The Hinge of Fate - Volume IV of Churchill's Dramatic History of World War II

Front Cover, The Hinge of Fate, by Winston S. Churchill, 1950.

Front Cover, The Hinge of Fate, by Winston S. Churchill, 1950. GGA Image ID # 17f157eb50

The Hinge of Fate: How the Power of the Grand Alliance become Preponderant. The Fourth Volume of Churchill's Dramatic History of World War II by Winston S. Churchill.

The Hinge of Fate

In those dramatic moments of history we learned the lessons that are helping us in Korea today. In this historical record, we see in detail how the friendship between Churchill and Roosevelt grew. We see the struggle of will and wits between Churchill and Stalin advance.

We are admitted to Mr. Churchill's intimate record of his talks with Stalin, and his contemporary impressions jotted down in his Moscow quarters. We are witness to Molotov's security precautions at Cheqesac and to troubles at home which come from a loyal opposition. Here we see the trial and reconperae of statesmanship and as never before we are conscious of this great statesman historian, not only as welder of fleets and armies, but as a sensitive, anxious, ever-alert wielder of men.

One of the most fascinating works of history ever written, Winston Churchill´s monumental "The Second World War" is a six-volume account of the struggle of the Allied powers in Europe against Germany and the Axis. Told through the eyes of British Prime Minister Winston Churchill, The Second World War is also the story of one nation´s singular, heroic role in the fight against tyranny.

Pride and patriotism are evident everywhere in Churchill´s dramatic account and for good reason. Having learned a lesson at Munich that they would never forget, the British refused to make peace with Hitler, defying him even after France had fallen and after it seemed as though the Germans were unstoppable. Churchill remained unbowed throughout, as did the people of Britain in whose determination and courage he placed his confidence.

Patriotic as Churchill was, he managed to maintain a balanced impartiality in his description of the war. What is perhaps most interesting, and what lends the work its tension and emotion, is Churchill´s inclusion of a significant amount of primary material.

We hear his retrospective analysis of the war, to be sure, but we are also presented with memos, letters, orders, speeches, and telegrams that give a day-by-day account of the reactions-both mistaken and justified-to the unfolding drama. Strategies and counter-strategies develop to respond to Hitler´s ruthless conquest of Europe, his planned invasion of England, and his treacherous assault on Russia.

It is a mesmerizing account of the crucial decisions that have to be made with imperfect knowledge and an awareness that the fate of the world hangs in the balance.

This fourth volume in this work, The Hinge of Fate is, as its name might suggest, the dramatic account of the Allies´ changing fortunes. By the end of the previous volume, The Grand Alliance, the Russians and the Americans had both entered the war on the side of the British, but Germany, Italy and Japan continued pressing forward successfully with their terrible onslaught.

In the first half of The Hinge of Fate, Churchill describes the fearful period in which the Germans threaten to overwhelm the Red Army, Rommel dominates the war in the desert, and Singapore falls to the Japanese.

In the span of just a few months, however, the Allies begin to turn the tide, achieving decisive victories at Midway and Guadalcanal, and repulsing the Germans at Stalingrad. As their confidence builds, and they begin to gain ground against the Axis powers, the Allies can begin to see the end of this terrible conflict in sight.

From the Publisher

Here is one of the rarest of books in the history of mankind, an inside account of one of the greatest of political and military struggles, written by a man who directed a sizeable share of it and who was in touch day by day with all the rest.

Here is an autobiography—not intended as such, but that is just what it is—of one of the most remarkable personalities of our time, or of any time.

In Churchill we see indefatigable man at his very best—incapable of accepting defeat, willing to assume responsibility for every misfortune, modest in triumph but of a deadly tenacity, willing and able to do four men’s work and yet come up at the end of the day with a message that averts despair and restores confidence.

Nevertheless, this is no demi-god, but a man like the rest of us, as a magnum of champagne is after all only the juice of grapes.

He guesses wrong, he is sometimes blinded by his love of England, he is too easy on defeats, if he loves or respects the defeated, for he believes that character should be judged by intentions.

Is there any other man alive who, in the midst of the great disaster in the African deserts, would have risen, as he did in his Parliament, to praise the skill and the character of his most dangerous opponent, General Rommel?

This fourth volume is a record of both disasters and victories. It is the disasters that make the drama of the book, and will, I think—with the exception of our invasion of North Africa—most engross the reader. Soon after England has been tentatively saved by her airmen, Germany invades Russia and sweeps irresistibly eastward.

The convoys of supplies sent by England to her new ally had to be fought through gales and ice and submarines, with such frightful losses that it seems incredible that crews should have been found for them.

And the Russians ..send back complaints instead of thanks, asking for a second front when a second front is impossible.

Then come defeat and surrender in the African desert, caused, like our early Korean upsets, by an inferiority of fire power and tanks.

In the meantime the Japanese break through all Pacific defenses, sink the two greatest British battleships, threaten Australia, penetrate the Indian Ocean, and drive the British fleet for safety back to the African Coast.

And soon Singapore, the British bastion for the whole Far East, surrenders—the worst, most costly, and least explained disaster in British military history.

All this we know, but not how it looked from the inside, how far more serious the situation was in early 1942 than readers of the newspapers, or for that matter correspondents and government officials, guessed. Here it is told—nobly and honestly and intelligently told.

The beginning of the end comes with American naval victories in the Pacific, with El Alamein in the desert, and most of all with the landing of an American army in Africa.

Churchill's account of the famous Darían affair is the most intelligent and informing of all so far written. And his story of the Casablanca Conference, with its dispute as to who said "Unconditional Surrender” for the Germans, and its lively picture of Roosevelt and Churchill in action together, is quite the most picturesque description of that famous scene.

Yet it often happens that events in a historic period which seem at the time to be relatively unimportant prove to later readers to be of the most fascinating interest.

This is true of Churchill’s visit to the Kremlin to try to come to some face-to-face understanding with Stalin the man, and the Russians in general. Someday this visit will be dramatized for television or the movies.

Churchill, the indomitable, is scolded and insulted; Stalin, the inscrutable, is one minute all humor and pipe smoke, the next a threatening, unreasonable autocrat.

And then after the thunderstorms, Stalin takes Churchill for a quiet time at home, where his daughter gets a meal, and all unbutton for a good talk. If most of the book is tragedy lived through and overcome, this Russian chapter is comedy, with an axe always handy.

But whether for history or for autobiography, this fourth volume of Churchill’s is perhaps the most consistently good reading of them all.


Book I - The Onslaught of Japan

  • I - Australasian Anxieties - Page 3
  • II - The Setback in The Desert - Page 18
  • III - Penalties in Malaya - Page 32
  • IV - A Vote of Confidence - Page 53
  • V - Cabinet Changes - Page 65
  • VI - The Fall of Singapore - Page 81
  • VII - The U-Boat Paradise - Page 95
  • VIII - The Loss of The Dutch East Indies - Page 118
  • IX - The Invasion of Burma - Page 134
  • X - Ceylon and the Bay of Bengal - Page 152
  • XI - The Shipping Stranglehold - Page 167
  • XII - India: The Cripps Mission - Page 181
  • XIII - Madagascar - Page 197
  • XIV - American Naval Victories: The Coral Sea and Midway Island - Page 213
  • XV - The Arctic Convoys - Page 228
  • XVI - The Offensive in The Aether - Page 248
  • XVII - Malta and the Desert - Page 260
  • XVIII - 'Second Front Now!' - Page 280
  • XIX - The Molotov Visit - Page 292
  • XX - Strategic Natural Selection - Page 309
  • XXI - Rommel Attacks - Page 319
  • XXII - My Second Visit to Washington - Page 336
  • XXIII - The Vote of Censure - Page 351

Book II - Africa Redeemed

  • XXIV - The Eighth Army at Bay - Page 371
  • XXV - Decision For 'Torch' - Page 390
  • XXVI - My Journey to Cairo: Changes in Command - Page 408
  • XXVII - Moscow: The First Meeting - Page 425
  • XXVIII - Moscow: A Relationship Established - Page 436
  • XXIX - Return to Cairo - Page 452
  • XXX - The Final Shaping Of 'Torch' - Page 471
  • XXXI - Suspense and Strain - Page 493
  • XXXII - Soviet 'Thank You' - Page 505
  • XXXIII - The Battle of Alamein - Page 526
  • XXXIV - The Torch Is Lit - Page 542
  • XXXV - The Darlan Episode - Page 565
  • XXXVI - Problems of Victory - Page 581
  • XXXVII - Our Need to Meet - Page 592
  • XXXVIII - The Casablanca Conference - Page 604
  • XXXIX - Adana And Tripoli - Page 623
  • XL - Home to Trouble - Page 653
  • XLI - Russia And the Western Allies - Page 663
  • XLII - Victory in Tunis - Page 682
  • XLIII - My Third Visit to Washington - Page 699
  • XLIV - Problems of War and Peace - Page 715
  • XLV - Italy The Goal - Page 726


  • List of Abbreviations - Page 747
  • List of Code-Names - Page 748
  • Prime Minister's Personal Minutes and Telegrams, January 1942-May 1943 - Page 750
  • Singapore Defenses: Memorandum by General Pownall - Page 855
  • Monthly Totals of Shipping Losses, British, Allied, And Neutral, 1942 - Page 860
  • Promises About Post-War Conditions: The Beveridge Report - Page 861
  • Ministerial Appointments for The Years 1942 And 1943 - Page 863
  • List of Some of The Senior Officers of The British And United States Forces Holding High Appointments, 1942-43 - Page 871

Index - Page 875

Library of Congress Catalog Listing

  • LC Control No.: 51002503
  • Type of Material: Book (Print, Microform, Electronic, etc.)
  • Personal Name: Churchill, Winston, 1874-1965.
  • Main Title: The hinge of fate.
  • Published/Created: Boston, Houghton Mifflin, 1950.
  • Description: xvi, 1000 p. maps. 22 cm.
  • Subjects: World War, 1939-1945. World War, 1939-1945 --Great Britain
  • Series: The Second World War, 4
  • LC Classification : D743 .C47 vol. 4
  • Geographic Area Code: e-uk---
Return to Top of Page

World War 2
Book Collection
GG Archives

WW2 Book Collection

Primary Military Collections