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  • Published: 5 September 2019
  • ISBN: 9781473548220
  • Imprint: Vintage Digital
  • Format: EBook
  • Pages: 368

First to Fight

The Polish War 1939

A new and definitive account of the German invasion of Poland that initiated WWII in 1939, written by a historian at the height of his abilities.

Drawing for the first time on Polish, German and Soviet sources, First to Fight is the definitive history of the German invasion of Poland, which opened the war in September 1939. Roger Moorhouse provides a dramatic narrative of military events, brought to life by a select cast of generals and politicians, soldiers and civilians from all sides. In the process, First to Fight explodes many of the myths that still surround the campaign and challenge our understanding of how Britain and France entered the war.

Did Britain and France assist their Polish ally to the best of their abilities when the German armies crossed the border on 1 September 1939? While they went to war with Germany, why did they not declare war on the Soviet Union when its troops invaded Poland from the east later in the month? And if the violation of Poland had been the reason to go to war in 1939, how could the Western Allies justify handing the country over on a plate to Stalin in 1945?

Published to tie in with the 80th anniversary of the outbreak of the Second World War, First to Fight explodes many of the myths around what is a shameful chapter in both British and French history, and forensically examines a pivotal moment in the war’s history.

  • Published: 5 September 2019
  • ISBN: 9781473548220
  • Imprint: Vintage Digital
  • Format: EBook
  • Pages: 368

About the author

Roger Moorhouse

Roger Moorhouse is a historian and author specialising in modern German history. He is the co-author, with Norman Davies, of Microcosm: Portrait of a Central European City, and the author of Killing Hitler: The Third Reich and the Plots Against the Fuhrer and The Devil's Alliance: Hitler's Pact with Stalin.

Also by Roger Moorhouse

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Praise for First to Fight

We tend to overlook “the war that Hitler won”, but Roger Moorhouse brilliantly underlines its crucial importance for the future course of the Second World War. This deeply researched, very well-written and penetrating book will be the standard work on the subject for many years to come

Andrew Roberts, author of ‘Churchill: Walking with Destiny’

[A] chilling, indignant narrative… Moorhouse has expertly laid bare…[the] truth

Roger Boyes, The Times

Moorhouse’s book remedies that gap [in history of The Polish War], weaving together archival material, first-hand accounts, perceptive analysis and heartbreaking descriptions of Poland’s betrayal, defeat and dismemberment


[A] fascinating book… Moorhouse has mastered a large body of material… this is…a very valuable book, as it gathers a mass of detail into a lucid narrative for general readers

Noel Malcolm, Sunday Telegraph

An important book. Roger Moorhouse has a wonderful knack of reminding us about the parts of the Second World War that we are in danger of forgetting

Dan Snow

[A] timely and authoritative book… Moorhouse… has trawled through an impressive quantity of unpublished Polish and German sources…to produce a balanced account of this much neglected yet important episode of the second world war which is both harrowing and inspiring

Adam Zamoyski, Spectator

A well-researched, riveting read

Alexander Watson, BBC History, *Books of the Year*

[A] very valuable addition to the literature on the outbreak of the Second World War… The great strength of this new account lies in the extensive use of Polish sources, all too often overlooked entirely when trying to piece together the history of the campaign

Richard Overy, History Today

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