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At 5:20 a.m. on Sept. 1, 1939, the fishermen of Puck, Poland, lifted their faces to the grey dawn and saw man's new way of making war. It was the blitzkrieg, paced by the new instrument of air power. It rolled across Puck, rolled across Poland, rolled across Western Europe. Eight months later, in the space of 7½ minutes, it buried 30,000 Hollanders in the rubble of Rotterdam.

In London, it tried, although it failed, to reach its absolute climax. In the cities of the world, people raised their awed faces to...

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