Today is the 70th anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbor, the event that brought the United States into the war that had begun in Poland in September, 1939. George Washington, in his speech when he was leaving the office of the presidency, warned the United States to beware of entangling alliances. The domino fiasco that brought the US into World War II was exactly what he had in mind.
Germany used an excuse to invade Poland. Poland was allied with Great Britain and France so when Germany declared war on Poland, Great Britain and France had to declare war on Germany. The majority of people in the United States were absolutely opposed to getting involved in a European War so, officially, the US stayed out of it. Unofficially, Franklin Roosevelt began the Lend-Lease program with Great Britain. We would lease or lend planes, tanks, trucks, ships, and every other kind of heavy material to Great Britain who would return it when they were done with it. The country stayed out of the fighting war until Japan attacked Pearl Harbor. Japan is, as we know, a nation made up of islands with few natural resources. The United States presence in Hawaii kept Japan from making claims on the resources of the other countries in the Pacific. It was Japan’s misfortune that they did not understand the size of the United States nor the manufacturing advancements that had been made even during the Depression. Japan declared war on the United States, the United States declared war on Japan, Great Britain and France declared war on Japan, Japan declared war on the countries in Europe and the US found itself involved in a European war even though the proximate cause of all the war declaring was on the other side of the world.
Never has an event in history given rise to more books than World War II. Some of those books have been thrillers about civilian life crimes that just happened to take place during war time. It would take pages to list all the books that are worth reading in this genre.
A unique take on the police procedurals is a terrific series written by a Canadian author, J. Robert Janes. The series is set in France during the Occupation and it features an unusual partnership. One of the detectives is German, a man who was a police officer before the war and was kept in the job once it began. Because he was part of the system that protected German citizens in German territory, he was considered a member of the Gestapo. He was partnered with a French detective and together the two form an alliance to act as police detectives not as an arm of government they despised.
James Benn, Alan Furst, Bill Mesce, David Downing, and Philip Kerr have written excellent series set in different parts of Europe during the war period.