Synopses & Reviews
In this magisterial narrative, Zara Steiner traces the twisted road to war that began with Hitler's assumption of power in Germany. Covering a wide geographical canvas, from America to the Far East, Steiner provides an indispensable reassessment of the most disputed events of these tumultuous years.
Steiner underlines the far-reaching consequences of the Great Depression, which shifted the initiative in international affairs from those who upheld the status quo to those who were intent on destroying it. In Europe, the l930s were Hitler's years. He moved the major chess pieces on the board, forcing the others to respond. From the start, Steiner argues, he intended war, and he repeatedly gambled on Germany's future to acquire the necessary resources to fulfil his continental ambitions. Only war could have stopped him-an unwelcome message for most of Europe. Misperception, miscomprehension, and misjudgment on the part of the other Great Powers leaders opened the way for Hitler's repeated diplomatic successes.
It is ideology that distinguished the Hitler era from previous struggles for the mastery of Europe. Ideological presumptions created false images and raised barriers to understanding that even good intelligence could not penetrate. Only when the leaders of Britain and France realized the scale of Hitler's ambition, and the challenge Germany posed to their Great Power status, did they finally declare war.
"A gigantic work of synthesis...a staggering achievement." - Literary Review
"A remarkable achievement of conscientious scholarship." - New Statesman
"A landmark event...Steiner's two volumes will undoubtedly become a standard work of reference for the two decades between the world wars...A distillation of a lifetime of fine scholarship, this is an invaluable account of one dimension of these complex and fateful years." - Britain and the World
"A modern classic...magnificent... Authoritative and absorbing, Steiner's volume will stand the test of time." - Joe Maiolo, BBC History Magazine
"A terrifically good read...a definitive account, the distillation of a lifetime's dedicated scholarship... No short review can do justice to the book's riches." - Piers Brendon, The Independent
About the Author
is Emeritus Fellow, New Hall, University of Cambridge, and a Fellow of the British Academy.
Table of Contents
Part I: Retreat from Internationalism, 1933-1938
1. Brown Dawn: The Rise of Hitler and the Death of Disarmament, 1933-1934
2. Uncertain Embraces: The European Powers and Nazi Germany, 1934-1935
3. The Assault on Versailles and Locarno: Ethiopia and the occupation of the Rhineland
4. The Remnants of Internationalism, 1936-1938
5. The Spanish Cockpit, 1935-1938
6. Rearmament and Appeasement 1936-1937
7. Appeasement Advances, 1937-1938
8. Illusions of Neutrality: Eastern Europe, 1936-1938
9. Whither the Soviet Union? Moscow and the West, 1936-1938
10. Thunder from the East: The Sino-Japanese Conflict and the European Powers, 1933-1938
11. Hitler Moves: Austria and Czechoslovakia, 1938
12. The Munich Settlement
Part II: The Road to Hitler's War, 1938-1939
13. The Fog of Peace: Strategic Choices after Munich
14. Black Sun: Aggression and Deterrence
15. Darkening Skies: Peace Talking and War Planning in Britain and France
16. Unleashing the Dogs of War
17. Red Clouds: The Soviet Union and the Nazi-Soviet Pact, 1939
18. Escape from War or Persecution? The Smaller Powers and the Jews
19. The Nightmare of the Dark: The Decisions for War