24 August 1939: The fate of the world is hanging in the balance. Hitler has ambitions to invade Poland and hopes Stalin will now help him. The West must try to stop him. If they don't, world war will result. In this dramatic account Richard Overy re-creates hour-by-hour the last days of peace in 1939, as politicians and the public braced themselves for a war they feared might spell the end of European civilization. Nothing was predictable or inevitable. The West hoped that Hitler would see sense if they stood firm. Hitler was convinced the West would back down. The one constant feature was the determination of Poland to fight against the armed might of Germany. Countdown to War brings to life a defining moment in the history of the twentieth century.