investigative analysis of what really happened.
The Battlefield Tour reviews each battle from a ‘Then and Now’ perspective. Positions or viewing stands are picked out to best illustrate what occurred. Waterloo is the main battle portrayed and is shown through the exciting medium of specially commissioned three-dimensional scenes, showing what the combatants would have seen by the clock at different stages of the battle. Narrative eye-witness accounts illustrate each stand, relating what the participants saw at that particular point.
Each battle is rounded off with the Hollywood perspective of these momentous struggles. Popular feature films that portrayed the battles are reviewed and assessed for historical accuracy, authenticity and of course entertainment value!
This pseudo battlefield tour approach is aimed to appeal as much to the browser as those equally attracted to a historical novel or epic film. You don’t have to be an expert to enjoy the tour!
Available from – Key Publishing
Robert’s ’24 Hours at Waterloo’ for more in depth accounts