By Richard Overy

A top historian re-creates the ultimate hours of peace in Europe.

On August 24, 1939, the area held its collective breath as Hitler and Stalin signed the now notorious nonaggression pact, signaling an impending invasion of Poland and bold Western Europe to respond.

during this dramatic account of the ultimate days prior to the outbreak of worldwide battle II, award-winning historian Richard Overy vividly chronicles the unraveling of peace, hour via grim hour, as politicians and usual electorate brace themselves for a struggle that may spell the tip of ecu civilization. not anything used to be completely predictable or inevitable. The West was hoping that Hitler may see experience in the event that they stood enterprise. Hitler used to be confident the West could backpedal. Moments of uncertainty alternated with these of war of words; mystery intelligence was once utilized by each side to aid their hopes. the single consistent characteristic used to be the selection of Poland, a rustic created in simple terms in 1919, to guard its newfound independence opposed to a tremendously more suitable enemy. 1939 files a defining second within the violent historical past of the 20th century.

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By rg55, a cartoonist presented James McNeil Whistler's Arrangement in Gray Black No. 1: The Artist's Mother, better known as "Whistler's Mother" as the elderly woman sits in her nineteenth-century dark day dress with cap—but this time posed before a TV set. The painting, like Leonardo's Gioconda (the "Mona Lisa") has been so often reproduced that one is virtually unable to see it freshly. The cartoonist relies on this overfamiliarity and, adding the television set, reconfigures the painting, in fact defamiliarizes the time-worn portrait.

It is her you see by the fire, presiding" Stowe says to the reader, emphasizing that Aunt Chloe is the embodiment of "satisfaction and contentment . . a cook in the very bone and centre of her soul" (24). As Chloe tends her baking pan, Stowe leaves her to "finish the picture" of Uncle Tom's "cottage," and readers next are shown a bedroom corner turned "drawing-room," also with hearth, this a fireplace on whose wall hang "scriptural prints, and a portrait of General Washington" (24-25). Stowe gives readers two hearths, two shrines, one to domesticity, the other to patriotism, the very founding of the nation.

No one who has ever stood before the old-time, spacious fireplace . . can have failed to feel a thrill at the experience. Why, here Washington lived. And this is the kind of fire he had! . What an atmosphere of old-time ways and old-time living—the very heart of the republic, even now" (Huston, 53). The historian of American popular culture, Karal Ann Marling, notes that illustrations of Betsy Ross sewing the flag usually featured a "capacious hearth," and that the "ideal colonial hearth needed a man of the house," customarily George Washington, "and a lady with some active claim to the respect of history" (18-19).

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