1939: The Alliance That Never Was and the Coming of World War II [NOOK Book]

Overview

At a crucial point in the twentieth century, as Nazi Germany prepared for war, negotiations between Britain, France, and the Soviet Union became the last chance to halt Hitler’s aggression. Incredibly, the French and British governments dallied, talks failed, and in August 1939 the Soviet Union signed a nonaggression pact with Germany. Michael Carley’s gripping account of these negotiations is not a pretty story. It is about the failures of appeasement and collective security in Europe. It is about moral ...
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1939: The Alliance That Never Was and the Coming of World War II

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Overview

At a crucial point in the twentieth century, as Nazi Germany prepared for war, negotiations between Britain, France, and the Soviet Union became the last chance to halt Hitler’s aggression. Incredibly, the French and British governments dallied, talks failed, and in August 1939 the Soviet Union signed a nonaggression pact with Germany. Michael Carley’s gripping account of these negotiations is not a pretty story. It is about the failures of appeasement and collective security in Europe. It is about moral depravity and blindness, about villains and cowards, and about heroes who stood against the intellectual and popular tides of their time. Some died for their beliefs, others labored in obscurity and have been nearly forgotten. In 1939 they sought to make the Grand Alliance that never was between France, Britain, and the Soviet Union. This story of their efforts is background to the wartime alliance created in 1941 without France but with the United States in order to defeat a demonic enemy. 1939 is based upon Mr. Carley’s longtime research on the period, including work in French, British, and newly opened Soviet archives. He challenges prevailing interpretations of the origins of World War II by situating 1939 at the end of the early cold war between the Soviet Union, France, and Britain, and by showing how anti-communism was the major cause of the failure to form an alliance against Hitler. 1939 was published on September 1, the sixtieth anniversary of the Nazi invasion of Poland and the start of the war.
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Editorial Reviews

Adam Ulam
Diligent and thorough.
The Washington Post
Journal of Modern History
A valuable contribution to the historiography on the immediate origins of the Second World War.
Imlay
It is to Carley's credit that he reminds us why the 1930s remain such a fascinating decade in European history.
The International History Review
Dorothy Blitstein
A well-documented book...Carley has presented a strong case.
Journal of Military History
Allen Blitstein
A well-documented book...Carley has presented a strong case.
Journal of Military History
Booknews
A Canadian historian of relations between the west and the Soviet Union, Carley explores the failed diplomacy that led to World War II. He describes often secret negotiations between Britain, France, and the Soviet Union to document the failure to form a united front against Nazi Germany. He blames the failure on anti-communism among the French and British leaders. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknew.com)
Kirkus Reviews
A richly detailed history of the failure of British, French, and Soviet political leaders to form the alliance that could have forestalled Hitler's aggression. After a glance backward at Europe in the mid-1930s, Carley (Revolution and Intervention: The French Government and the Russian Civil War, 1917–1919, 1983) proceeds through the pivotal year 1939, examining the diplomatic strategies employed by the great European military powers as the clouds of world war darkened. The book benefits from Carley's splendid research: he has read the published memoirs of all of the principals involved, as well as their public and private correspondence, and has enjoyed access to the vast archives of unpublished diplomatic exchanges, notes, and reports, much of which has become available only recently to scholars. These documents support Carley's principal thesis—that the French and British feared Hitler, but because they feared the Soviets and Communism more, they adopted the policies of "appeasement" that emboldened Hitler; the Soviets, in turn, distrusted the French and the British and therefore signed with the Nazis in late 1939 the mutual nonaggression agreement that sentenced western Europe to years of death and destruction. The book is somewhat flawed by the uneven texture of the prose. Among the myriad quotations Carley's voice is sometimes lost. And most ineffective and feckless are his numerous attempts to enliven his serious text with aw-shucks informalities (e.g., "the Germans had come a-courtin' " and coarse slang (at one point he discards his scholarly persona to refer to Molotov, a Soviet diplomat, as "a ruthless, cold-blooded son of a bitch"). What Carley does best isspotlight the unknown "heroes" (his word) of the period—diplomats like Maksim Litvinov, Ivan Maiskii, Sir Robert Vansittart, R.A. Butler, and Sir Stafford Cripps, who recognized early on that Hitler was the greatest danger to Europe, but, like the better-known Winston Churchill, failed to convince their dilatory governments to act. A heavily documented and dense narrative whose primary appeal is to scholars and diplomatic historians. (2 maps, not seen)
Journal Of Modern History
A valuable contribution to the historiography on the immediate origins of the Second World War.
Journal Of Military History
A well-documented book...Carley has presented a strong case.
— Allen Blitstein
International History Review
It is to Carley's credit that he reminds us why the 1930s remain such a fascinating decade in European history.
— Talbot Imlay
Journal of Military History
A well-documented book...Carley has presented a strong case.
— Allen Blitstein
Review Of Higher Education
Diligent and thorough.
— Adam Ulam
Geoffrey Roberts
An exceptionally fine piece of work . . . fabulous!
Journal of Military History - Allen Blitstein
A well-documented book. . . . Carley has presented a strong case.
International History Review - Talbot Imlay
It is to Carley's credit that he reminds us why the 1930s remain such a fascinating decade in European history.
Review Of Higher Education - Adam Ulam
Diligent and thorough.
Lloyd C. Gardner
Carley has done what many would say is impossible. He has given us a new understanding of the coming of World War II in Europe.
Journal of Modern History
A valuable contribution to the historiography on the immediate origins of the Second World War.
Washington Post
Diligent and thorough.
— Adam Ulam
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781461699385
  • Publisher: Dee, Ivan R. Publisher
  • Publication date: 2/16/2009
  • Sold by: Barnes & Noble
  • Format: eBook
  • Pages: 384
  • File size: 2 MB

Meet the Author

Michael Jabara Carley, a historian of relations between the West and Soviet Union, was until recently the director of the Aid to Scholarly Publications Program in Ottawa, Canada. His considerable writing in his field includes a great many historical articles and the book Revolution and Intervention. He lives in Vanier, Ontario.
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