The Origins of the Second World War in Europe / Edition 3

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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.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

"At last we have a good survey of Europe's route to World War II. P.M.H. Bell's study is a worthy sequel to its distinguished predecessor, James Joll's The Origins of the First World War. On the whole the accuracy, precision, and balance are outstanding. Bell's words are carefully chosen, and he has produced a remarkable synthesis, complete with concrete detail and intelligent but not excessive use of statistics. The resulting work is reliable and judicious, very erudite but never ponderous."
Sally Marks, American Historical Review

"Bell's new book transcends (A.J.P.) Taylor and can replace him. Bell has delved more thoroughly into the intricate problems they both treat. He… handles the evidence more fairly, and is less sure that he knows all the answers."
M.R.D. Foot, Albion

"This is a vast topic, and all one can do, by way of brief review, is to commend the masterly equity, lucidity and inclusiveness of Philip Bell's survey of its bewildering complexities."
Martin Fagg, Times Educational Supplement

"lucid, balanced and sane"
Eric Summers, History Teaching Review

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781405840286
  • Publisher: Taylor & Francis
  • Publication date: 7/18/2007
  • Series: Origins Of Modern Wars Series
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 3
  • Pages: 416
  • Sales rank: 997,007
  • Product dimensions: 6.17 (w) x 9.23 (h) x 0.93 (d)

Meet the Author

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.

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Table of Contents


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


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

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

Who’s Who

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