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An excerpt from Arthur Herman's new book "Freedom Forge"

PROLOGUE

Our opponents are miserable worms. I saw them
at Munich.
—Adolf Hitler

IT WASN’T A DAY to expect catastrophe.

Across Western Europe, May 10, 1940, dawned bright and clear. Then, with a whine accelerating to a scream, swarms of German Stuka divebombers swooped out of the skies over Holland and Belgium and unloaded their bombs. The skies turned from blue to white as thousands of parachutes opened and German paratroopers descended to earth to seize key bridges and installations. The supposedly impregnable Fort Eben Emael fell in a matter of hours. Dutch and Belgian troops, stunned into impotence, dropped their rifles and surrendered—beaten by an enemy they barely had time to see, let alone fight.

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Excerpted from FREEDOM’S FORGE by Arthur Herman Copyright © 2012 by Arthur Herman. Excerpted by permission of Random House Group, a division of Random House, Inc.  All rights reserved.  No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.

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