Entries by James Holland

The Slide to War

Adolf Hitler’s birthdays had, since his coming to power in 1933, always been occasions for his sycophants to demonstrate their unswerving adulation, but this, his fiftieth, on April 20 1939, was to be a nauseating extravaganza that would surpass any previous such occasions.  Chief organizer and master of ceremonies was none other than Josef Goebbels, […]

A Short Story

GETTING TO THE PARTY It was war time. The Germans may not have invaded, but the Blitz had rained hundreds of thousands of bombs on Britain’s cities, bringing destruction on a scale never before witnessed by a civilian population. There was rationing – of food, drink, petrol – of everything, it seemed. Abroad, Britain had […]

More Luftwaffe Battle of Britain Interviews

I have now posted up three more interviews with Luftwaffe pilots, all of which I did back in May.  Karl Spreitzer, a Stuka pilot in  St.G.2 and Knight’s Cross winner, who saw action in Norway, the Battle of Britain, Greece, Crete, Malta, North Africa and Russia and stacked up a stagging 600+ combat missions.  He […]

Gottendammerung in Hitler’s Bunker

Antony Beevor is now working on a book about D-Day. Funnily enough, despite the many hundreds of books written on the subject, only a few really stand out; and there has never before been a full account looking at the subject from all sides, as Antony is now doing. Such are the sources for the […]

General Francis Tuker and the Bombing of Monte Cassino

It was not until after the failed attack by II Polish Corps on the German positions at Monte Cassino on the morning of 12th May, 1944, that the Allies ever properly understood the layout and structure of the German defences on that mountain feature. For four and a half months, American, British, Indian and then […]

Hajo Herrmann Interview Now Posted

Hajo Herrmann was a former Heinkel 111 and Junkers 88 bomber pilot with III/KG 4 in the Polish campaign, the blitzkrieg in the west and during the Battle of Britain. He was shot down over Dunkirk, escaped to safety and flew many combat missions over England. Later, he flew over Malta and then joined the […]

Battle of Britain Luftwaffe Interviews

Last week and I spent a fascinating few days interviewing former Battle of Britain pilots in Germany and Austria.  As soon as they are all transcribed I shall post them up on the Oral History Archive, but I learnt much from them.  When I first thought about doing a book about the Battle of Britain […]


On 19th May, Bantam Press are publishing The Odin Mission, the first of a series of Second World War adventure novels featuring Jack Tanner.  I’ve always loved the Sharpe novels by Bernard Cornwell and the Hornblower books by C.S. Forrester, and it suddenly struck me a little while ago that a similar hero could easily […]


If I’m honest, it was the Battle of Britain that first sparked my interest in the Second World War.  An aerial battle for survival over England, in which enemy forces were regularly flying over the cities, towns and villages of Britain, and in which iconic fighter aircraft helped save the day, captured my imagination.

Second World War Websites & Blogs

I have to admit I’m not the most diligent blogger but I’ve noticed there are some really good history sites out there, and specifically Second World War sites and blogs.  As I’ve mentioned in an earlier post, The Second World War Experience Centre in Leeds is a fantastic archive and now the dynamic new directorship of […]