PMH Bell's famous book is a comprehensive study of the period and debates surrounding the European origins of the Second World War. He approaches the subject from three different angles: describing the various explanations that have been offered for the war and the historiographical debates that have arisen from them, analysing the ideological, economic and strategic forces at work in Europe during the 1930s, and tracing the course of events from peace in 1932, via the initial outbreak of hostilities in 1939, through to the climactic German attack on the Soviet Union in 1941 which marked the descent into general conflict.
Written in a lucid, accessible style, this is an indispensable guide to the complex origins of the Second World War.
P.M.H. Bell is Honorary Senior Fellow at the University of Liverpool. He is the author of France and Britain 1900-1940: Entente and Estrangement and France and Britain 1940-1994: The Long Separation.
Chronology PART ONE: INTRODUCTION: PROBLEMS OF INTERPRETATION 1. On War and the Causes of War 2. A Thirty Years War? The Disintegration of Europe 3. The Case Against a Thirty Years War: The Restoration of Europe 4. History and Historians PART TWO: THE UNDERLYING FORCES. The Role of Ideology 5. Italian Fascism 6. German Nazism 7. Parliamentary Democracy: France and Britain 8. Soviet Communism Economic Issues and the Coming of War 9. The Great Depression and International Relations 10. Economic Problems and the Coming of War The Role of Strategy and Armed Force 11. Armed Forces, Strategy and Foreign Policy (1): France and Britain 12. Armed Forces, Strategy and Foreign Policy (2): Italy, Germany and the Soviet Union PART THREE: THE COMING OF WAR 1932-1941 13. From Peace to the Eve of War, 1932-1937 14. War postponed, 1938 15. Decisions for War, 1939 16. The Expanding War, 1939-1940 17. Germany and the Soviet Union, 1940-1941 Conclusion Who's Who Bibliography