Exploring the reasons why the Second World War broke out in September 1939 and why a European conflict developed into a war that spanned the globe, The Origins of the Second World War argues that this was not just `Hitler's 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 who wanted large empires of their own.
This fourth edition has been revised throughout, covering the origins of the war from its background in the First World War to its expansion to embrace the Soviet Union, Japan and the United States by the end of 1941. Creating a comprehensive and analytical narrative while remaining a succinct overview of the subject, this book takes a thematic approach to the complex range of events that culminated in global warfare, discussing factors such as economic rivalry, rearmament and domestic politics and emphasising that any explanation of the outbreak of hostilities must be global in scope.
Containing updated references and primary source documents alongside a glossary, a chronology of key events and a Who's Who of important figures, this book is an invaluable introduction for any student of this fascinating period.
Richard Overy is Professor of History at the University of Exeter. He has authored and edited more than 30 books on the European dictators, the Second World War and the history of air power, including The Air War 1939-1945 (2006, second edition), Why the Allies Won (2006, second edition), The Dictators: Hitler's Germany and Stalin's Russia (2004), which won both the Wolfson and the Hessell Tiltman Prizes for History in 2005, and 1939: Countdown to War (2009). His book The Bombing War: Europe 1939-1945 (2013) won a Cundill Award for historical literature.
Preface List of figures List of tables Maps Chronology Who's Who PART ONE 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 Rearmament Finance, industry and labour Rearmament and domestic politics 5 WAR OVER POLAND The aftermath of Munich The Soviet factor The outbreak of war 6 FROM EUROPEAN TO WORLD WAR The war in the west Barbarossa The coming of world war PART THREE ASSESSMENT 7 HITLER'S WAR? PART FOUR DOCUMENTS 101 1 The Treaty of Versailles and Germany 2 The Covenant of the League 3 The search for a settlement 4 American `appeasement' 5 Stalin anticipates war 6 The `Hossbach memorandum' 7 Preparation for war before Munich 8 The Munich Conference 9 The Munich Agreement 10 Economic pressure on Japan 11 Mussolini's vision of empire 12 Economic appeasement 13 Britain and Germany in the Balkans 14 The Four-Year Plan 15 Economic dangers for Britain 16 The crisis in France 17 `Peace for our time' 18 The change of mood in the west 19 Hitler plans to crush Poland 20 Chamberlain guarantees Poland 21 The Franco-British `war plan', 1939 22 British intelligence on Germany 23 Stalin warns the west after Munich 24 The Franco-British failure in Moscow 25 The Soviet reaction to German advances, 1939 26 The German-Soviet Pact 27 Britain's Probable Attitude 28 Hitler gambles on western weakness 29 The last gasp of appeasement 30 Bonnet's doubts about war 31 Poland in the middle 32 The last days of peace 33 Chamberlain's `awful Sunday' 34 Berlin proposes peace 35 A Demand for Peace 36 The Tripartite Pact 37 Preparation for total mobilization in Germany 38 The Barbarossa Directive 39 The German attack on Russia 40 Russia raises the price for co-operation 41 Japan decides on war 42 Creating the new world order GLOSSARY REFERENCES INDEX