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World War Two in Seven Verses

A History of World War Two in Seven Verses


            Fifty to sixty million people died during the Second World War of which approximately sixty per cent were non-combatants. The total dead is four to fives times that of the First World War. It was simply the most destructive war in our history and its reverberations continue to influence events in the world today.

            World War Two in Seven Verses covers a history of the entire war in less than ten minutes. Allowing an easily accessible perspective of the Second World War as a whole; including when the war took place, the sequence in which major events unfolded and an impression of the global nature of the conflict.

A History of World War Two in Seven Verses

By Griffin Turton

In the year nineteen thirty nine

Of good intent there is no sign,

Hitler’s panzers invade Poland, no peace in their time.

So English children onto the Pied Piper’s trains climb,

Then Britain and France on Germany declare war

And the Soviets finish off Poland via the back door.

In October a U-boat sinks the Royal Oak at Scapa Flow,

Then the Soviets attack Finland, a Winter War in the snow,

Whilst off the coast of South America, the Battle of the River Plate

Causes the Graf Spee to be scuttled as the Royal Navy wait.


In the year nineteen forty,

There is no Phony War at sea; the Battle of the Atlantic is key,

Denmark is attacked by Germany and quickly overrun

But then in Norway their victory is harder won.

On May tenth the Low Countries are invaded and a trap is set

And Churchill is made Prime Minister, promising 'blood, toil, tears and sweat',

Then the trap is sprung and from the Ardennes, Hitler’s Panzers appear,

Cut off at Dunkirk, small boats help the British Expeditionary Force to disappear.

Now Mussolini declares war, besieging Malta and attacking France in the rear,

France makes peace but the future of their fleet is Churchill’s biggest fear

So the Royal Navy attack French ships in Africa

And in return the ‘Vichy French’ bomb Gibraltar.

Above England with Spitfires and Hurricanes the Battle of Britain is won,

Then there is the Blitz and over British cities bombs fall by the tonne,

“London can take it’’, Americans are told and for an alliance Churchill calls

But as the year ends, thick dark smoke gathers around St. Pauls.


In the year nineteen forty one,

The Western Desert Force fights the Italians under the desert sun

And in a night off Cape Matapan, the Italians, the Royal Navy out gun.

Then the Desert Fox arrives and the desert force is on the run

And for the Australians the Siege of Tobruk has begun,

In May the Bismarck sinks the Hood but three days later it’s course too is run.

While in Crete the British suffer another grievous defeat,

Though it is a Pyrrhic victory for the German airborne elite,

For now Hitler’s Barbarossa begins in the June heat

And though the Soviets survive they suffer terribly in their retreat.

Then at prayers in Pearl Harbour, with the Rising Sun,

Infamous Japanese deeds are done,

Now the Sino-Japanese war and the European war are one.

In the year nineteen forty two,

The Americans are now in the war too

But the U-boats are happy again freely sinking the merchant fleet,

And in Singapore the British Empire suffers it’s worst ever defeat.

The Japanese showing no mercy, both civilians and POWs they badly treat,

Whilst the Nazis with their Death Camps are aiming to kill all the Jews.

A commando raid on St Nazaire, supplies rare and much needed good news

And then in the Pacific during the Battle of Midway the US navy aircrews,

Outnumbered by the Japanese, snatch a crushing and fiery victory.

So despite desert defeats, convoy PQ17 and disaster at Dieppe, in this history,

The tide now turns. Slowly at first at Stalingrad and in the Guadalcanal Campaign

But then Monty and the 8th Army are finally victorious at El Alemein

And shortly after the Allied Torch lands in North Africa like a flame.


In the year nineteen forty three,

Frozen in Stalingrad the doomed German 6th Army cannot break free,

Whilst in Casablanca, Roosevelt demands unconditional surrender!

In the Atlantic, Ultra and Liberators force the Wolfpacks under

And cut off in Tunisia, the Axis Army finally has to surrender.

The Dambusters, blow the Möhne and Eder dams asunder,

Wreaking havoc in the Ruhr and causing the Germans to reel

And then the Allies take Sicily, and then Italy is invaded and brought to heel.

While the German Citadel falls at Kursk and German cities go up in flames,

In England GI’s invade with candy bars and nylons, calling women dames

And in the Pacific on the Gilbert Islands so very far,

The US Marines add to their history the name Tarawa.


In the year nineteen forty four,

Below Monte Cassino, Texans, Indians, Gurkhas, Kiwis, the casualties soar,

Above Germany it is ‘Big Week’ and into the Luftwaffe, Mustangs roar,

The Japanese try to enter India but the Fourteenth Army slam the door.

French and Polish troops outflank the Germans and the Gustav Line is no more

And the US Fifth Army finally breaks out through Anzio to liberate Rome.

Then the next night six gliders fly out from Tarrant Rushton aerodrome,

With an airborne army flying to Normandy, to seize bridges and prepare the way,

So Americans, British and Canadians can storm ashore, on this their longest day.

In reply the Germans launch flying bombs, death in a new modern way,

On Saipan Seabees construct runways to bomb Japan, now not so far away,

And with the Soviet strategic offensive another German army is swept away.

Then the allies breakout, Paris, Brussels and Antwerp are soon liberated

But at Arnhem many British paratroopers lie dead, a bridge too far it is said.

Then victory at Walcheren and the Port of Antwerp is open in a trice,

Then in desperation Hitler has one last roll of the dice,

And in the Battle of the Bulge many pay the ultimate price.


In the year nineteen forty five,

Roosevelt is dying and will not long survive,

But still to Yalta he goes for the last meeting of the big three,

To discuss the fate of nations and how the post war world will be,

Empowered by the Red Army’s advances, Stalin bends them to his will

And through the grand alliance runs a chill.

For the US Marines fighting on Iwo Jima, the cost is dear,

In the west the allies cross the Rhine and now their way is clear,

Then the Soviets advance into Austria and it is soon goodnight Vienna,

And in Italy the Eighth Army spring offensive forces the gap at Argenta.

The Forgotten Army captures Rangoon and in Burma the Japanese are defeated,

The Soviets storm into Berlin and Hitler in his bunker shoots himself in the head.

The Germans surrender but on Okinawa and in the Philippines the war goes on,

As B29s firebomb Japanese cities and Kamikaze pilots try to save the Rising Sun, Then an atomic bomb is dropped on Hiroshima followed by another on Nagasaki

And so the Japanese surrender finally.

With sixty million dead and maybe many more,

For our future, we should learn and lessons draw,

From this our world’s most destructive war.

©Griffin Turton

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