Synopses & Reviews
The Origins of the Second World War
explores the reasons why the Second World War broke out in September 1939 and not sooner, and why a European war expanded into world war by 1941.
Richard Overy argues that this was not just Hitlers War but one that had its roots and origins in the decline of the old empires of Britain and France and the rise of ambitious new powers in Germany, Italy and Japan. Any explanation of the outbreak of hostilities must be multinational in scope taking into account the basic instability of the international system that had still not recovered from the shocks of the Great War.
In this third edition:
· The role of Italy in the approach to war has been re-evaluated
· Overy addresses recent revelations about Soviet policy in the 1930s, particularly exploring Soviet military planning and preparations
· Arguments about Chamberlain and his policy of appeasement are rethought and reassessed.
This new edition has now been completely overhauled, updated, expanded and reset. With a comprehensive documents section, colour plates, guide to whos who, a chronology and lists of further reading, The Origins of the Second World War will provide an invaluable introduction to any student of this fascinating period.
Richard Overy is Professor of History at the University of Exeter. He has authored 17 books on the Third Reich, the Second World War and air warfare which include:The Air War 1939-1945 (2nd ed, 2006),Why the Allies Won (2nd ed, 2006) and The Dictators: Hitlers Germany and Stalins Russia (2004) which won both the Wolfson and the Hessell Tiltman Prizes for History in 2005.
This book is an ideal introduction to this much-studied topic, written by a major name in the field. The previous editions sold over 37,000 copies The author is a leading authority on the subject The Second World War is a very popular subject among the general reader
The book explores the reasons why the Second World War broke out in September 1939 and not sooner, and why a European war expanded into world war by 1941. The war has usually been seen simply as Hitlers war and yet the wider conflict that broke out when Germany invaded Poland was not the war that Hitler wanted. He had hoped for a short war against Poland; instead, Britain and France declared war on Germany.
Richard Overy argues that any explanation of the outbreak of hostilities must therefore be multi-national and he shows how the wars origins are to be found in the basic instability of the international system that was brought about by the decline of the old empires of Britain and France and the rise of ambitious new powers, Italy, Germany and Japan, keen to build new empires of their own.
About the Author
Richard Overy is Professor in History at University of Exeter (previously Professor of Modern European History at Kings College, London). He has written widely on history of the Third Reich, the Second World War and the Soviet Union, including a number of critically acclaimed books: Russias War
(1999), the best-seller The Battle
(2000), and Interrogations: The Nazi Elite in Allied Hands
He was awarded the Samuel Eliot Morison Prize by the Society for Military History for a lifetimes contribution to military history. He is also a regular contributor to radio and television.
Table of Contents
PART ONE: THE BACKGROUND
1. Explaining the Second World War
PART TWO: ANALYSIS
2. The International Crisis
The collapse of the League
France and Britain
America and the Soviet Union
From the Rhineland to Munich
3. Economic and Imperial Rivalry
The imperial powers
The have-not powers
The failure of Economic Appeasement
4. Armaments and Domestic Politics
Finance, industry and labour
Rearmament and domestic politics
5. War Over Poland
The aftermath of Munich
The Soviet factor
The outbreak of the war
6. From European to World War
The war in the west
The coming of world war
PART THREE: ASSESSMENT
7. Hitlers War?
PART FOUR: DOCUMENTS