About the National Archives

Welcome Remarks for "The Allies Strike Back, 1941–1943: The War in the West, Vol. II"

Good afternoon. I’m David Ferriero, Archivist of the United States, and I’m pleased to welcome you all to the William G. McGowan Theater at the National Archives, whether you’re here with us in the theater or joining us through C-SPAN or YouTube.

Before we hear from James Holland about his book The Allies Strike Back, I want to let you know about two other programs coming up soon at the McGowan Theater.

On Tuesday, October 17, at 7 p.m., we’ll host a discussion about the recent television documentary The Vietnam War. Cokie Roberts will moderate a discussion with directors Ken Burns and Lynn Novick. Our new exhibit “Remembering Vietnam” will open on November 10 in our Lawrence F. O'Brien Gallery.

On Wednesday, October 18, at noon, author Liza Mundy will be here to talk about her new book, Code Girls: The Untold Story of the American Women Code Breakers of World War II. Mundy extensively used National Archives records to uncover the story of the young American women who cracked key Axis codes, helping to secure Allied victory and revolutionizing the field of cryptanalysis.

To learn more about these and all of our public programs and exhibits, consult our monthly Calendar of Events online at Archives.gov. Check our website or sign up to get email updates. You’ll also find information about other National Archives programs and activities.

Another way to get more involved with the National Archives is to become a member of the National Archives Foundation. The Foundation supports the work of the agency, especially its education and outreach programs. Pick up your application for membership in the lobby or become a member online at archivesfoundation.org.

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Seventy-five years ago, Europe was engulfed in a war that already lasted three years. The Allies pushed back against the Axis, but there was yet no end in sight to the conflict.

James Holland tells the story of those crucial years of World War II in his new book, The Allies Strike Back, 1941–1943: The War in the West, volume two of his War in the West Trilogy.

For years Mr. Holland combed newly available archives, read letters and diaries, and conducted extensive interviews in the course of his research for this book.

The World War II–related holdings here at the National Archives are immense. American military and civilian agencies that were involved directly or indirectly in World War II created tens of thousands of cubic feet that are now held by the National Archives. Thousands of photographs, motion pictures, and sound recordings—both civilian and military—bring us face to face with the many facets of war and its aftermath. And maps and plans provide graphic details of the scope and movements of the war.

Every day—in our research rooms and online—researchers examine operational records, personnel records, and even captured German records—to uncover the stories of the war and the people who fought, died, and survived.

During this 75th anniversary of World War II, National Archives staff are ready to assist those who come to us, searching for the evidence of what happened in the past.

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Today’s guest speaker, James Holland, is a historian, writer, and broadcaster. In addition to his works on World War II, he has also written numerous works of historical fiction. His writing has appeared in magazines and newspapers including the Sunday Telegraph, the Times, Daily Mail, and BBC History Magazine. He has written and presented the BBC documentaries Battle of Britain and Dam Busters, among others. A fellow of the Royal Historical Society, Holland has also advised the British government on history curriculum and has his own collection at the Imperial War Museum.

Ladies and gentlemen, please welcome James Holland.