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In mid-1940, the British Expeditionary Force desperately attempted to flee the small French port of Dunkirk and reach British shores. France was falling, and the men were well aware that the German army had already conquered Poland, Denmark, Norway, Holland, and Belgium. Only Britain remained. Churchill then proclaimed to the House of Commons, “Hitler will have to break us in this island or lose the war.” There were, perhaps, no more telling words spoken in World War II. For the following five months, Great Britain waged a heroic, and clandestine, struggle with Nazi Germany—one both psychological and diplomatic—over the fate of the world.

World in the Balance recounts these pivotal months. Rallying after Churchill's speeches, destroying the French fleet so it would not fall to the Germans, fending off Nazi agents from former King Edward VIII, weakening England's defenses to build up those of Egypt, establishing a dedication to secret radar, and engaging in deft diplomacy—notably saving Gibraltar by keeping Spain neutral and successfully courting favor in the United States—set all the pieces in place for eventual victory over Axis fascism.

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