The original impetus for writing this book was provided by the Distance Education Department of Simon Fraser University, who asked me to write a course on the Second World War centred around a series of television films. This proved to be a challenging and rewarding experience. I am particularly grateful to Colin Yerbury for the help he gave me in this project.
Beate Giuffre gave me skilful and dedicated assistance in tracking down the more obscure literature on the war, particularly in foreign languages, and I am greatly in her debt. I have plundered the works and picked the brains of so many fellow historians that it would be impossible to list them all. The bibliography, which lists only works in English, is too modest a tribute.
Dedications are so often a pathetic attempt to make amends for adultery, neglect or betrayal. I am in the enviable position of being able unblushingly to place this book in the hands of one for whose generosity, support and understanding it is pitifully inadequate recompense.