Volume 17: Testing Times, 1942
With the release of Testing Times, the publication of The Churchill Documents has spanned nearly five decades. This volume covers the year 1942, a year Churchill called “the Hinge of Fate,” in which the Grand Alliance, hitherto engulfed in a storm of military failure, began to see signs of a future victory against the Axis powers. Bad news from Africa, the Atlantic, and Asia characterized much of the year, resulting in Churchill facing two votes of confidence at home. Yet by year’s end, the Soviets had defeated the Germans at Stalingrad, the Allies had gained a key victory in Africa at El Alamein, and Churchill was politically secure.
Sir Martin Gilbert selected the enclosed documents to produce a more comprehensive and faithful account of Churchill’s involvement in this year of the Second World War than any previous publication. In the words of the foreword by Larry P. Arnn, who will assume the work to produce the final five volumes of The Churchill Documents, this volume holds “a rich account of these events, cataclysmic and glorious in alternation. One can see the statesmen grappling with enormous difficulties, guessing the future, taking enormous risks on inadequate knowledge. Sir Martin believed that the story is found nowhere if not in the writings of the time, and that its drama is fully apparent only in those sources. Here the records of Churchill’s war effort in 1942 are published in unprecedented detail.”