Preparing for the deadliest conflict in human history

Try this for size ' a Portsmouth baby is fitted with a gas mask in 1939
Try this for size ' a Portsmouth baby is fitted with a gas mask in 1939
The new trackbed for the Horndean Light Railway looking south across the bridge over Southwick Hill Road, Cosham, about 1903.

NOSTALGIA: Ready and waiting, the shiny new tracks climbing Portsdown Hill

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It was 72 years ago this month that what was to become the deadliest conflict in human history began.

For Britain the Second World War started on September 3, 1939, two days after Hitler’s Nazi Germany invaded Poland.

Troops march past the Connaught Drill Hall in Stanhope Road, Landport, on the day war broke out

Troops march past the Connaught Drill Hall in Stanhope Road, Landport, on the day war broke out

Between then and its end in 1945 it cost the lives of about 60 million people.

Of course, it changed the world and the war’s ramifications continue to this day.

Now The News is helping you put those devastating years into context with a 24-part encyclopaedia which tracks the entire conflict.

You can start your collection this Saturday with the first volume – The War Begins – which is free with The News.

This book starts by tracking Hitler’s rise to power from First World War corporal to chancellor after which he established a centralised dictatorship.

It looks at how Britain prepared itself for war and today we feature some of the scenes in the Portsmouth area as people prepared themselves for the inevitable bloodshed.

The book also recalls the events in the late 1930s which inevitably led to the invasion of Poland.

Volume by volume over the next six months, the series builds to tell the story of the war in detailed and authoritative text and pictures.

It looks at the conflict from all angles, including stirring and moving accounts from those who took part.

Every Tuesday, beginning on October 4 and for the following 22 weeks, you will be able to buy at participating retailers and News offices, a new volume of World War II for only £2.99 when you present the voucher cut from The News.

If you have The News delivered, you will receive your first free copy with your newspaper on Saturday.

Other books in this exclusive collection include The Road to Dunkirk, The Blitz, D-Day, The Home Fronts, From Arnhem to The Rhine, The Holocaust and the Surrender of Japan.

So make sure you visit your newsagent on Saturday to buy your copy of The News and get your free copy of World War II.

If you don’t receive your copy please return to your point of purchase and ask the shop staff for help.