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My parents were Latvian and I am still trying to work out (at age 70+) their Latvian experiences.
I found this book a bit bland. eg. "...and then I went there and was shot and went to hospital..."
Parts were interesting, other parts not. Guess I wanted...
"The World War which began in Manchuria in 1931 - two years before the fateful date when Adolf Hitler came to power in Germany to stamp his name upon a new and dreadful epoch - has rolled full circle. Once more the battleground is in the Pacific."
Root worked in Paris as a correspondent for several publications, as well as for the Mutual Broadcasting Network, from 1927 through the outbreak of the war. Later he became quite well known as a food writer.
The work is quite voluminous, and I'll be working through the chapters gradually between my other reading over the next couple of years, most likely.
At any rate, I've read the first chapter, "The Origins of the War," and found it most interesting. In particular Root describes the weak and futile treachery of Chamberlain's abandonment of Czechoslovakia. Something I learned, although probably most of the folks reading this here already did know it, is that there was a three-way mutual defense treaty between the Czechs, the Russians and the French. As Munich approached, the Russians let the Czechs know they intended to honor the agreement if the Germans attacked them. The French, however, said, "No."
In fact, the Czechs evidently told the British and French that they would fight, anyway, and that "if a war begins you will be obliged to enter it whether you want to or not. We have decided to resist and thus force you to keep your engagement." The response was, "It is perhaps true that if you fight, we will be drawn in. But if we are drawn in, and if we are victorious, we will punish you for having forced our hand. There will be no Czechoslovakia after this war, whether we win or lose." (Emphasis Root's, whose footnote here states, "This account was given to me by one of Czechoslovakia's leading statesmen.")
So Czechs didn't fight. Later, the Russians were negotiating for a renewed treaty with France. They wanted the fighting to begin before the Germans reached the Russian border and so wanted the French to agree to consider an attack on the Baltic Countries an attack on Russia. The French wouldn't make that agreement, and the Russians came to feel (justifiably it seems) that the democracies were actually looking forward to seeing the Fascists and the Communists fight it out. Finally, Hitler came to Stalin and offered to simply divvy up the Baltics, giving Russia the buffer zone they wanted. Hence the German/Soviet Pact.
Root firmly believes that the Germans would have backed down, at least for the time being, had England and France stood up to them anywhere along the line up to the invasion of Poland. The German generals were fearful of what the consequences would be of going to war too soon, but Hitler was convinced the Allies wouldn't fight. He didn't even think the invasion of Poland would finally bring them in, evidently.
Anyway, that's what I learned in this book's first 15 pages. Volume 1 alone is 645 pages long. Does anyone else know of this book? It seems there are 10 or so LT members listing the book in their libraries.
* At one place he mentions the fact that the Icelandic sagas describe voyages to Vinland as if it were an argument against their reliability, despite archaeological evidence for Scandinavian voyages to North America proper having been known for a good while when he wrote.
I guess I should be familiar with what this means, but I admit I am not. What's "a BB?"