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Rick Atkinson —
born on November 16, 1952,
Lawrence Rush "Rick" Atkinson IV is an American author who has won Pulitzer Prizes in history and journalism... (wikipedia)
American audiences tend to underappreciate the British, but 240 years ago they were us: They were the most powerful nation on Earth. Their mercantile empire spanned the planet. They had the most potent and experienced army and navy the world had ever seen.
I was with the 101st Airborne Division in Iraq, really in the middle of nowhere, about 80 miles south of Baghdad. And it was almost midnight, and I got a computer message from the home office of the Washington Post asking me to call them. I did call them and was told that I'd won the Pulitzer Prize.
The spring of 1942 was given over to a very impassioned, strategic debate about where we should first attack in counterpunching against the Germans and Italians. The British argued very persuasively on the part of Winston Churchill, prime minister, that this was a very green American Army, green soldiers, green commanders.
Almost everything about American society is affected by World War II: our feelings about race; our feelings about gender and the empowerment of women, moving women into the workplace; our feelings about our role in the world. All of that comes in a very direct way out of World War II.
Hitler had a police state of the first order. And those who showed any sign of being weak-kneed faced prison or often summary execution. That prevented a lot of people who knew that the war was not going to turn out well for Germany from giving up.