The Second World War

The Second World War

By Stephen Bedard
A Podcast all about the second world war hosted by Stephen Bedard.
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 Hitler created an excuse for invading and unleashed his forces on an outdated Polish army.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. Download this audiobook for FREE with a FREE trial of Audible.
14:10
June 5, 2019
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.
14:23
February 21, 2019
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.
12:55
November 15, 2018
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.
12:47
August 21, 2018
7 – The Rape of Austria
Although the Second World War really begins with the invasion of Poland, Germany’s expansion began earlier with the annexation of Austria. This event, which Churchill described as “the rape of Austria,” was the first real glimpse of what Hitler intended for Eur
09:14
April 17, 2018
6 – The Spanish Civil War
Between the First World War and the Second World War, there was another conflict that greatly impacted Europe. This was the Spanish Civil War. Although technically this was just a civil war between the Republicans and Nationalists, unofficially many of the nations that participated in the Second World War, were involved in the Spanish Civil War, at least unofficially. Hitler especially took advantage of this opportunity to perfect the strategies that he would use in the Second World War. My recommendation for an audio book is Hell and Good Company: The Spanish Civil War and the World It Made by Richard Rhodes. From the Pulitzer Prize-winning and best-selling author of The Making of the Atomic Bomb, the remarkable story of the Spanish Civil War through the eyes of the reporters, writers, artists, doctors, and nurses who witnessed it. Get this audiobook for free with a free trial of Audible through this link
09:31
March 20, 2018
5 – Interview With Travis Dow on the German Context
When it comes to history, context is everything. Thankfully, we are blessed with great historical resources, including the German background. In this episode, I talk to Travis Dow, the host of the History of Germany podcast (and many more). We discuss some of what was happening in Germany between the wars, including attitudes toward communism and Judaism (make sure to listen to his episode on antisemitism). I’m always amazed at how much knowledge Travis has over such a wide span of German history. I would encourage you to check out Travis at his website and start listening to his podcast. My recommendation for this episode is William Shirer’s Rise and Fall of the Third Reich. Since its publication in 1960, William L. Shirer’s monumental study of Hitler’s German empire has been widely acclaimed as the defi
44:59
February 27, 2018
4 – The War That Didn’t End All Wars
It is difficult to understand the Second World War without some concept of the First World War. Many of the seeds of what happened in 1939-1945 were planted in 1914-1918. Even some of the battles were fought on the same land by the same countries led by leaders who were in both wars. This episode provides a very broad outline of the major events of the First World War. For more details, my recommendation is Barbara Tuchman’s The Guns of August. You can get it as an audiobook and support this podcast at Audible.
11:31
February 15, 2018
3 – Setting the Stage: The Allies
Last time we looked at the countries that made up the Axis powers. This time we look at the Allies. The Allies are much more than just Britain, United States and the Soviet Union, even if they are considered “the Big Three.” Understanding the position these countries were in at the start of the war prepares us for what comes next. These countries, many of which had almost nothing in common, were coming together to fight their common enemies. I mention the China History podcast in this episode. You can find it here. amzn_assoc_placement = "adunit0"; amzn_assoc_search_bar = "true"; amzn_assoc_search_bar_position = "bottom"; amzn_assoc_tracking_id = "stejbed-20"; amzn_assoc_ad_mode = "search"; amzn_assoc_ad_type = "smart"; amzn_assoc_marketplace = "amazon"; amzn_assoc_region = "US"; amzn_assoc_title = "Shop Related Products"; amzn_assoc_default_search_phrase = "Allies W
11:49
January 31, 2018
2 – Setting the Stage: The Axis Powers
In this episode, we begin to set the stage by looking at the Axis powers. What was happening in German, Italy and Japan at the time and who were their leaders? You may be surprised by how much these nations had in common and yet were different. Did you know that these nations were not on the same side in the First World War? Did you know that other countries beyond these three were part of the Axis? Find out these things in more in this episode. A recommend resource is Travis Dow’s History of Germany Podcast. amzn_assoc_placement = "adunit0"; amzn_assoc_search_bar = "true"; amzn_assoc_tracking_id = "stejbed-20"; amzn_assoc_search_bar_position = "bottom"; amzn_assoc_ad_mode = "search"; amzn_assoc_ad_type = "smart"; amzn_assoc_marketplace = "amazon"; amzn_assoc_region = "US"; amzn_assoc_title = "Shop Related Products"; amzn_assoc_default_search_phrase = "Second World W
09:22
January 18, 2018
1 – Introduction to the Podcast
In this first episode, I share a little about myself and the direction of this podcast. In the episode, I mention the podcast by Ray Harris, Jr. You can find the History of WWII Podcast here. You should really check it out, it is quite good. However, I intend for my podcast to be somewhat different, reflecting my personality and interests. I hope that you will journey with me as we look at the Second World War and all of the events surrounding it. You can find out more about me at my main website.
03:13
January 9, 2018
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