Following victory in Sicily, the Allies crossed into southern Italy in September 1943 with the aim of driving Axis forces north and taking Rome by Christmas.
Hopes for a swift victory were soon tempered by a fierce German resistance. As the weather closed in and the advance slowed, the critical months leading up to the Battle of Monte Cassino would inflict a heavy price.
To mark the release of his new book, James Holland will be taking a fresh look at the crucial first months of the Italian campaign, explaining why it took place, the wider context in which it was fought, and the constraints and prime issues affecting both sides. He will also discuss what the conditions were like for all those involved, whether Allied or German troops, or Italian civilians.
As James will explain, the campaign was particularly brutal, the scale of destruction immense, and the trauma for all those caught up in this savage storm, truly terrible.
James Holland is a historian, writer and broadcaster. The author of a number of bestselling histories - including ‘Battle of Britain’, ‘Dam Busters’, ‘Normandy '44’ and, most recently, ‘Brothers In Arms’ - he has also written nine works of historical fiction, including the ‘Jack Tanner’ novels.
He has presented, and written, a large number of television programmes and series for the BBC, Channel 4, National Geographic, and the History and Discovery channels. A three-part documentary series based on, and named after, his bestselling book ‘Normandy ‘44’ can be found on Amazon Prime.
James is co-founder of the Chalke Valley History Festival. He presents the ‘Chalke Valley History Hit’ podcast, as well as ‘We Have Ways of Making You Talk’, a podcast with Al Murray in which they discuss the Second World War.