December 1941 (Hardcover)

Twelve Days that Began a World War

By Evan Mawdsley

Yale University Press, 9780300154450, 360pp.

Publication Date: December 1, 2011

Other Editions of This Title:
Paperback (11/13/2012)

List Price: 35.00*
* Individual store prices may vary.


In far-flung locations around the globe, an unparalleled sequence of international events took place between December 1 and December 12, 1941. In this riveting book, historian Evan Mawdsley explores how the story unfolded. He demonstrates how these dramatic events marked a turning point not only in the course of World War II but also in the direction of the entire century.

On Monday, December 1, 1941, the Japanese government made its final decision to attack Britain and America. In the following days, the Red Army launched a counterthrust in Moscow while the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor and invaded Malaya. By December 12, Hitler had declared war on the United States, the collapse of British forces in Malaya had begun, and Hitler had secretly laid out his policy of genocide. Churchill was leaving London to meet Roosevelt as Anthony Eden arrived in Russia to discuss the postwar world with Stalin. Combined, these occurrences brought about a "new war," as Churchill put it, with Japan and America deeply involved and Russia resurgent. This book, a truly international history, examines the momentous happenings of December 1941 from a variety of perspectives. It shows that their significance is clearly understood only when they are viewed together.

About the Author

Evan Mawdsley is honorary professorial research fellow, School of Humanities, University of Glasgow. His many books include World War II: A New History; Thunder in the East: The Nazi-Soviet Struggle, 1941–1945; and The Russian Civil War. He lives in Glasgow.

Praise For December 1941: Twelve Days that Began a World War

“Evan Mawdsley’s December 1941 marks the change from a continental war into a global war in an original and interesting way.”—Antony Beevor, Sunday Telegraph Seven (Books of the Year)

— Antony Beevor

"Suspenseful. . . Mawdsley embarks on the action from the first day and never lets up in this crisp, chronological study. . . . A rigorous, sharp survey of this decisive moment in the war."—Kirkus Reviews

— Kirkus Reviews

"This book is a ‘must read’ for anyone with an interest in the history of the Second World War.”—Jonathon Eaton, Military History

— Jonathon Eaton