Poltics, War, and Personality:
50 Iconic World War II Documents


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Politics-War-and-Personality-Fifty-Iconic-World-War-II-Documents-That-Changed-the-World-HardcoverAuthor Kenneth W. Rendell has gathered 50 of the most important and iconic documents of World War II in Poltics, War, and Personality: Fifty Iconic World War II Documents that Changed the World (Whitman Publishing; 2014).

With the assistance of more than 150 archival images and photographs, Rendell tells the stories of these documents which foreshadowed, announced, or altered the course of war. The book features a foreword by the late John S.D. Eisenhower, son of Dwight D. Eisenhower.

The book includes:

  • A letter by Benito Mussolini, around 1908: “Life in this semi-wild village of my birth is beginning to weigh on me, and to get away from it I got an idea …”
  • The 1933 order by which President von Hindenburg gave in to Adolf Hitler’s demands, leading to what would be the last election until after WWII.
  • The leaflet distributed in the beer hall in Munich outlining the Nazi Party’s original platform, with Hitler’s colored sketch of the Nazi banner.
  • Generally considered the most important document of WWII, the Munich Agreement, with Hitler’s bold handwriting making “concessions,” and the British smaller, finely written notes; Hitler proved his instinct that England and France would concede to avoid war.
  • Franklin Roosevelt’s letter to the French president after the defeat by Germany, “France herself will ultimately regain her full independence and freedom.”
  • Eisenhower to his wifeThe first urgent message sent during the Japanese attack in 1941: “Air raid on Pearl Harbor X This is no drill.”
  • The secret special order that required Douglas MacArthur to evacuate Corregidor, before American troops were forced to surrender to the Japanese and experience the Bataan Death March.
  • A poignant letter from General Dwight Eisenhower to his wife—the most revealing of a commander-in-chief in wartime.
  • The journal and mission map of the fighter pilot who shot down Admiral Yamamoto’s plane.
  • Winston Churchill’s draft memorandum to Josef Stalin, deciding the fate of Poland.
  • The communiqué signed by Eisenhower, announcing the D-Day landings on the northern coast of France.
  • A note from Raoul Wallenberg, the Swedish businessman and diplomat who saved tens of thousands of Hungarian Jews—“Mrs. Kellner is to be considered a Swedish citizen and is to be exempted from bearing the distinctive Jewish sign.”
  • Hitler’s order of March 30, 1945, one month before his suicide, commanding the fanatical defense of Berlin.
  • A letter from Franklin Roosevelt, five days before his death and four months before Hiroshima, writing of “complete victory over our enemies.”
  • General MacArthur’s draft of the surrender terms for Japan.
  • Hermann Goering’s detention report from Nuremberg.
  • Hideki Tojo’s requests while on trial for war crimes.
  • Letters from Anne Frank’s father and aunt after the war.
  • Harry Truman’s 1957 letter explaining the necessity of dropping the atomic bombs.
  • And many more significant documents.

Kenneth W. Rendell is the author of World War II: Saving the Reality and a dealer in historical ephemera known for helping debunk the “Hitler diaries”. He is founder and director of the Museum of World War II.

Note: Books noticed on The New York History Blog have been provided by their publishers. Purchases made through this Amazon link help support this site.

One thought on “Poltics, War, and Personality:
50 Iconic World War II Documents

  1. Pingback: 50 Iconic WWII Documents | Brooklyn in Love and at War

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