John Lukacs con Five Days in London: May 19405/24 to 5/28/40 altered the course of the history, as the British War Cabinet debated whether to negotiate with Hitler or continue the war. The importance of these five days is the focus of Lukacs' new book. He takes us hour by hour into the unfolding of events at 10 Downing St, where Churchill & his cabinet were considering their war responsibilities. We see how the military disasters on the Continent--especially the plight of the nearly 400,000 British soldiers bottled up in Dunkirk--affected Churchill's fragile political situation, for he'd been prime minister only a fortnight & was regarded as impetuously hotheaded even by many of his own party. He also investigates the mood of the British, drawing on newspaper & Mass-Observation reports showing how they, tho only partly informed of the dangers, began to support Churchill's determination.
The Hinge of Fate
The turning point. Two accounts
The awesomeness of the German tide
Problems of British morale
Distrust of Churchill
Opinions & sentiments
"Outwardly calm, inwardly anxious"
Friday, 24 May
Hitler's halt order
The Germans before Dunkirk
Hitler & the Conservatives
The two Rights
The War Cabinet
Churchill & Roosevelt
The British press
"A slight increase in anxiety & a slight decrease in optimism"
Saturday, 25 May
An English weekend
The French: Weygand & Petain
Halifax & the Italian ambassador
Churchill & the Defence Committee
"Depression is quite definitely up"
Sunday, 26 May
An agitated day
Three meetings of the War Cabinet
Chamberlain, Halifax, Churchill
Disagreements between Halifax & Churchill
Scarcity of news: "A mandate to delay judgment & not to worry"
"In Westminster Abbey"
Monday, 27 May
What was happening at Dunkirk
The Belgians surrender
Three War Cabinets & a walk in the garden
"You'd have been better off playing cricket"
Tuesday, 28 May
Morale, opinion & the press
"We cannot possibly starve the public in this way"
Foreigners & refugees
Churchill's instructions & the first War Cabinet
His statement in the Commons
The second War Cabinet
He comes through
A long-range view of the war
The meaning of Dunkirk
"It is time to face up to facts"
An antiquated Britain
Churchill & Europe